Nine Frugal Suggestions for a Humble Bar of Soap
Need to squeak by for a few days until pay day? Are groceries having to take priority over basic cleaning mediums? Boy, do I have good news. Read on.
Apparently, bar soap is a reasonably effective, dirt cheap household cleaning product. Who knew? OK, somebody probably did. But it wasn't me. That is, until recently. It all started one morning when I was too lazy to move the boxes away from the cabinet door where my bathroom cleaning caddy and homemade spray cleaner are stored. The sink and counter area were getting to the point where I could no longer avoid them, and the only two things I could reach without aggravation were the bar of soap by the faucet and the facecloth I was getting ready to walk out to the laundry. Since the cloth was already pretty wet, I just slapped in the bar and lathered away. From there it took less than two minutes to wipe out the sinks and counter area, rinse out the cloth, and wring out to do a sort of wipe down / rinse combo.
Feeling like I'd just snagged a free ticket on the easy train, I jumped in the shower. Another little corner of my domain that needed some serious attention. While I'm quite certain this next piece of information falls clearly into the category of TMI, I'm going there anyway in the interest of giving bar soap it's fair fifteen minutes of fame. My shower usually gets its down and dirty thorough cleaning on a day that directly coincides with the day I deep condition my hair. If this leaves you with a mental picture you'd rather not have, I apologize. Just do your best to focus on the fact that you are about to save major bucks.
Since I haven't gotten around to mixing up my shower spray and didn't want to go through gobs of my favorite shampoo just to do a personal performance of June Cleaver Goes Commando, I almost tossed the scrub brush down and bailed on the whole thing. Then, through the cascading streams of water, I saw it. That humble bar of soap sitting on the shower shelf. With a twinkle in my eye, I glanced over to the sink and back again. Would it work? Was I committing housewife sacrilege?
In the end of course, I decided to go for it. What was I afraid of, anyway? That the housekeeping police might bust in and haul me away? Dampening the brush a bit more under the shower head, I ran the bar soap back and forth across the bristles until I had a pretty good amount of coverage. Then I started in the upper right corner of one of the walls, working my way across and back again. And again. And again. Holy guacamole! Normally a squirt or two of shampoo gets me maybe a full pass across one tub or shower unit wall. A few swipes of bar soap across the bristles and I was getting through an entire section of the job for less than a couple of pennies. Why hadn't I thought of this before?
The truth is I don't know why. It's so totally up my alley that I can't believe I hadn't, to tell you the truth. Another little truth? At least as far as the shower walls are concerned, I may never go back. I'll push forward with my DIY soap scum prevention shower spray, sure. Eventually. But for the deep down suds access that I occasionally combine with baking soda? It's bar soap for this girl from now on. A few other ideas for these little bars of thrift?
- Hand washing in the sink or shower while traveling. It can't spill in your bag, and since it isn't liquid, airlines dig it.
- Carving medium for art projects. Some brands work better than others. Here's a tip sheet.
- Manicure safety. Scrape your fingernails over a bar before you put your gardening gloves on. The soap will block other dirt and gunk from getting in and you can scrub it out with a nail brush with you are done.
- Spray cleaner. Run it up and down a box grater, funnel the shavings into an empty spray bottle, add water and replace the nozzle. Shake to mix and wait a bit for the solids to dissolve. OK, I probably wouldn't go through the trouble of doing this on a regular basis. However, if I had thought about it at other times of my life when I was more financially against the wall, I definitely would have gone through the trouble. I suspect I'm not alone. So if you've got a few days left until payday, and you need to choose between a canister of oatmeal for your kids or a bottle of spray cleaner, this is an option for you to consider. Especially if that last bar of soap is getting smaller by the day, and you feel like a spray solution will help it last a little longer.
- Lubricant. No, not that kind of lubricant. Got a slightly rusted zipper on that pair of thrift store jeans? A sticky slide window in your turn of the century period home that you just don't want to pay to replace yet? Bar soap is your friend. Rub away on the trouble spot and kiss the aggravation goodbye.
- Leave a romantic note on the bathroom mirror for your significant other. Been wanting to add a little more romance into your day to day routine? This is way less expensive than your favorite lipstick ,and WAY easier to clean off.
- Go green on the cheap. I love showering with liquid scented girly soap and a lather builder as much as the next woman. But if you are looking to save the planet and not go broke doing it, a nontoxic bar soap is the way to go.
As usual, I'm open to hearing other cool ideas for using bar soap on the cheap and easy. So feel free to sound off below. In the meantime, those interested in other soap related thrift ideas can check out this post from Wise Bread's own Linsey Knerl.