If you grew up in a house like mine, you probably had the same three things in the shower as me: shampoo, conditioner, and a bar of soap.
Before our list of bathroom must-haves got really complicated, we relied on that little bar to keep clean. And it did the job really well.
While people aren't buying these useful little bricks as much as they used to, they really should.
As it turns out, soap isn't just for the shower. There are all kinds of clever uses for this bathroom staple, in every room of your house.
1. Pest Repellent
No one likes finding creepy crawlies in their home, and soap keeps almost all of them away.
- A soap bar (wrapped in thin fabric, to avoid leaving a stain) will keep mice and moths away from any room.
- Soapy water is a simple but effective natural bug repellent for your garden. Just spray a little on the leaves of your plants.
- Hanging bars of soap along your property line will keep larger critters, like deer, away from your plants too.
2. Pretreat Stains
Every stain requires a slightly different approach, but soap is one of the few ingredients that helps clean them all.
Rub the bar over a stain before you treat or wash it. Be sure to follow our handy stain guide if you're not sure which product cleans which.
3. Break In Shoes
If a pair of old, tight, leather shoes are pinching your feet, a bar of soap can give you relief in a surprising way.
Rub the soap inside the shoe, this will soften up the material but won't damage the shoe or mark it. Your foot should slip in with ease and feel much comfier.
4. Guard Against Paint Marks
It's so predictable: no matter how much painter's tape you use, you're bound to leave marks on a doorknob, or the adjoining wall, or somewhere else in the room.
If you rub those surfaces with a bar of soap - along the corners, on door frames, metal fixtures - any paint that bleeds on can be washed off very easily, leaving no marks behind.
5. Make Hand Soap
Okay, so you just prefer liquid hand soap over a bar. That's fine. But wouldn't you like to save some money making your own?
You can actually melt down grated bars of soap to make your own hand soap. This is great, because it lets you pick exactly how your hand soap will smell.
6. Make Toothpaste
Yes, you can actually wash your mouth out with soap. And you might like it.
It's best to use a safe, natural variety, and check the label to make sure it won't harm you. But once you find the right bar, you can just rub it on your toothbrush.
7. Keep Your Nails Clean
Before you head to the garden, or start a messy chore, scrape a bar of soap with your nails.
The soap trapped under your nails makes a waxy barrier that keeps dirt and grime out. When you're done, a little warm water will wash the soap away.
8. Treat Leg Cramps
Your results may vary with this one, but tons of people swear that leaving a bar of soap under their fitted sheet soothes their painful and restless legs.
Dr. Oz recommends a lavender-scented bar, which could also help you get to sleep.
9. Replace Your WD-40
This iconic product has dozens of uses around the house, but soap is a cheap replacement for almost all of them.
Squeaky doors and hinges, kitchen drawers that don't slide, and stuck zippers will all move a little easier if you rub them with soap.
Poke a nail or screw into soap and it will even slide smoothly into wood.
10. Make Deodorant
Put your soap into a bag or fabric wrapper with some holes cut into it. The bar will give off a refreshing scent that lasts a surprisingly long time.
It's perfect for gym bags, clothing drawers, and other musty spaces in your home.
11. Itch Relief
Itchy bug bites or rashes caused by plants like poison ivy can be a pain. There are a few ways to treat them, but soap is one of the simplest methods.
Just rub the bar on your itchy spot. It will soothe the rash or bite, plus keep it clean and healthy.
12. Reuse Your Leftover Soap Bits
Finally, once you've made the most of your soap with these crafty tricks, recycle those little pieces that are left over.
You can mix those leftover pieces in a mesh bag and use it like a loofah, or melt the pieces down to make a brand new bar.
Then begin all over again!
Do you still use a bar of soap in your home?