Can you use a soap pump for syrup?

Using a soap pump for syrup is something that many people wonder about. If you have an empty soap dispenser and want to reuse it for syrup, is that possible? The short answer is yes, you can use a soap pump for syrup with some considerations.

Why Would You Want To Use a Soap Pump for Syrup?

There are a few reasons why using a soap pump for syrup may be appealing:

  • It’s economical – Reusing a soap pump you already have is cheaper than buying a new syrup dispenser.
  • Convenience – A pump makes it easy to dispense syrup neatly and cleanly.
  • Portion control – Pumps allow you to control how much syrup comes out each time you use them.
  • Space saving – A countertop pump takes up less space than a large syrup bottle.

For these reasons, repurposing a soap pump to use for pancake syrup, chocolate syrup, honey, or other viscous liquids can be an attractive option for many people.

Considerations When Using a Soap Pump for Syrup

While it is possible to use a soap dispenser for syrup, there are some important factors to keep in mind:

Pump Mechanism

Soap and syrup have different viscosities. Syrup is thicker than liquid hand soap. Some soap pumps may not be able to properly dispense thicker syrups. Look for a pump made for lotions or creams, as these are designed for thicker liquids.

Spout Size

Syrup is more viscous than soap, so it needs a wider spout to flow through smoothly. Make sure the pump spout is wide enough in diameter for the thickness of your syrup. Spouts made for lotion rather than soap likely will work better.

Syrup Texture

The texture of your syrup matters. Very thick syrups or those with large particles may not work well in a soap pump. For example, an ultra thick maple syrup or syrup with large fruit pieces could get clogged. Stick to smoother syrup consistencies.


Be prepared to clean the soap pump thoroughly first before using it for food. Use hot water and dish soap to remove any soap residue. Sanitize it as well. Then wash it thoroughly after each use to prevent growth of bacteria and mold.


Syrup can stain plastic over time. This may not matter for an old soap dispenser, but be aware darker syrups may end up leaving stains inside the pump mechanism or container.

Best Practices For Using a Soap Pump for Syrup

If you want to reuse an old soap dispenser for syrup, keep these tips in mind for best results:

  • Choose a pump made for thicker lotions rather than thin soap.
  • Select a pump with a wider spout, at least 1⁄4 inch diameter.
  • Stick to smoother syrups rather than those with large particles.
  • Thoroughly wash and sanitize the pump first.
  • Take apart the pump and clean all interior pieces before each use.
  • Expect some staining over time from darker syrups.
  • Consider using rubbing alcohol to help clean sticky residue.
  • Store leftover syrup in the fridge to prevent mold growth.

Alternative Syrup Dispenser Options

While it is possible to repurpose a soap dispenser for syrup, there are also dispensers made specifically for syrups and condiments that may work even better in the long run. Here are some other syrup dispenser options you may want to consider:

Plastic Syrup Pumps

Plastic syrup dispenser pumps are made specifically for dispensing pancake syrup, chocolate syrup, honey, ketchup and other thin viscosity liquids. They are affordable, easy to use, and designed for syrup texture and thickness.

Glass Syrup Cruets

Vintage style glass syrup cruets with metal or plastic pour spouts allow you to cleanly pour syrup while retaining a stylish look. These are great for maple syrup, chocolate syrup, honey and agave.

Squeeze Bottles

Plastic squeeze bottles are hugely convenient for syrup. You can squeeze out just the amount you need and the flexible plastic works well with syrup thickness. They are also cheap and easy to find.

Flip-Top Dispensers

Restaurant style flip-top dispensers are ideal for thick and chunky syrups. The wide mouths allow chunks and particles to flow through easily. Just flip the lever to dispense syrup as needed.

Best Syrups To Use With a Soap Dispenser

You’ll have the best luck repurposing a soap dispenser for certain types of syrup. Look for syrups with these characteristics:

  • Smooth liquid texture without large particles
  • Medium viscosity – not too thick or thin
  • Clear to light golden colors that won’t stain too much
  • No strong aromas that could absorb into the pump

Some of the best options include:

  • Pancake syrup
  • Maple syrup (real or imitation)
  • Honey
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Simple syrup
  • Fruit syrups without large pieces

Thick molasses, chunky jams, or syrups with pieces may not flow smoothly from a repurposed soap pump.

Storing Homemade Syrup in a Soap Dispenser

You can also use a soap dispenser pump to store and dispense homemade syrups. Follow these tips for best results with homemade syrup:

  • Process syrups in a blender or food processor to remove large particles.
  • Avoid ingredients that could clog the pump like nuts, seeds, or coconut.
  • Cook syrup to appropriate thickness – too thin and it will drip, too thick and it will clog.
  • Funnel syrup carefully into the dispenser using a strainer.
  • Let homemade syrups refrigerate for at least 2 hours before using the pump.
  • Clean pump thoroughly between each use.
  • Store extra syrup in a covered container in the fridge.

Homemade simple syrups, fruit purees, and nut milks are some options that can work well in a repurposed soap pump with the proper consistency.

Troubleshooting Syrup Soap Dispensers

Even with the right type of syrup, you may run into some issues trying to use a soap dispenser for syrup. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

Pump Won’t Prime

If the pump doesn’t draw up the syrup, try gently blowing into the spout to jumpstart the suction. Check that the tube is fully submerged. Hot water can dissolve crystallized syrup in the tube. Invert and pump a few times to reprime.

Syrup Drips or Leaks

Loosen any clogs in the spout with a paperclip and clean interior tubes. Make sure the cap is fully tightened. Store dispenser nozzle down. Check for cracks. Replace o-rings or gaskets if worn.

Pump Sputters

Thick syrups can cause sputtering. Try watering down the syrup slightly or warming it up to make it flow better. Take apart the pump and clean all interior parts thoroughly.

Syrup Oxidizes and Hardens

Sugary syrups can crystallize and clog pumps. Never leave syrup sitting in pump for prolonged periods. Clean thoroughly after use. Soak dried syrup residues in hot water before cleaning.

Safety Tips

When repurposing anything for food use, it’s important to keep safety in mind:

  • Verify the pump container and parts are made of food safe materials.
  • Thoroughly wash, rinse and sanitize before first use.
  • Inspect carefully for cracks or broken pieces.
  • Never reuse a soap pump that held toxic products like bleach cleaners.
  • Monitor children when using to prevent accidental ingestion.
  • Label container clearly to avoid confusion.
  • Store syrup in fridge after opening to inhibit mold growth.


Repurposing a used soap dispenser to use as a syrup pump can allow you to save money and reduce waste. With careful selection of the pump, syrup, and proper cleaning procedures, soap pumps can effectively function as syrup dispensers. For best results, choose a wider spout pump designed for lotions and use smooth, medium thickness syrups. Clean the pump thoroughly before and after each use. Be aware that darker syrups may stain the container over time. Alternatively, consider purchasing an affordable syrup dispenser designed specifically for the purpose. With some thoughtful precautions, a soap pump can be cleanly reused as a handy syrup dispenser in most homes.

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