Frugal Guide to Using Left-Over Soap

saving money

Picture by Athomenj – Pixabay

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.

Shaving Cream

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.

Deer Repellent

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.


  1. Andria Perry

    I once used a bar of soap to stop a bedroom door from sticking, a wooden door in an older house, when the city inspector told me that had to be fixed. I did it while he watched, it made him mad but he had to pass the inspect because it worked! 🙂

    I will do the hand soap to liquid for the bathroom.

    I also will put them into an old pantyhose, tie a know in it and use it outside to wash my hand after playing in the dirt, it foams up through the pantyhose.

    I shared this article on facebook, tweeted, pinned and stumbled.

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      Great ideas! In fact, in the idea for the nylons can be taken a step farther. Putting even a new bar of soap in old nylons, tying it and hanging it in the shower makes it handy for soaping down when showering. 🙂

  2. Jacky Hughes

    I think I would be lost now if I didn’t have to live on faith and beans. It is fun. I often wonder if the Lord keeps my income low because I am motivated that way. We do get the odd deer here although the ancient deer park is at the top of the village and so deer repellent could be useful.

    Here is another one from my Great Grandma. She would put all the old scraps of soaps inside a piece of sponge that became part of a doll made of sponge pieces. We got one every Christmas along with the doll toilet roll holder made out of scraps.

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      You have a very valid point. There is an old saying that goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” The saying is quite true and our Father is totally aware that it is…He invented it. Every time I think of a solution to something, including saving money tips like what is above, I give full credit to God for giving me the inspiration that results in the solution. The thoughts sure don’t come from me. The bible says that God will give his children everything they need and he does exactly that. Sometimes that involves finding ways to do things with what is on hand. (People should also not confuse ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. I might ‘want’ a brand new pickup. However, I don’t ‘need’ one. The one I have works fine, though it is old and beat up.)

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      Through the years, I’ve been inspired in many ways. Saving money is always wide open for inspiration. 🙂

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      Yes, or if you get a bunch of the little travel soaps that you know that you will never use to wash your hands, or bar soap that you decide that you don’t want to use in the shower. Basically, it is any bar soap that isn’t going to be used anymore as bar soap. It works with homemade soap, too.

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      We have a very old kitchen hutch that has doors that stick very often. Soap is the only thing I’ll use on those doors. That hutch is nearly an antique and I don’t want to ruin it with oil or with shaving some wood off the doors. 🙂

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      I’ll try to share more. I just don’t know for sure what about, yet. lol

  3. Kyla Matton Osborne

    Get frugal tips! Another thing that I do is to crochet soap savers using cotton yarn. It makes it easier to store soap between uses, and to hold onto the bar when it gets really small 😀

    1. Kyla Matton Osborne

      I believe that there are probably several other options, besides crochet and knitting. One would be to use one of those elastic band looms – or even a knitting loom. Macrame would also work, as would a bag made from a cotton bandana.

    2. Rex Trulove Post author

      Using old nylons or unmatched socks will work, too. Some of the plastic used for certain produce also works, if it is fine meshed. I person can get very inventive with this.

    1. Rex Trulove Post author

      Our deer problem here this year is so great that around here, it is one of the biggest uses right now. 🙂 Normal repellent methods aren’t working this year because our deer population is almost double what it was last year and the deer are extremely hungry. We’ve had a colder and wetter than normal year, so grasses have grown fast, with very few nutrients. Now it is finally hot and dry, and those grasses have dried out but aren’t giving the deer enough nutrients. They are invading homes, gardens and even big planters outside of businesses on main street. We have limited success using the soap, along with other measures I use every year (hair, fermented fish fertilizer, chili pepper spray, using plastic ribbon, fences, etc). The deer are even now beginning to eat deer resistant plants they don’t like, such as lavender and marigolds.

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