Soap Slivers Freshen Your Linens — Plus 9 More Ways To Use Up Your Thin, Leftover Sud Slices
Don't throw them away just yet.
One bar of soap can last as long as a month — depending, of course, on how often you use it. There’s always, however, that little sliver left at the end; the one that won’t lather because it’s so thin, but that you’re certain must have another use.
In fact, you’re right! Those leftover soap slivers are good for everything from lifting stains off clothes to puppy-proofing electrical cords, and so much more. (Pro tip: Keep a clear, plastic container labeled “soap slivers” in an obvious location — the bathroom and laundry room work well — for family members to toss remnants in when their showering and hand-washing utility has expired, and then use them up as recommended below. It’s smart, it’s sustainable, and it saves you money.
1: Get a stuck zipper moving.
You just returned home from a day of running errands and find that your coat won’t come unzipped. Rather than get frustrated and fight with it, enlist the help of a soap sliver. Simply rub the sliver along the zipper’s teeth. The layer of slippery soap left behind will lubricate the teeth so you can easily slide the zipper down again.
2: Keep linens smelling fresh.
Here’s an easy way to keep your sheets and towels smelling like they just came out of the wash: Place a few scented soap slivers in a coffee filter and tie it closed with ribbon. Then store the sachet in the linen closet. The soap will release a clean scent so the fabric continues to smell fresh long after laundry day.
3: Easily thicken eyebrows.
Brows looking a little sparse? Rub a clean, damp spoolie brush against a soap sliver, then sweep the lather over brows in the direction of hair growth. The glycerin, a plant-based oil found in most soap bars, helps bulk up individual hairs to “fill in” bare areas.
4: Shield nails from dirty jobs.
You just bought a beautiful new pot for your favorite houseplant, but you want to avoid getting dirt under your nails when transferring the plant and soil into it. Try this trick: Lightly rake your nails over a soap sliver. The buildup will prevent soil from becoming embedded in nail crevices. When you’re done, simply wash your hands. The dirt will rinse right off.
5: Prevent a door from sticking.
Lately, your bedroom door keeps getting stuck in its frame, making it hard to open. The quick save: Glide a soap sliver along the door’s edges. The slick substance will create a thin “greasy” coating, preventing the door from sticking so it opens smoothly.
6: Banish stains for pennies.
Try this to lift spots off clothing: Fill a jar halfway with soap slivers and top off with hot water. Wait three minutes and stir until the soap dissolves. Store the jar in the laundry room and work the soap “jelly” into stains before washing garments as usual. This lifts stain molecules so they wash away.
7: Pup-proof electrical cords
Argh! On days when it’s too cold for Rover to go outside and play, you catch him busying himself by chewing on electrical cords around the house. The quickest way to deter your sweet pup from the unsafe activity? Rub soap slivers over the wires. Once Rover tastes the bitter coating, he’ll change his mind about using cords as a chew toy.
8: Stop wood from splitting.
It’s frustrating when you’re putting together a piece of furniture and the wood splits as you drive in the hardware. To prevent this from happening, rub the ends of screws and nails with a soap sliver before using them. This will lubricate the metal, enabling you to drill or hammer the hardware into the wood without splitting it.
9: Quickly fix a hair-dye oops.
Yikes! The at-home hair dye you bought to cover your grays came out darker than planned. The low-cost solution? Instead of using your usual shampoo for your next wash, lather up your hair with soap slivers. The soap contains stronger detergents than even clarifying shampoo, and safely strips hair of excess dye.
10: Moth-proof clothing items.
As you begin to pack away your wool sweaters and blankets, skip the stinky mothballs to protect the fabric. Instead, place a handful of soap slivers in a paper bag, then poke a few holes in the bag and staple it closed. Slip the bag inside your closet or in a dresser drawer to keep clothes in perfect condition. Soap emits a strong odor that moths dislike, deterring them from damaging your favorite knits.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.