In order to be frugal, a powerful tool you can use is awareness. That includes awareness of things that are discarded that still have a good use. For instance, there comes a time when a bar of bath or hand soap becomes so small that it is no longer useful as bath or hand soap. However, it still has some excellent uses, even in its depleted form, so throwing it away would be a waste. Here are some ways that those shards of bar soap can be used, saving money in the process.
Silence Squeaking Hinges
Rubbing the remnants of a bar of soap on hinges and doing it thoroughly can prevent them from squeaking. The soap acts as a lubricant, it doesn’t leave an oily residue behind, it usually has an agreeable scent and it lasts a long time. By the time it needs to be reapplied, chances are that you will have another one or two shards of soap to use. The best part is that if you were planning to throw away the ‘worthless’ soap leftovers anyway, it costs you nothing.
Make Your Own Dish Soap
Why spend money on dish soap when you can make your own? It is really simple, using the bar soap shards. To do this, the soap first needs to be chopped or grated into small pieces; the smaller, the better. Put 1/2 cup of the chopped up soap in a small pot and add 2 cups of water plus two tablespoons of lemon juice. Heat this slowly, stirring occasionally. When you stir it, do it gently so you aren’t just making suds. Do not allow the mixture to boil, but heat it until the soap is dissolved in the water and lemon juice. The lemon juice adds an agreeable aroma while also increasing the acidity of the soap, allowing it to cut grease well.
Note that this is also very good as a liquid hand wash. It is a mild degreaser for oily hands. If it is put on a cotton ball, it can be helpful in removing makeup, though you should avoid getting it in your eyes. It rinses off with water. It can even be used in the laundry as a pre-wash for collars and other spots in clothing that tend to get heavily soiled. Just work a small amount into the fabric in those areas, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then wash as normal.
Treating Sticking Cupboards
If you have cupboard doors or even regular doors that tend to stick, rub the leftover soap along all sticking edges, on both sides. As with silencing hinges, the soap acts as a lubricant. Moisture, which normally causes wood to swell and increase the problem, actually helps with this use of the soap by making it slicker.
Put a cupful of the chopped up shards in a jar, add 3/4 cups water, cap the jar and shake it well. When you want to use it as shaving cream, shake the jar, then pour some into a shallow bowl and mix it, using a hand mixer. The result is a frothy, foamy, good smelling cream that can be spread on the skin prior to using a manual shaver.
Put several shards into an old sock. Unmated socks are ideal, and since there always seems to be a few socks without mates, this ends up getting more use out of them as well. Hang these in places where deer are a problem, such as in the garden. Deer dislike the smell of soap, particularly scented soap and most especially Irish Spring™, but it is true of even homemade lye soap. This can help protect the garden if you have deer pests that are enjoying your produce before you have a chance to.
All of these are ways to use that leftover soap and if the soap shards were slated to be thrown away, all of the above is also free. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that. In fact, since the soap is free and you will be making products you can use without purchasing the store-bought versions, you will be saving even more money. Let’s face it, dish soap, WD-40™, hand soap, deer repellents and degreasers all can take a toll on the budget. Saving money is what being frugal is all about.