5 Simple Tips to Make Soap Bars Last Longer

A Drop in the Ocean Zero Waste Shop 5 Simple Tips to Make Soap Bars Last Longer in the Shower
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This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on August 22, 2022.


Last Monday I was off kayaking and adventuring in the San Juan islands with six other badass female entrepreneurs from Tacoma, visioning and planning for what we wanted our businesses and our lives to look like in the coming months. It was oh so rejuvenating and I cannot wait for you to see what I’m cooking up for you. These next few months are going to be so exciting and I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

A Drop in the Ocean San Juan Islands Kayaking Retreat

I mean, the view doesn’t get much better for some journaling time. Photo from Katie Bray.

Be sure to check out what these other women are up to, as well! I feel so honored to have been able to spend this time with each of them.

And if you’re looking for a San Juan kayaking adventure for you, your fam, your girlfriends, whoever!, definitely check out Outdoor Odysseys. I cannot say enough about how incredible this team is, even if you’ve never been kayaking before.

Now, onto this week’s wave-making.

Two weeks ago, I shared my top 7 reasons to switch to shampoo and conditioner bars. They’re some of my favorite, easy, zero waste swaps, but if you’ve never used them before, you may not  know the best ways to take care of them.

So today I’m sharing five ways to care for bar soaps (not just shampoo and conditioner bars!) and make them last as long as possible.

The #1 Rule of Soap Bars…

…is to keep them dry. 

The more drainage and air flow you can give to your soap bars, the longer they’re going to last you. Keeping your soaps dry will keep them firm, less messy, and easier to use. Remember that #1 rule and you’ve conquered most of the battle.

Okay, on to the care tips!

1. Keep them out of the water stream.

Okay first and foremost - you gotta keep your bars out of your shower water stream. If you can, keep them up high and on the opposite side of your shower from the shower head.

If your soap bars are in the stream of water, or even being splashed with water during your shower, they’re going to melt faster, leave more soapiness on your shower ledge, and honestly just all-around be a less enjoyable experience. So find the driest spot in the shower and make a new home for your bars!

2. Store them on a soap dish with drainage.

Now that your bars are out of the line of water, we gotta give ‘em some room to drain!

Washboard style wooden soap dishes are a soap bar’s best friend. The washboard surface elevates your soap bars so the water can drip off of them, and get a bit of airflow on all sides of the bar. 

Even when they’re made of uncoated wood, these dishes are the MVP. I’ve had mine for a couple of years now and they aren’t warped or discolored in any way. Especially zebra wood soap dishes! Zebra wood is a dense, heavy wood that’s highly water resistant, making it even more perfect for a shower ledge.

Anywhere you’ve got a bar of soap in your house, make sure it’s got a wooden soap dish keeping it dry.

A Drop in the Ocean Zero Waste Charcoal Face Bar on Natural Beechwood Soap Dish

3. Keep your soap dish clean.

When you’re using a bar of soap for hand washing or washing your dishes with a solid dish soap bar, you may not be able to give your soap bars enough time to fully dry off between uses, since they’re in such a high-touch area. 

When that happens, you may end up with a softer bar that leaves some extra soap behind on the dish. 

Especially if you’re using one of our wooden soap dishes and the soap gathers in the washboard surface, you’re gonna lose some of that airflow and drainage space that’s so important for keeping your soaps in tip-top shape.

So if you start to notice some soapy buildup on your soap dish, take a few minutes to clean it off. I like to use a pot scraper to scrape the extra soap off the dish, and add those bits to my soap saver bag so I can get as much use out of the whole bar as possible. 

Then, I’ll rinse the soap dish in warm water, wipe it down with a Swedish dishcloth, and leave it out to dry. This is why I typically recommend getting two soap dishes, so you always have one clean and one dry to swap out.

4. Use a soap saver bag.

And speaking of adding the remnant soap to my soap saver bag, this addition to my shower has been a game changer!

Our soap saver bags are made from sisal, an ultra-sustainable natural fiber extracted from the leaves of agave plants. They’re the perfect size for one of our bar soaps, and are a great way to keep a bar of soap lasting as long as possible.

The soap saver bag serves a few different purposes:

  1. The bag holds a bar of soap, and acts similar to a washcloth. The fibers help the soap suds up better than it would on its own, helping you use less soap per shower, making the bar last longer. Plus, it’s exfoliating!
  2. The bag helps your soap dry between uses, since it can hang up somewhere out of reach of the water stream, and gets the soap more airflow since it doesn’t have any surfaces touching it.
  3. When a soap bar gets too small to use on its own, you can toss it in the soap saver bag and keep using it until its totally gone. No more random bits of soaps too small to use that you’re collecting without any way to use.

Basically, if you’re using soap bars in the shower, a sisal soap saver bag is gonna be one of your best accessories.

A Drop in the Ocean Zero Waste Natural Sisal Soap Saver Bag

5. When you’re traveling, don’t store your soaps in a travel tin.

As I’ve mentioned before, shampoo bars, conditioner bars, and all other soap bars are the absolute best things for travel. Ya got no liquid to worry about the 3oz rule, and since you can take the full bar, you don’t have to worry about running out of a travel-size bottle on your trip.

But, a super easy trap to fall into is storing your soap bars in your travel soap tin.

Travel soap tins don’t have any drainage, so any water they get in them is just gonna sit there, which is kinda the opposite of our #1 rule - keep the soap bars dry.

When I’m traveling, if I’m staying in a hotel, I’ll typically flip the lid of the travel tin upside down and use it as a makeshift soap dish.

If I’m staying outdoors, or perhaps on our annual Baja EcoWarrior Retreat, and I don’t have a space I can leave all of my soaps out to dry the whole time, I’ll always make sure the tin is dry before I put my soap back in it, and as much as possible I’ll keep the tin open to let some airflow through.

Then, as soon as I get home, I’ll unpack my soap bars. I’m notoriously bad at unpacking after a trip, but the soap bars gotta breathe! They’re the first things out of the bag when I walk in the door.

A Drop in the Ocean Plastic Free Travel Soap Tin with Zero Waste Shave Soap Bar

So friend, what do you think? Ready to give shampoo and conditioner bars a try? All of our soap bars are made ultra-locally, totally zero waste on our end and yours, vegan, palm oil free, and cruelty free. Head on over to the shop and give ‘em a try!

See you again next week!

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