Body washes, shower gels, liquid soaps galore — there’s an endless list of products to reach for instead of the rudimentary bar of soap. Nowadays, soap bars are practically forgotten, shoved unceremoniously in the back of a cupboard.
Since vintage is all the rage anyway, way not break out all of that old school soap you’ve got lying around. Instead of associating them with unsavory parental punishments, now you can learn the ways to scrub yourself out of some messy situations.
1. Carving: Before you reach the expert level of carving intricate floral creations, gain some practice with a soap-carving craft night. Whether you’re having the girls over for wine and crafts, or you’re looking for a unique activity for your child’s sleepover, it’s a crowd-pleaser.
2. Prevent Pets Chewing: Man’s best friend tests that title by gnawing at the baseboards. Keep your walls and furniture bite mark free with, you guessed it, a bar of soap. Wipe it over the area; the sudsy taste will deter pets just like mom’s go-to punishment.
3. Flea Trap: Pets catch fleas. Inadvertently, fleas infiltrate the home. An easy way to lure the parasites from the carpets is to fill a container with water, add a bar of soap, then float a tealight candle on top. The fleas will jump right in.
Cheshire Loves Karma
4. Protect Windows From Paint: Painter’s tape only covers so much. When painting around windows, coat the panes with a layer of soap. It prevents splatter from clinging to the glass. In event of a few errant droplets, it makes the cleanup process a total breeze.
5.Oil A Hinge: If your door is creaking like a Scooby Doo-level haunted house, quick! Grab the soap! It’ll work just as well as a can of WD40. Rub the bar directly onto the problematic hinge, and then add a little more for good measure.
6. Fix Sticky Drawers: By the same token, bar soap works wonders on hard-to-open drawers. Remove the drawer in question, coat the rails with a layer of dry bar soap, and be careful of how fast that puppy will glide.
Hope For Better Living
7. Creaky Floorboards: While you’re at it, tackle every noisy wooden surface in your home. Those pesky floorboards that groan under a footstep? Use some bar soap along the edges to get it good and greased.
8. Coat Sewing Needle: If your sewing project involves a more challenging fabric than the needle can handle, reach for bar soap. Swipe the tip of the needle over a dry bar of soap and it will break through pretty much anything besides steel plated armor.
9. Pin Cushion: In fact, cut out the middle man and stick your pins straight into a bar of soap. It’s the ideal size, plus it keeps your needles ready to tackle the toughest fabric projects from the word go.
10. Mark Fabric: Save a few dollars and a trip to the store: grab that extra bar of soap in the cabinet. It works as perfectly as a fabric marker. The best part? All the dashes you make on the fabric wash out completely.
11. Loosen Leather Shoes: Shelling out big money on high-quality leather shoes that you can’t wear without sobbing is the pits. Break those tough guys in by rubbing a wet bar of soap on the most blister-inducing areas. Your crying dogs will thank you.
12. Deodorize Shoes / Gym Bag: Smelly shoes and gym bags are a physical sign of hard work, yet they gross people out. Cut off shavings from your favorite scented soap, fill a small envelope, and put that directly into the odious object for a lasting clean aroma.
13. Sticky Sliding Doors: One aggressive yank of a sliding glass door could result in a hefty repair bill. Oil the tracks of the door with a bar of soap to ensure a slippery glide. You’ll be back to slamming your door for dramatic effect in a jiff.
14. Clean Fingernails: Use soap to combat it’s greatest enemy — dirt! More specifically, dirty fingernails. Garden buffs know sometimes you have to eschew the gloves for hand to earth contact. Scraping your nails on a bar of soap prevents grime from planting itself in your fingers.
The Prudent Gardener
15. Ward Off Deer: After the first photo op, having deer munch on your garden plants isn’t funny. Put a few bars in mesh bags, then hang them intermittently in the yard to ward off Bambi. Deer hate the odor of Irish Spring soap in particular.
16. Keep Mice Away: Similarly, mice also loathe the scent of Irish Spring. Cut the soap into pieces, or compile a bag of shavings. Next, sprinkle the soap into the areas where mice enter the home. Those critters will pinch their noses and run.
17. Combat Leg Cramps: The spring of origin from Irish Spring soap must have magical properties because it also soothes leg cramps. If you place a dry bar between your mattress and top sheet, the oils in the soap will keep your legs muscles loosey-goosey.
18. Soot On Cookware: Nothing beats the taste of campfire cooking. Though, if Grandma caught you using her cast iron skillet atop an open flame, she’d smack you in the head with it. Remove the hard-to-clean soot stains from the bottom with bar soap.
19. Unstick Locks and Zippers: A sticky lock or zipper always crops up when you’re in a hurry. Speed up the frustrating process by rubbing the inside lock and teeth of the zipper with your handy dandy soap bar.
20. Finding Tire Leaks: Bar soap makes locating the air leak on a tire incredibly simple. Lather up the bar with water and coat the suspicious tire. Bubbles should pinpoint the area where the air is leaking from. Try this method on slowly collapsing inflatables, too!
21. Stripping Wallpaper: Suds up your bar soap with water to create a soapy solution. Fill a spray bottle, and saturate the walls with the soap water mix to loosen the glue that bonds the paper to the walls. Then the paper should tear off easily.
22. Remove Your Ring: The panic that sets in when a ring is stuck on your finger makes you do irrational things, like slather mayonnaise or butter all over your hands. Take a deep breathe and remember soap is a natural lubricant without the greasy mess.
23. Soothe Yourself: When you’ve exhausted all avenues of sudsy hacks, there’s always the viral video sensation of bar soap cutting. This trend of slicing grid-like patterns into soap, then peeling off layers of cubed particles, has an undeniably satisfying effect.
The Daily Beast
A bar of soap didn’t solve all your problems? Another item tucked beneath your sink can probably take care of the rest of ’em. Because of its eucalyptus smell, Vicks VapoRub keeps bugs at bay!
2. Lawn Rescue: Dogs like to pee in the same place, and they find their usual spots with a keen sense of smell. Put some Vicks on that spot to disrupt the pooch’s sniffer — the ointment will mask familiar scents — and ol’ Fido will find somewhere else to go (hopefully not in the house).
3. Stretch Marks: A dose of Vicks might help with stretch marks, too. The combination of natural oils in the medicine helps stretched skin feel softer and reduces dryness, which is what makes stretch marks stand out. Good luck, Stretch Armstrong!
4. Headaches: Migraines can take you out of commission for hours or even days. Some sufferers swear the natural aromas of Vicks ease their suffering if they rub the ointment on their temples.
5. Sore Muscles: Maybe you’ve crushed the gym and now your arms and legs feel like jello. Soothe those aches by rubbing some Vicks into them — the cooling sensation will feel great!
6. Acne Breakouts: Who needs expensive acne creams when a little VapoRub can eliminate pimples overnight? Just slather some of this mentholated ointment on your breakout and the next day you’ll wake up with skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom!
7. Foot Fungus: If you’re one of those people who wouldn’t be caught dead buying foot fungus cream, you’ll be happy to know that you can reach for Vicks instead. Simply apply to the affected area nightly while clipping off as much of the infected nail as possible. Pretty soon you’ll have feet ready for a slumber party pedicure!
8. Scratching Cats: It’s no secret cats love to scratch things, but no matter how many expensive scratching posts you buy, they always seem to prefer the furniture instead. Luckily, cats hate the smell of VapoRub, so dabbing some on problem areas will save you from buying your third couch in four years.
9. Earaches: While this is no means a cure for the underlying infection, placing a VapoRub-covered cotton ball in your ear is a great way to reduce pain and inflammation until consulting a medical professional. If anyone asks: you’re developing a brand-new, sleek-and-stylish earplug.
10. Tick Removal: Removing ticks too forcefully can cause them to break and spread infection. With a quick swipe of VapoRub, however, the ticks will actually release themselves from your skin on their own. Good riddance!
11. Cold Prevention: It turns out that you’ve probably been incorrectly using VapoRub for this purpose your whole life. Instead of rubbing it on your chest or throat, applying Vicks to the feet allows it to more quickly absorb into the body.
12. Bruises: Some may wear their bruises like badges of honor, but those that aren’t a fan of rocking purple and black need look no further than Vicks. Applying VapoRub to a bruise will drive blood away from the skin, significantly reducing the coloration that comes with these unsightly blemishes.
13. Cuts: When it comes to cuts, the only thing worse than that initial twinge of pain is the discomfort that comes from reopening the wound. Luckily, VapoRub can help to accelerate the healing process, and its antiseptic properties can effectively prevent infection. Take that, Neosporin!
Travis Rigel Lukas Hornung / Flickr
14. Sinus Pressure: As if a cough and runny nose weren’t bad enough, most cold and allergy sufferers also deal with intense sinus pressure. While the vapors of the VapoRub help to loosen mucus, applying the ointment straight to your sinuses will naturally reduce the blood pressure in your head and dull the pain.
15. Joint Pain: While Vicks is a staple for people that are prone to colds, it should also be one for those that face frequent bouts of “tennis elbow.” A quick massage of the VaporRub into the inflamed joint should have you pain-free in a matter of minutes.
Dick’s Pro Tips
16. Dry Skin: Do people often mistake you for the Sahara Desert because of your chronically dry skin? Well, eczema sufferers can kiss their days of desert comparisons – and expensive cure-all creams – goodbye by simply massaging Vicks into the affected areas.
17. Allegedly Reduces Belly Fat: To do this, simply mix one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of crushed camphor, one tablespoon of alcohol, and half a jar of Vicks. Apply the solution to your belly and wrap with saran wrap before beginning your cardio exercise. Rinse the solution off afterward and then repeat for several weeks.
18. Fake Tears: If you’re an actor, you know how difficult it can be to muster tears on command, especially if a scene isn’t particularly clicking for you. The simple fix of rubbing a small amount of VapoRub below your eyes will allow those tears to flow without an issue.
19. Splinter Removal: Vicks VapoRub can also be used when removing a splinter. If you rub a small amount on top of the affected area before you take it out with tweezers, it will help cool and ease the pain you feel when it pinches the nerve endings on your skin.
Carol Kosark Southard / Flickr
20. Horse Breeding: This may come as a surprise, but many breeders rub VapoRub below the nostrils of their male racehorses to keep them from attempting to follow the scent of female horses. This way, it keeps them focused on the task at hand — winning the race!
Horse Racing Nation
Pretty cool, huh? Well, there just happens to be one other basic item in your medicine cabinet that has a ton of unexpected uses. It turns out that lip balm is handier for way more than keeping your mouth looking pretty.
1. Relieve an irritated nose: Sensitive skin around your nose makes blowing your nose even worse when you’re suffering a cold or flu. Unscented lip balm applied to the irritated spots, however, protects the reddened skin.
2. Fix a bad hair day: Sometimes, hair won’t cooperate, but with lip balm, you can force it to submit to your will. Swipe your finger tips over the balm and rub them on any hairs that refuse to blend into the pack. That’ll keep all your hairs together.
Tati / YouTube
3. Protect tools from rust: Keep tools free from oxygen and moisture exposure by applying a layer of lip balm to all metal portions. Rust-causing elements won’t easily penetrate the wax.
Sensible Prepper / YouTube
4. Stop bug bite itch: A visit from nasty insects leaves you covered in itchy bites. Dotting those bites with lip balm keeps airborne irritants away from the bug’s mark, and—viola—you itch less.
5. Remove sticker residue: If you loaded up notebook covers or laptop faces with 25 cent stickers and now regret it, apply lip balm to the sticker residue left behind when you peel them off. Let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it away.
6. Protect pet’s paws: In the winter months, ol’ Fido’s paws don’t hold up so well on snow-stricken pavement or icy backyard grass. Apply lip balm to his paw pads for a little extra help in the elements.
7. Remove a stuck ring: When soapy water and body lotion falls short in removing a ring stuck behind your knuckle, just reach for the lip balm. Apply it to the area around the ring to grease the track and slide it right off.
SensiblePrepper / YouTube
8. Tame rebellious brows: You might fix those unruly caterpillar eyebrows above your eyeballs with an expensive brow gel, but that’s just an unnecessary product. Lip balm keeps your eyebrows lookin’ sleek.
9. Clean up mascara smudges: A Q-tip topped with a bit of lip balm can wipe away any stray patches of mis-applied mascara or eyeliner—and it won’t remove concealer or foundation!
Jacqui Zadik / Babble
10. Soothe small cuts: Small cuts like paper cuts hurt so much because they expose skin-level nerve endings to every airborne irritant possible. Seal the cut with a waxy lip balm to create a makeshift wax seal over those nerve endings.
11. Patch up shaving nicks: On a similar note, a dab of lip balm to a shaving nick puts a thin wax seal over the wound and stunts any bleeding. This does not work for larger cuts, though. So do be careful.
12. Prevent nails from splitting wood: Lube up nails and screws with a healthy serving of lip balm before hammering or drilling them into delicate furniture. You’ll lower the risk of splitting the wood this way.
13. Lubricate hinges and tracks: Window that won’t budge? Sliding door not living up to its name? A little lip balm on the hinges and tracks will have your windows and doors flying up.
14. Defog eyeglasses: Extreme temperatures or even a steaming stove-top pot steams up glasses, making it impossible to see. A protective layer of lip balm polished onto the lenses with a soft cloth prevents the blind from getting blinder.
15. Prevent blisters: Blisters form from the friction between the heel of your shoe and the heel of your foot. Luckily, a spot of lip balm on the back of the heel minimizes friction and prevents irritation.
16. Moisturize your cuticles: Lip balm moisturizes and rejuvenates dry cuticles or fingertips. Rub some on the cracking areas before bed and you’ll wake up with fingers ready to star in a puppet show.
17. Seal your fragrance: Dab your wrists and behind your ears with lip balm, then apply perfume or body spray directly to those locations. The lip salve will absorb the fragrance, ensuring it lasts all through the night.
18. Shine your shoes: Tell the shoe shine to take a hike. Just apply a layer of waxy lip balm to your kicks, buff them with a cloth, and watch ’em shine like brand new.
19. Keep laces tied: Sweating at the thought of tripping over a shoelace during a big moment in your life? Keep your laces tied tight with a smudge of lip balm over the knot.
20. Repair scratched CDs: If you’re still reliant on CDs, you know a scratch on the back spells doom for the disk’s future. A little lip balm over the scratch can hide the nick and stop your CD from skipping.