15 ways to use bar soap

bar soap
CC BY 2.0 Chris Parfitt

There are many reasons to love the humble, versatile bar of soap.

Last summer, TreeHugger's editor Melissa alerted readers to the sad demise of bar soap. Most people between the ages of 18 and 24 now prefer to buy liquid soap because they worry bar soap is covered with germs. (This was shown to be untrue by a study that contaminated bar soap with bacteria and found it was not transferred during washing.)

But perhaps if people knew all the many interesting things you can do with bar soap, they might be more willing to buy it. Bar soap is tremendously versatile and helpful when it comes to running a household. It's a cost-saver, too, sparing frugal home owners from having to buy certain specialized products. Here are some interesting ways in which to use your bar soap, whether it's old or new.

Use it for cleaning more than your hands or body:

1. Dishes: Rub a little bit directly onto a washcloth or sponge.

2. Toothpaste: Add a bit to your toothbrush head and lather up.

3. Liquid soap: Yes, you can make liquid soap using bar soap. Here’s a recipe.

Bar soap is good for preventing messes:

4. Keep your nails clean: If you’re working in the garden, scrape your nails over a bar of soap beforehand and it will prevent dirt from caking beneath, and wash out easily.

5. Use it while painting: Rub bar soap along edge of windowpanes, doorknobs, switch plates, or other hardware. If paint splatters, it will wash away easily.

6. Prepare pots for outdoor cooking: If you plan to cook over a campfire, coat bottoms with thin layer of soap, then soot will wash away easily.

Use it around the house:

7. Get rid of stiffness: Apply dry bar soap to zippers, keys, rings, drawers, or sliding door tracks if they’re having trouble moving.

8. Keep bugs and moths away: Mix soapy water in a spray bottle and apply to the bottom of plant leaves. Put a small cube in a clothing drawer to deter moths.

9. Deodorize: Place several slivers of dry soap in an old Ziploc bag and pierce some holes. Place in a clothing drawer or in smelly shoes to improve smell.

10. Laundry: Dissolve grated bar soap in boiling water and add to washing machine. Pretreat stained shirt collars by rubbing in bar soap.

11. Keep it in your toolbox: Rub a nail or screw over a bar of soap and it will go into a hole more easily.

It's a personal care wizard:

12. Shaving: With a good lather and sharp razor, bar soap does just as good a job as shaving cream.

13. Relieve itchy bug bites: Rub a bar of soap on bug bites to soothe them. (They’ll also stay clean.)

14. Make a body scrub: Shred bar soap and mix with salt for an exfoliating body scrub.

15. Got leftover soap bits? Put the scraps into a small cloth drawstring bag (such as the Netted Soap Saver), or make one from a washcloth, tied with string. Use the bag to lather up in the shower.

Tags: Cleaning | Reusability

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