DIY Repurposing

12 Unexpected Uses for a Regular Bar of Soap

Rub-a-dub-dub, soap is great for a scrub! But bar soap is handy to have around for many reasons that go far beyond the bathtub. It can serve as a lubricant, freshener, and even a pest-repellent. Here are just a few unusual and clever uses that make the most of a single bar of soap.
Donna Boyle Schwartz Avatar

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Screw Slip

Bar soap makes a great lubricant for screws, nails, and saw blades. Stick nails or screws into a bar of soap before using. The soap will make them slide in easier and be less likely to split the wood, which is great for DIY projects that use thin pieces of wood. You can also rub a bar of soap over a saw blade to help it slice through wood more easily—this also has the side benefit of helping you cut straighter.

Related: 10 Toolbox Hacks for Your Next DIY Project

Sweet Scent

Flickr via brixton

Keep your stored linens, towels, and clothing smelling fresh and clean by placing them in large plastic bags with a bar of soap. Leave the soap in the box or wrapper, open one end, and place it in the bottom of the bag. Similarly, this trick works for suitcases, closets, drawers, and other areas where you want to prevent musty odors. You can reuse the same bar of soap for several seasons before the scent fades.

Related: 7 Super Simple Ways to Make Your House Smell Fresh

Sew What?

Flickr via rosasay

Bar soap makes a great multifunctional sewing aid: Use soap instead of chalk to mark a hemline or a seam; set it next to your craft station to serve as a convenient pincushion; or stick a needle into a bar of soap before sewing to help the tool slide through multiple layers of fabric with ease.

Related: 8 Low-Cost Upgrades for a Hassle-Free Laundry Room

Fog Free

Soap can help stop your eyeglasses from fogging up: Rub both sides of each lens with a bar of soap, then polish with a clean cloth so you can see clearly. 

Related: 9 Potent Cleaners You Didn’t Know You Had

Dirt Deterrent

Hate having ground-in dirt under your fingernails after gardening? Take a proactive approach—scrape your fingernails over a bar of soap before you start working outdoors to prevent dirt from caking up in your nails. You can also try this method to help a friend or family member kick a bad fingernail-biting habit.

Related: 10 “Zero Dollar” Garden Hacks

Sounds of Silence

If your floorboards or stairs have developed odd creaks and squeaks over the years, use some bar soap to lubricate the joints and any cracks in the wood. Rub the soap over the crack, and then use a damp mop or sponge to work the soap thoroughly into the area. You’ll never disturb your sleeping family again!

Related: 7 Ways You May Be Ruining Your Wood Floors

Sweet Relief

Itchy bug bites can make even the most self-controlled person scratch like mad. The next time you feel the itch, use this bath-time essential to help soothe your spots. Rub a dampened bar of soap over the affected area to relieve the pain and itch of the bites. This will also keep the area clean so the bites don’t get infected.

Related: A Dozen 10-Minute DIYs for a Pest-Free Home

Zip It!

Use bar soap to loosen and lubricate stuck or rusty zippers on coats, tents, or sleeping bags. Simply rub the soap on both sides of the zipper, then open and close it a few times to work the slippery substance into the teeth. The soap will also coat the teeth to help prevent rust in the future.

Related: Small Miracles: 9 Amazing Home Repair Products

Prevent Pests

Strong-smelling bar soap—like Irish Spring, Zest, and Ivory, for instance—makes for a great nontoxic rabbit and deer repellent. Simply open one end of the box or wrapper, and place the entire bar at the base of the tree or shrub that you want to protect. Alternatively, cut the soap into pieces, place them in old nylon stockings, and hang the bundles from branches or fence posts to ward off unwanted guests. 

Related: The Invincible Yard: 12 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

Fresh, Not Funky, Shoes

Eradicate odors from smelly sneakers, boots, or shoes by placing a wrapped bar of soap as far into the shoe as possible. Leave the soap in overnight, then reveal a fresh place for your feet to land in the morning.

Related: 14 Ultrafunctional Ideas to Steal for Your Entryway

Carving Creativity

Flickr via eschipul

A bar of soap can make bath time feel like play time for kids. With your supervision, let kids carve shapes or figures into the soap, and then let little ones delight in their creations while they scrub up.

Related: Control Kids’ Clutter with 7 Creative DIYs

Open Door Policy

If you have tight doors that stick and screech, rub a bar of soap along the edges of the open door and along the jamb to silence the noise. The same technique also works for stubborn windows or old drawers.

Related: 7 House Sounds You Never Want to Ignore