Have you ever wanted to try out a new product but decided to hold off because “you already have something like it at home”? Maybe it’s a new item that catches your eye at the grocery store, like a new specialty food item or an intriguing beauty product you see in a magazine (like a new mascara that claims to make your eyelashes 20x longer). It’s not that you’re not open to trying new things (the reviews you’ve read about online and hear from your friends are certainly compelling), it’s just that you hate to buy more of something you already have.
While some might think of this as being “cheap”, we see it as “thrifty.” If you resonate with the examples above, we applaud you for your restraint and actually see this type of behavior as being financially responsible. Trust us, being a family of eleven, we totally understand the importance of good financial stewardship (AKA being thrifty!). It reduces waste, keeps money in your wallet, and can even allow you to cherish the items that you do have before consuming more.
... You can actually use the regular bars of soap you have in your bathroom right now... Outside of your shower in a number of different ways!
But, if a few unused bars of soap you have laying around are keeping you from testing out a bar of our Goat Milk Soap, we’ve got great news: you can actually use the regular bars of soap you have in your bathroom right now (yes, the one that’s actually packed with chemical ingredients and other junk) outside of your shower in a number of different ways. This means that you can use up what you already have in a sensible way without being wasteful so you won’t feel guilty when you get all-natural Bend Soap Company soap. So, without further ado, here are 15 alternative ways to use a regular bar of soap.
15 Practical Ways to Use a Bar of Soap
1.) Keep garden pests at bay
If garden pests are making you pull your hair out, and you have a bar of soap with a strong odor or smell (like Irish Spring or Ivory), you can actually use the soap as a nontoxic animal repellent. To do this, keep the soap in its original wrapper or box and open up one side of the packaging. If the bar is already out of the packaging, throw it into an old pair of stockings or a Ziploc bag with holes in it. Then place the bar at the base of the plant, tree, or shrub you’d like to protect.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-profile, use a grater to shred the bar and then spread the shredded soap over the roots of the plant. Please note that this method works best when used on plants that you do not plan on consuming! Here are a few pests that this works for:
2.) Keep your shoes smelling fresh
We ALL have that one pair of shoes that just seems to suck in and absorb every odor it comes in contact with, right? And throwing them into the laundry machine to give them a good wash only lasts for so long. Instead, try this: grab a bar of soap, place it in a mesh bag (an old pair of nylons works great!) and place the bag of soap into your shoes. Make sure the bag is stuffed far enough into the shoe and isn’t sitting on top of the heel. Let the bag sit overnight and in the morning, you’ll be surprised by how much odor has been absorbed. If this idea works for you, here are a few other places to try it out in:
- Dresser drawers
- Inside your car
- Gym bag
3.) Make screws glide through wood
Make every heavy duty DIY project a success by ensuring your screws slide in with ease. Grab a bar of soap and carefully rub your screws along the bar of soap before drilling. This also works great with nails and saw blades. This is a must-try if you’re dealing with really thin pieces of wood.
4.) Create a pin cushion that keeps your pins sharp
By sticking needles and pins in a bar of soap, you’ll not only be able to retire that old tomato and strawberry pin cushion, but you’ll keep your pins sharp and ready to glide through the thickest of fabric. If you have any leftover fabric lying around, try making a cover for your new soap pin cushion.
5.) Prevent sticky zippers
Have a zipper that’s constantly getting stuck? Rubbing a bar of soap along the zipper is an easy way to keep the tracks well oiled. After rubbing the soap along the zipper, open and close the zipper a few times to ensure that the soap is properly distributed through the teeth of the zipper. This is a great idea for:
- Jackets / coats
- Pants / jeans
- Bags (wallets, gym bags, purses, luggage, etc.)
- Sleeping bags
6.) Make your own soapy fish
This easy to make craft doubles as a bath toy and a sudsy bubble bath generator. The colorful fish will put a smile on your kiddo's face, soothe their skin, and get their skin squeaky clean. If you plan on trying out this DIY project, we highly recommend using a bar of Goat Milk Soap so that you can make sure you’re using chemical-free, all-natural products when bathing your kids (only $4.95, available here in a variety of scents). For full details and directions on how to make your own Sudsy Fish, check out this blog post.
7.) Loosen a stubborn ring
If you’ve ever had a ring that was stuck on your finger, you can understand how panicked you can become during the removal process. Next time this happens to you, grab a bar of soap and lightly rub it around the base and top of the ring. Then, slowly twist the ring around your finger to loosen. You might have to rub the bar of soap around your finger a few times during this process, but the natural heat from the body combined with the gentle friction from the twisting will slowly ease the ring off of your finger.
8.) Make drawers slide with ease
Have you ever owned a piece of furniture (say, a dresser or an old china cabinet) that has drawers that are a complete pain to open and close? If this isn’t a problem due to the wood swelling from water damage, rubbing a bar of soap along the bottom and top of the drawers is an effortless way to get them opening and closing like new. This is an especially helpful tip if you have antique wooden furniture in your home that has endured many years of reliable service.
9.) Make a donation
Did you know that about every 15 seconds, a child dies from a disease that could have been prevented with proper hygiene? Consider donating your unopened bars of soap (and any other unused toiletries you have) to your local homeless shelter, women's shelter, or any other cause that’s close to your heart. Organizations like Clean the World collect bars of soap and distribute them to homeless shelters in the United States as well as send them to at-risk people in developing regions across the world. You can even create your own soap drive! More information is available here.
10.) Fill in thumbtack holes
Even the most cautious renters and homeowners know that holes happen, especially if you like to hang art on the walls. Before you go out and buy one of those large tubs of painters putty over a tiny hole, try this technique out first. To begin, carefully rub a bar of soap against the hole in a back and forth motion. You may have to rub the soap over the hole a few times to get a complete seal. Then, grab a rag and wipe away any excess soap that’s left on the wall.
PRO TIP: The key thing to remember here is that it’s best to begin with a bar of soap that matches the color of the paint on your walls.
11.) Make your own laundry detergent
It’s no secret that the detergent you used to wash your clothes gets into the fabric and can rub off onto your skin. You would think this wouldn’t really affect your skin, but it could actually be the cause of your skin irritations. If your skin is extra sensitive to certain ingredients, it doesn't take much to irritate it. While we highly suggest using a bar of our Goat Milk Soap for this project, check out how Marilee makes her own DIY laundry detergent (complete with step-by-step instructions) in our “Mama Marilee’s Goat Milk Laundry Detergent” blog post.
12.) Keep bathroom mirrors from fogging up
While nearly everyone enjoys taking hot steamy showers, few look forward to the aftermath of a foggy and clouded bathroom mirror. Many use their towel to wipe away the fog, but this can often leave your mirror streaky and covered with bits of lint. Enjoy your hot steamy showers and actually prevent fogged up mirrors with this helpful tip. First, take a dry bar of soap and lightly rub it over your mirror. Then, using a microfiber cloth, buff away the soap residue. The light layer of soap on your mirror should prevent fog from condensing during our next steamy shower.
13.) Pre-treat (and remove!) tough stains
Have you ever come across a disastrous laundry stain and felt defeated when it wouldn’t disappear, despite all of your best efforts? We’ve definitely been there! If Spray n Wash isn’t doing the trick, try pre-treating those tough laundry stains with a bar of soap before throwing them into the wash. A single bar of our Goat Milk Soap has proved to hold its weight against stains like blood, tree sap, paint and mud (more about that available here), but a bar of Ivory Soap might work as well. To begin, you’ll want to first dampen the stain with cold water. Then gently rub the bar of soap directly onto the stain. Be patient as you may have to repeat this process a few times with really hard to remove stains, but it does the trick for most.
14.) Mark fabric during a sewing craft
If you’re someone who enjoys craft projects, you’ve most likely found that some projects require you to temporarily mark the placement of buttons, hemlines, and other such design elements. Many people use sewing pins or tailor’s chalk as a marker, but next time you’re looking for a way to “mark the spot”, grab a bar of soap instead. Tried and tested by thousands of sewers, this method is 100% washable and glides over nearly any material with ease.
15.) Stop squeaky door hinges
There’s no denying that the sound of a squeaky door can be one of the most irritating sounds on earth. And it seems like anytime we get around to wanting to deal with the problem, there’s no WD-40 on hand! Next time you find yourself in this situation — whether it be for a cabinet door, a door inside your house, or even a squeaky car door — grab a bar of soap and liberally rub it against the hinges until they are well lubricated. To make sure the squeak is gone for good, open and close the door a few times to ensure the soap has reached deep down into the hinge.
And There You Have It!
If you’re trying to use up that bar of factory made soap you have (yes, the one that’s packed full of chemicals and other junk!) to make room for a new bar of all-natural Goat Milk Soap, go ahead and give one of these fifteen methods a try. You’ll be glad you found an alternative way to use up your soap as it’s less wasteful and wallet-friendly than simply throwing it away. Have you tried any of these methods before? If so, how did they turn out? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below! And if you found this helpful, please share it with your friends!
This is an updated and extended version of our original “10 Ways to Use Your Soap Bar (Aside from the Obvious)” blog post.