100 new uses for soap

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Photo: Soap, Kelly McCarthy, CC0
Photo: Soap, Kelly McCarthy, CC0

What is soap?

A soap-like substance found in clay containers during the excavation of ancient Babylon reveals that soapmaking was known as early as 2800 B.C. Inscriptions on the cylinders say that fats were boiled with ashes, which is a method of making soap, although they don’t say what it was used for.

Soap is a cleansing agent made from the salts of vegetable or animal fats.  Forms of soap are used for a variety of cleansing needs from purifying water to making doggy shampoo.  The following suggestions pertain to common household soaps, such as dish soap or bath bars.  Use your best judgment to decide which type of household soap is best for each suggestion.  Feel free to experiment or expand on most of these ideas!

That said, cautiously avoid the ingestion of soap.  For most uses, steer clear of harsh, brutal soaps.  Contact a doctor if you notice unusual rashes or skin disorders as you may be allergic to one or more of the ingredients in soap.

100 uses for soap:

  1. Use liquid soap to prevent silver from tarnishing.  Apply a thin coat of soap with a soft cloth to clean, polished silver objects such as picture frames, silver sets, candlesticks, etc.  Remove excess soap leaving behind a very thin, virtually invisible, protective coating. Soap’s organic protective agents actually prevent tarnishing.
  2. Soap can remove a ring stuck on a finger.  Don’t hurt yourself.  Just rub some soap on the area around the ring.  If it doesn’t come right off, hold your hand above your head for a few minutes to drain blood from your fingers. Liquid soap is good for this.
  3. Lightly coat your hands with soap before painting or working on the car.  Paint and grease will wash off much more easily.
  4. To soften you feet, coat them with a mild soap and put on socks before going to bed at night.
  5. Before spray painting, put some liquid soap through your hair.  A dollop the size of a quarter should do it. The paint won’t be able to stick and dry on your hair.
  6. To prevent static electricity, comb a few drops of liquid soap through your hair in the morning.
  7. Use soap to protect your scalp during harsh beauty treatment like bleaching, coloring or perming.
  8. Soap can protect your hair from chlorine damage!  To fight dryness, put a handful of liquid soap through your locks before getting in the pool.
  9. Dyeing your own hair?  Put some soap on your browline and the hairline on your neck to keep the dye from coloring your skin.
  10. Avoid expensive glitter lotion!  Rub a little soap on your face, shoulders or legs and then dust with glitter for the same effect at a fraction of the cost.
  11. Take off an adhesive bandage without hurting yourself by rubbing a little soap on the wings of the bandage.  Wait a minute for the soap to sink in and then remove the bandage with ease.
  12. Fix that sticky zipper with a little drop of soap.
  13. Protect leather footwear from winter salt and ice by rubbing them with a little soap before you go out in the snow.
  14. Protect your pet by rubbing a little soap on their paws before they go out in the cold.
  15. Stop pesky shoe squeaking.  Coat them lightly with soap.
  16. Detangle your pet’s fur with soap.  Watch the tangles slide right out under your fingers.
  17. Prevent hairball on your cat.  Mix a little soap with water and run your hands through your cat’s coat.  Careful, don’t use too much as she’s going to lick her fur and you don’t want to make her sick.
  18. Stop static electricity in your kitty’s fur.  Add a smidge of soap!
  19. Shine your horse’s hooves.  Just rub in some soap.
  20. Haven’t got a horse? Shine up vinyl and patent leather shoes with a bit of soap and a clean rag.
  21. Stop a leather saddle from drying out by covering it with a thin coat of soap.
  22. Detangle your horse’s mane by combing in a little liquid soap.
  23. Fix sticky windows by putting soap in their tracks.
  24. A thin coating of soap will make your pipes fit together better when you are attempting home plumbing jobs.
  25. Having trouble assembling a new piece of furniture?  Either read the directions or add a little soap to problem joints and screws.
  26. Stop nuts and bolts from rusting together by coating them with soap.
  27. Use a coat of soap to stop your tools from rusting.
  28. To make your faucet stop screeching, remove the handle and stem, coat both sets of metal threads with soap, and replace.
  29. To prevent refrigerator racks from sticking, give the edges of the racks a thin coating of soap.  The racks will glide easily.
  30. Keep door hinges from squeaking.  Apply a little soap!
  31. Make your furniture drawers open and shut with ease.  Put a little soap on the wooden rods to make them glide effortlessly. This is especially good on old furniture that may be drying out.
  32. Problems opening and closing your shower curtain?  Put a little soap on the curtain rod.
  33. Make your medicine cabinet open quietly.  Put some soap on the hinges.
  34. Cleanse wooden bookends, picture frames and other objects by giving them a light coating with soap.  Then buff them clean with a dry rag.
  35. When painting, rub some soap on hinges, doorknobs or other areas you don’t want to paint.  Splattered or misdirected paint will come off easily.
  36. Minimize scratches or other imperfection in wooded furniture.  Treat the area with soap and buff away the excess.
  37. Keep wood paneling from drying out.  Rub with soap as needed.
  38. Make your own dish soap. Refill an old dish-soap bottle with two cups water, a teaspoon of castile soap, a couple of squirts of vegetable glycerin, and a few drops of favorite essential oil. Shake.
  39. Prevent wax from sticking to candlesticks.  Give the sticks a light coating of soap before inserting candles.  This will also make it easier to remove candles later.
  40. Give a stainless steel sink that extra sparkle.  All it takes is a cloth with a little soap mixed with baking soda.
  41. Use a bit of soap on a rag to clean plant leaves and encourage growth.
  42. To break in your new baseball glove, rub it with soap.  Then put a baseball in it, hold it closed with rubber bands and leave it over night.
  43. Lubricate roller skate wheels with a dab of soap.  Wheels will turn more easily and with less noise.
  44. Bicycles chains benefit from a thin coating of soap.
  45. Treat your skateboard’s wheels with a little soap to make them turn quickly and quietly.
  46. Make your golf clubs shimmer!  Polish them with a little soap on a dry, soft rag.  Be careful to avoid the grips!
  47. Use conditioning soaps to replace shave cream.
  48. Pre-treat greasy “ring around the collar” stains by rubbing them with soap. Laundry soap is good but bath soap works too.
  49. Shine up your doorknobs with a mixture of soap and baking soda.
  50. For an inexpensive eye make-up remover, use regular soap diluted with water.
  51. Divers and snorkelers can use soap to keep their masks from fogging up.  Put a tiny drop of liquid soap on each lens and then rinse with seawater.  You’ll be fog free for hours!
  52. Add a little soap to the water you give your seedlings, no more than a teaspoon per quart.  This will soften and make it easier for baby plants to push through.
  53. Did your favorite sweater shrink in the wash?  Try soaking it in soapy, lukewarm water.  The fibers in the sweater will soften, making it possible to reshape the garment.
  54. Sell your car with soap!  Rub it on the rear window to name your price.
  55. Use soap as an art medium.  It’s cheap, colorful and easy to mold.
  56. Shave soap to add snow to your manger scene.
  57. Mix a citrus flavored soap with water in a bowl and leave it outside.  It will attract and kill mosquitoes.
  58. Add red food coloring to liquid soap to simulate spooky blood at Halloween.  Good for decorations and costumes.
  59. Entertain children for hours by mixing liquid soap with water and blowing bubbles.
  60. Pass secret messages by carving them into a bar of soap.  When the intended recipient has read the message, they run water over the message till it disappears.  This is easy to do and less suspicious than paper.
  61. Have to make a cake for display?  Decorate it with soap flakes instead of icing!
  62. Buy soap for the person on your gift list who has everything.  Everybody gets dirty.
  63. Keep a bar of nice soap in your underwear drawer.  Its pleasant perfume will keep everything smelling fresh.
  64. Do you collect miniature flags?  Pins? Tie tacks?  Display them for your friends by sticking them into a bar of soap.
  65. If you’re out of cash on your anniversary, fashion jewelry out of soap.  Make it look like gem stones.  Give it to your significant other and tell her that someday you’ll give her real diamonds.
  66. Carve an old-fashioned seal for your letters from soap.  Then, melt wax from a candle onto the back of a letter and press the soap seal to the wax.
  67. Create wash stations in the yard for children. Fill a clean, plastic gallon water or juice jug (not milk) and pierce the lid with pepperpot holes. Fill with water. Slip slivers of soap into an old pantyhose sock and tie to the jugs handles. The kids can sprinkle their hands with water, lather up with the soap, through the stocking, and rinse off the dirt. All without coming through the house!
  68. Doctors now believe that cleaning out a scratch or cut on a child is best done with soap and water as the soap’s antibacterial properties are superior to many creams available from drugstores.
  69. Clean your rubber door, trunk and hood seals with soap and water twice a year.  Then apply a water-based vinyl and rubber dressing to the seals.  After coating the seals, allow the dressing to penetrate for 15 minutes, then dry off with a clean towel.
  70. If a snake bites you, have someone wash the bite area with soap and water. Don’t move around as this speeds up the venom’s progress through your body. And remember most snakebites are NOT fatal.
  71. Do not pick up dead birds. If you have made contact with fecal matter, blood or saliva from a dead bird, wash immediately with soap and water.
  72. Make an all-purpose household cleaner by mixing two cups of warm water, one teaspoon borax, a teaspoon of castile soap and 20 drops of tea-tree oil, one tablespoon of washing soda (ask at your supermarket or hardware store). Pour into a spray bottle and label.
  73. Mix together 1/2 cup vinegar, a teaspoon of castile soap and some lavender essential oil to a bucket filled with warm water to make an all-purpose bathroom cleaner.
  74. Loofah Soap
    Ingredients:
    2 cups of finely chopped up loofah
    1 block soap base (about 2 cups, chopped) Craft stores or SWEETCAKES
    2 to 3 drops of either an essential oil, flavored oil or perfume (check it’s skinsafe)
    1 to 2 drops food coloring (optional)
    Preparation: Melt the soap base in the microwave for 1-1/2 to two minutes. Pour the melted soap over the loofah pieces. Add oil and food coloring to the mixture. Mix well and pour into a plastic mold. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes.
  75.  For soaping up pets or large surfaces put slivers of soap in a sock and lather up with the palm of your hand.
  76. Soap painting for kids. Fill small dishes with soap powder (Not nasty detergent full of chemicals. This will hurt skin.) Add a little powdered paint and water. Mix until it has a medium texture. Apply the mixture to various kinds of paper with fingers or paintbrushes. Enjoy painting with soap!
  77. Make fake oil paints. Mix 1 tablespoon powdered tempera paint with 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing until the two ingredients are smooth, with no visible streaking. 2. Just like with oil paints, you can blend the various colors of the soap paints to create new colors or shades. NB: The powdered tempera may stain porous materials such as clothing and skin so don’t use as soap!
  78. Turn a new sports sock and a small bar of soap into a wash mitt for a kid with a broken arm!
  79. Scrub false teeth with soap and water, rinse and dry. Always replace the upper set first.
  80. Always have soap in your emergency disaster box. Wherever you are, cleanliness will be important for germ control.
  81. Teenagers just shouldn’t mess with their spots but they will. Make sure they wipe away pus and wash face with soap and water. Pat dry face with paper towel to minimize cross-infections.
  82. Keep soap away from your eyes. It can trigger pink eye.
  83. Waved whelk egg cases can be picked up on the sea shore. Sailors in the olden days used clusters of these snail’s eggs as soap.
  84. Soap crayons for bathtime fun. Mix together 1 3/4 cups of soap powder; (Ivory Snow works) and 50 drops food coloring, and 1/4 cup of water.  Scrape mixture into an ice cube tray. Allow to harden. Pop out and cut into pieces. Write on the tiles and tub!
  85. Use Dawn dishwashing soap to clean oil from birds. Rinse well.
  86. It is said that anise attracts fish and masks the smell of humans. Try anise soap to improve your luck!
  87. Perfume-free soap flakes are excellent for laundry use especially when combined with borax, which acts as a water softener, stain remover and laundry booster.
  88. Washing the dog? Use veterinary soap, not your soap or dish soap. They are too harsh and will strip away the natural oils resulting in a great deal of shedding.
  89. Mild soap only on newborns. Glycerin is good. If in doubt – don’t use soap at all.
  90. Children love to play with water. Fill big buckets or tubs with water. Give the children soap chips, measuring spoons and cups, butter tubs, and sponges to play with in the water. Put towels or newspaper on the floor so the children will not slip on the wet tiles.
  91. Look for hemp seed oil soap that can be used for face, body and hair. It’s very mild and rich.
  92. Miss good old-fashioned carbolic soap? MEDICHEST still sells it!
  93. Still washing your child’s mouth out for cussing? It could be considered child abuse now so think twice!
  94. Green soap is the traditional skin preparation for tattooing and piercing. They mix 10% Green soap with 90% Distilled Water to clean the skin, then they disinfect with alcohol.
  95. Take some small dried flowers. Melt a bar of pure, clear glycerin soap gently over a very low heat. Be careful not to overheat it, and take care because melting soap is very hot! Take a butter tub and line with crinkled (not smooth) aluminum foil. Place the dried flower upside down in the bottom of the pot. Pour over the melted soap and leave to cool. When you peel away the foil you will have a beautiful soap crystal bar.
  96. Got a soap allergy? – Try Benadryl or another anti-histamine until you can get to doctor.
  97. Emergency childbirth situations require a high level of cleanliness so scrub your hands well with soap and water. Do it like a surgeon, under nails, between fingers and up to your elbows.
  98. Intimate itching? Use mild soaps such as Neutrogena, Basis, Pears (made  in England), and castile soap with olive oil (Conti).  Get them at pharmacies or health food stores.  Remember that frequent baths with soaps may increase irritation.
  99. In the aftermath of a disaster you may encounter dead animals. Do not touch them directly but remove with a shovel or spade. Wash yourself thoroughly with soap and water. Disinfect the area.
  100. Reptiles often carry salmonella on their skins. You must wash your hands after touching any snake, lizard or other reptile.