Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

14 Surprising Ways a Bar of Soap Can Make Your Life Easier

If you’re a fan of liquid soap for hand-washing and prefer to use body wash in the tub and shower, bars of soap may seem quite old-fashioned. And you may be surprised to learn that good old bar soap still has a valuable place in an active household! Bar soaps — any scent, and even those little bars from your last hotel stay — are useful for some pretty cool stuff at home. You can even use bar soap to make liquid soap.


If you notice a few small nail holes in the walls after moving pictures, choose a bar of soap that’s the same color as the wall. To fill in the void, rub the soap over the hole to fill it in. That will hold until it’s time to paint the wall.


Before using soap in all the following ways, get double duty from those bars by keeping unwrapped, scented soap bars in drawers, closets, suitcases, even the car to keep those areas smelling fresh. It works well to wrap a bar in a piece of fabric, a mesh bag or a washcloth, then tuck them away into a corner or under the car seat. It works well in stinky shoes and boots, too!


When it’s time for you to paint trim next to windows or mirrors, rub a small bar of soap along the glass next to the paint. If you splatter some paint on the window, use a damp cloth to clean it up. The soap you laid down will make it much easier than using tape and a lot faster because you won’t be waiting for paint to dry.


If a door lock has become stiff, rub a piece of dry soap over its surface to lubricate, then insert the key into the lock and turn it a few times. The lock should become much easier to use.


If you don’t like a foggy mirror in a hot shower, a small bar of soap can help. While the mirror is completely dry, rub the soap over the glass. Don’t add water; buff away the streaks of soap with a dry cloth. Next time you take a shower, no fog! Using soap in this way works as well for eyeglasses and sunglasses, too.


A bar of soap solves squeaky door hinges and floors. Rub a dry bar of soap onto the edges of any squeaky area. Test, and if still squeaky, repeat until the squeak has vanished.


If drawers or sliding doors don’t open smoothly, rub a bar of soap on the edge of the drawer or in the track where the drawer slides into place.


There are laundry bar soaps marketed for stain removal, such as Fels Naptha and Zote, but you can use almost any type of bar soap to clean oily and muddy stains. In this case, you want to use a bar without added moisturizers or conditioners to treat all kinds of stains. Just wet a corner of the bar of soap, then run it into the stain until it is well-saturated. Now launder as usual.


Before you dig in your garden or do an oil change, dig your nails into a bar of soap first. Soap will keep the dirt or grease from getting under the nails.


Hang a bar of Irish Spring bar soap from shrubs or roughly sprinkle it on the ground to help repel deer and rabbits, too. Its scent is so strong and repulsive to these animals it will send them running away. Use an old pair of pantyhose or mesh bag to make hanging easy.


To make a zipper slide more easily, run a dry bar of soap across its teeth.


Mark hems and seam lines with the edge of a soap bar to create a sewing line. Tightly wrap a bar of soap with a piece of pretty fabric, then secure it in place with straight pins to create a pincushion. Pins and needles stored in this way will glide through any fabric.


Make your own liquid soap and you’ll save money in the process. Use a cheese grater to shave 4 ounces of bar soap and mix with 4 cups of boiling water. Stir to dissolve, allow to cool completely and pour into your dispensers. Shake well before use.


Bar soap is one of the essential ingredients in homemade laundry detergent (EverydayCheapskate.com/detergent). You will also need super-washing soda and borax. Homemade laundry detergent is safe to use in HE washers as it does not produce suds but cleans like a dream!

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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