18 Surprising Uses for a Bar of Soap Around Your Home

Overhead view of a bar of soap next to a scrub brush and latex gloves

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Even if you're a fan of liquid soap, don't abandon the old-fashioned bar of soap because it can be used to do some pretty amazing things around your home. You can even make your own liquid soap!

Simply choose your favorite brand and scent or bring home the complimentary bars from hotels. Here are our 18 best reasons to keep a bar of soap handy.

Fix Sticky Drawers and Sliding Doors

When drawers or sliding doors won't open smoothly, rub the bar of soap on the edges of the drawers or in the door tracks to make everything glide easily.

Using a bar of soap to grease sticky drawers

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Freshen Dresser Drawers, Closets, Suitcases, and Cars

Before you use soap bars, get double duty by storing scented soap bars in dresser drawers, closets, suitcases, and car interiors to add freshness. Remove any outer wrapping and wrap the bars in a bit of fabric (an old washcloth works great) and tuck them away. Works great in smelly shoes and boots, too.

Using a bar of soap to freshen up a suitcase

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Make Furniture Assembly Easier

Whether you are a master woodworker or simply struggling to put together an IKEA bookcase, starting screws into wood can be difficult. Make it easier by coating the threads of the screw with a bit of bar soap. In the workshop, use a bar of soap to make an easy-to-remove mark as a cutting guide. Then use the bar to coat the teeth of a handsaw so it will glide through the wood.

Hide a Mistake

If you have a few little nail holes visible in walls after moving pictures, select a bar of soap that matches your wall color. Rub it over the hole to fill it in until it's time to spackle the hole and repaint.

Prevent Paint Splatters

When it's time to paint trim next to glass panes or mirrors, rub a bar of soap onto the glass next to the trim. If you get a bit of paint on the glass, the soap makes it easy to remove and this method is a lot faster than taping off windows.

Loosen a Stiff Lock

If a door lock is stiff, drag the key over a dry bar of soap to coat the surface. Insert the coated key into the lock and operate it a few times. The lock should become easier to use.

Prevent Foggy Mirrors and Glasses

If you hate a foggy mirror after a hot shower, a bar of soap can solve the problem. When a mirror is fully dry, rub a bar of soap over the glass. Don't add water, just buff away any streaks with a dry cloth. The next time you shower, no fog! This works well on eyeglasses and sunglasses, too.

Stop the Squeaks

A bar of soap will solve squeaky door hinges and floorboards. Simply rub a dry bar of soap on the edges of squeaky areas. Test the squeak and reapply if needed.

Pinpoint the Leak

If you just can't spot where a tire or kiddie pool is leaking, dampen a bar of soap and rub it over the suspicious areas. The soapy film will create a bubble when the air escapes. If you catch a whiff of rotten eggs, the soapy film will also work to pinpoint dangerous gas line leaks.

Protect Your Furniture From Pets

There are plenty of stories about foul-mouthed kids having their mouths washed out with soap. Pets don't care for the taste any more than kids do! If you have a chewing puppy, rabbit or ferret, coat wood furniture legs and edges with a bar of soap to prevent damage.

Make Messy Hands Easier to Clean

Before you dig in the garden or do an oily car repair, dig your fingernails into a bar of soap. The soap will prevent the soil or grease from getting under your nails.

Protect Your Plants

Hang a bar of soap from shrubs or roughly grate some onto the ground to help repel deer. Use a mesh bag or an old pair of pantyhose to make hanging easy.

Placing a bar of soap in pantyhose to protect plants

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Make Camp Cooking Cleanup Easier

Before you put that cast iron or aluminum pan over an open campfire, coat the bottom with a damp bar of soap to make soot clean-up much easier.

Unstick a Zipper

Run a dry bar of soap over zipper teeth to make a zipper glide more easily.

Sew Easier

Use a bar of soap to mark hems and seam lines for easier sewing. Create a pincushion by covering a bar with a bit of pretty fabric. By storing pins and needles in the soap, they'll glide through fabric with ease.

Materials and tools to create a handmade hair scrunchie

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Remove Tough Stains

While there are soaps like Zote and Fels Naptha that are promoted for stain removal, you can use almost any bar soap to treat oily and muddy stains. Choose a bar with no added conditioners and scrub away.

Make Your Own Liquid Soap

Save some money by making your own liquid soap. Use a hand grater to shave four ounces of bar soap and mix with four cups of boiling water. Stir until the soap is dissolved, allow to cool completely, and pour into your dispensers. Store extra soap in a cool place and give the container a good shake before using.

Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Soap is an essential ingredient in homemade laundry detergent. Just add some washing soda, borax, and baking soda to save money on every load. Homemade laundry detergent is even safe to use in high-efficiency washers.