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Why You Should Stop Topping Off

Used with permission by Conger Design via Pixabay

Ok, confession time. Have you ever been in the bathroom and realized your dispenser was out of soap? You could take the time to wash it out thoroughly and then refill, but wouldn’t it just be easier to just pour some more soap on top? There’s no harm in that right?

Well it turns out there is.

Products can look and smell the same but be completely different

But why does that matter? Well it can cause an unwanted chemical reaction that makes the products separate. For example, we have several types of antimicrobial soaps, but our different products use different active ingredients to eliminate bacteria. Our soaps can be very similar in color, texture, and smell, but the active ingredients in these soaps can differ. For example, a formula for a soap could be ionic, anionic, or cationic. When these types of products are combined a chemical reaction occurs that could result in separating product, strange textures, foaming, or even a dilution of the active ingredient which makes the product less effective. You could refill a soap dispenser thinking it’s the same product and end up with an unusable and ineffective mess.

You could also end up sick

When you “top off” the residual soap from previous use still stays in the container. You’d think this would get mixed in and eventually used with the new product, but the problem is most soaps, especially soaps that eliminate bacteria, have an expiration date. This means even if you are refilling the dispenser with the same soap, you risk creating a breeding ground for microbial growth, the very thing you are trying to eliminate by washing your hands! Especially during flu season, you want to do everything you can to prevent sickness-causing microbes.

You waste product

While it seems like you are saving product by just refilling the bottle, remember that when products mix you are risking a chemical reaction or microbial growth. If either of these occur, you wasted all of the new product you just used to refill your container.

It’s not a bad thing to reuse containers. We all know you have that Christmas Tree dispenser you put in the guest bathroom every December. But take the five extra minutes and wash out the dispenser between uses. You’ll want to use plenty of hot water and rinse the dispenser thoroughly until the water runs clear. And don’t forget to rinse your pump as well. Try filling a glass with hot water and then pumping water until it runs clear.

For questions about our products, cleaning dispensers, or the practice of topping off please e-mail us at

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