You'll Be Surprised By What Happens To Your Used Hotel Bar Soap

If you've stayed in a hotel then chances are you've snuck in some of the unused travel-sized soap, shampoo and lotion into your toiletry bag.

Don't worry, I'm not going to make you feel guilty for doing so because hotels actually don't mind you taking these sample-size products, it is part of a "clue management" strategy to enhance your guest experience.

But have you ever wondered about the fate of the items that don't end up in your possession? Well, you'll soon know what happens to at least one of them - the bar soap.

On average, about 5 million soap bars are tossed out daily by hotels in the U.S. because staff are required to replace personal care products even if they were left unused by previous room occupants.

However, for 5,000 of these hotels, these bars are not actually going to waste. Unwanted soap bars are recycled through the Clean the World program to fight diseases worldwide.

The Orlando-based program creates new soap from the old ones and sends them to third-world countries to advance proper hygiene efforts and lower the rates of preventable diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia. According to the foundation's website, hygiene kits are targeted at "maternal health programs, schools, community health providers, and nutrition programs."


Founded by Shawn Siepler, a former tech-company employee, Clean the World partners with hotels across the globe and receives 50 cents per room per month to collect and recycle soaps. The foundation provides training to hotel staff, bins, delivery and shipping services.

In 2016, CTW sent 400,00 hygiene kits to those in need. These kits included over 7 million recycled bars of soap, shampoos, hand sanitizers and toothpastes.


Although, the program is saving lives and there's been a decline in child deaths worldwide, Siepler told Thrillist that there is still a lot of work ahead because somewhere on the other side of the world, a child dies every 15 seconds from diseases caused by poor sanitation.

He hopes that these numbers will continue to fall as more hotels and other hospitality and travel businesses join the initiative. Currently in the U.S. participating hotels include properties owned by Disney, hotels in the Vegas strip, and dozens in New York and Chicago.

So before you smuggle any more toiletries, make sure the hotel you're staying at isn't part of the program by checking the information card in your room. If you'd like to know more about the Clean the Water program, check out their website