One of the most frustrating things in this world is when you are excited to use a beauty product and the lotion pump just doesn’t unlock. You twist and turn and push it down hundreds of times only to probably break some part off in the end. The product suffers. The brand suffers. Why? Only because the lotion pump was faulty.

Before we jump onto the part where we understand why it stops working, you might want to go through this (Link to how is a lotion pump made) to know the mechanism behind its working to have a better understanding of this article.

A brief recap about the working of lotion pumps-

A lotion pump acts much like an air suction device acting opposite to gravity. When the consumer presses down on the actuator, the piston moves to compress the spring, and the upward air pressure draws the ball upwards, along with the product inside, into the dip tube and subsequently the chamber.

As the user releases the actuator, the spring returns the piston and actuator into its up position, and the initial cycle is called priming.

When the user presses down on the actuator again, the product that is already in the chamber will be drawn from the chamber, through the stem and actuator, and dispense out of the pump and onto the consumer’s hand. Depending on the chamber size, it may require additional priming to get the product on hand.


Soap dispensers are fairly reliable devices. You push down on the finger pump, soap emerges through the spout, and the pump automatically retracts for the next cycle. But sometimes things get messed up inside the pump. 

When a pump isn’t working, it’s often because it’s clogged or the spring is broken. But it isn’t always this simple. 

What could be possible reasons?

  • Soap dispenser getting stuck: Some pumps come unusually locked. Getting it opened the right way may save you the trouble of dealing with a broken pump later. 

You can try taking the pump out of the bottle, rinse off the shaft and dry it. Then you’re going to firmly grip the shaft just under the collar of the pump and firmly twist to the right. That will pop the pump open, put the pump back in the bottle and you’re ready to use your new product.

  • The spring may be broken: The spring fits inside the pump reservoir. While it may not be possible with every dispenser, but some bathroom dispensers allow you to separate the reservoir from the cap. You can unscrew it to replace it with a new spring available at any hardware store.
  • The pump won’t dispense any soap: The pump may appear to be in working operation, but you don’t get any soap. Check if you are out of soap. If there is still soap left, the dip tube of the pump might be too short to reach the bottom. 

In some cases, the dispenser itself is blocked. The soap might have dried up inside the tube blocking it. You may try taking the pump out of the bottle and washing and drying it to be used again. It almost always helps with any kind of blockages.

  • If none of these procedures fix your pump, it’s probably because the internal seals are compromised. If this is a commercial dispenser or the kind built into a sink, you may be able to take it apart, find what’s broken, and replace just the broken part. 

But, if this is a consumer-grade standalone soap dispenser, you most likely don’t. They are too cheap and too cheaply made to be fixable.

This knowledge of the working and mechanism of lotion pumps will guide you to choose just the best, be it for your personal use or your product.

September 15, 2021




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