Monday, May 14, 2007

Unwrapping your soap

It's an age-old frugal debate: does your soap last longer if you unwrap the bars before storing them?

The theory goes that naked bars continue to dry in storage, becoming harder and less likely to dissolve with each use. You know me, though--I am far too impatient to do a scientific test like the Tightwad Gazette. I have more practical reasons:

Unwrapping the soap when you put it away saves you from tackling the slippery task while standing in the shower.

A fresh bar of soap makes a sweet drawer sachet. We love Dial's new Tropical Escape scent.

A basket of naked soap makes even grocery-store goods look like something from a spa!

Just curious: which brand/scent do you prefer, and do you unwrap before storing it?

36 comments:

Lu said...

I have never heard that if you unwrap soap- it might last longer! Ha! :) I can't wait to tell Hubbie! We also use Dial, but usually its whatever is on sale! :)

2boysmama said...

I have never even thought about unwrapping soap!

We have to buy dove or something very mild for our skin. Unscented is preffered for allergies. Much more practical!

Peggy said...

i make my own soaps but it is true that the more you let soap air the drier it gets and the longer it lasts. I dry my soaps 2 to 3 weeks before packaging them to sell but always tell customers to unwrap them so they will last longer. My favorite scent at the moment is vanilla melon

Tis me.... said...

*raises hand* Guilty as charged! I notice there is a big difference. Hubba uses ivory for his facial regime and it is a VERY soft and short lasting soap. 1 bar lasts over a month if we let it dry for a couple weeks prior to use, whereas it's about 3 weeks if we don't. It's so easy to make it a habit of opening new one and sitting it on your shelf (we prefer to leave them in the closet for use as a sachet) each time you grab a new (and already opened and aged) bar.

Emma said...

I have never heard of opening soap up! I will have to try that!

We use Dove because the whole family has sensitive skin.

Carrie J said...

Yes, I have done it for years and it works. We use Ivory and Irish Spring.

Molly said...

We don't use bar soap all that often, however because of my sensitive skin we either use Dove or some botanical bland stuff from the health food store. I have never unwrapped soap to store it, but I have heard that it lasts longer that way.

Frugal Homemaker said...

I use whatever is on sale, put prefer Dial and Leaver 2000. I have unwrapped before, but I never noticed a difference so I quit.

Dove is my nemesis! It's a nice soap, but at one time in my life I was a professional housekeeper, and I could always tell which clients used Dove- their showers were always FILLED with soap scum! Smells nice, though!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I unwrap the soap when I buy it. I like the Ivory soap for my skin and the boys use Dial. I keep the soap in a pretty glass jar sitting in my linen closet. It smells so nice in there when I open the closet for clean towels.

I keep my soap, the Ivory, in my drawers. It keeps them smelling so nice.

Thanks for all you do. Your blog is wonderful. So glad to see your ideas out there for all of the new brides etc. I know I have shared your blog site with lots of friends too. Roxie

hsgbdmama said...

Huh, never heard of that either.

We use a variety of soaps ... Lever 2000, Dial, Irish Spring; but then there are my "splurge" soaps -- what I can get from B&BW during their semi-annual sale, and then soap I buy at the Ren Fest each year (there is a certain type I just love), and those soaps I keep bagged up separately and in separate drawers around the house ... it does make things smell nice! LOL

Lisa said...

Well, gosh, I'm going to unwrap my bazillion bars of Dove right now and put them in a pretty basket. We go through soap like crazy.

It's a Mom Thing said...

Your basket of soap does look pretty.

Answers: We use Dove. And I usually don't unwrap it until I'm ready to use it. Maybe I'll rethink that. :)

Denial Renae said...

We use the Lever 2000 morning scent or something like that. It is a blue bar of soap.

I have heard about it lasting longer, but have never tried it. The Lever 2000 seems to last long for us anyway.

Nancy said...

DH uses Irish Spring. I don't unwrap it early because we usually buy it in a huge bundle that lasts forever. I thought I heard somewhere, too, that the scent of unwrapped soap can keep down pests? Does anyone know if that's true and if it applies to furry four-legged pests and not just the six-legged kind?

I use an ultra-moisturizing body wash (usually the Walmart version of an Oil of Olay thing) myself, so no need to unwrap. :)

Laura said...

I use Dove, Lever 2000 and occasionally Bath & Body Works soaps (I shop the semi-annual sales and get a bar for $1.00) and I think drying out the soaps makes a big difference, but more so for the soaps wrapped in plastic wrap. I don't have any clinical research to prove it, but for my college graduation, my brother bought me some soap from Victoria's Secret. Too precious to use I kept it in my underwear drawer for years. When I finally got around to using it, it lasted forever. So, yeah. I have all of my Bath & Body Works soaps out to dry. It also helps make the scent not so overpowering when you get around to using it. However, drying out your soap won't do any good if it stays sopping wet in the shower, so make sure it isn't taking a bath when you are!

Shannon said...

I use an all natural handmade soap for myself (hubby gets whatevers on sale!) which I thought was expensive until I realized that my dove was melting BIG TIME in the dish. The soap I use now leaves almost nothing in the soapdish. Really nothing, as in I rarely have to wash it out! I do leave it unwrapped, but I tried that with the Dove, too. Waste not, want not!

Gini (Hallquist) Young said...

I never unwrap soap, but it would save on the unwrapping task while you're in the shower! Also we use Dial just the gold bars cause that's what my hubby thinks he likes. I have to say that the unwrapped bars do look a bit like spa treats!

Myfriendconnie said...

I prefer the soap I bought last summer during the last hour when the Albertson's in my town was going out of business and everything was 98% off. We are *still* using it with no end in sight. I cleared the shelf of generic deodorant bar soap into my buggy along with lots of other stuff and got out for $2.72! YEEHAW!! And I don't even feel guilty for being so frugal!

My Boaz's Ruth said...

I use body wash, not bar soap. and even with two of us using it, it lasts simply months.

Suzy said...

I have unwrapped my soap for nearly 30 years.I just love the fresh clean smell every time I open the linen closet!!!

Anna said...

I have unwrapped for years and years. I learned it watching a neighbor lady do it when I was a kid. When you open a new bar you can feel the softness compared later to the hardness of the opened bar. I only open 3-4 at a time as I don't want to have to dust my soap!! We use caress.

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

I've done this ever since I read about it in TWG-just in case :) I figure it can't hurt.

What I usually do is just open the ends of all the boxes and then leave them in the boxes, still all wrapped together in the plastic in the cabinet. That way they stay stacked and all, but with the ends open they still dry out (since I tend to by the huge packs for the unit discount price!)

thehomespunheart said...

My first thought was how pretty your bars of unwrapped soap look!!!

We use white Dial only, since we have sensitive skin.

After reading all of the comments of others - I'm going to unwrap my bars to help them last longer!! I had never heard this before, but it makes sense!

ANGELA said...

I DID THE TEST. IVORY SOAP LASTED THE EXACT SAME NUMBER OF DAYS, OPENED FOR WEEKS, OR FRESH OUT OF THE WRAPPER.

Ewokgirl said...

Currently we're using Ivory soap. I prefer Yardley's, but it's a bit pricey at $1/bar.

Only you could make plain old deodorant soap look like a thing of beauty. ;-)

Honey said...

There was an amazingly delicious bar of soap my Grandmother used (in the 80s/90's) that I found in a Harris Teeter in a town I was in once, and I have never found it again. Sadly, I don't recall the name. It was similar sounding to the name Pure & Natural, I believe, but not that brand. I would take a shower before bed just to smell like that soap. My all time favorite for the feel is Olay. Once, a lady visiting us gave me a pink bar when I was a teenager, and I've found it a special treat since. I love the creamy feel. I also like Lever 2000 original. The yellow Dial bar smells great. I haven't used it in forever though. We get different soaps on sale, but one of my son's is very sensitive to fragrance; so we stick with less smelly things these days. For the boys, we use only natural soaps. I am going to try unwrapping some bars. :)

tami lewis said...

my friend makes my soap for me - i love her lavendar one the best- and she lays them all in a pretty basket unwrapped for me before i get them :)

Cinn said...

I bought a large glass jar with a lid. I keep it on my bathroom counter filled with unwrapped soaps. Looks pretty and is very practical.

Donna-Jean said...

My dear friend, the professional makeup artist and skin specialist, gave a recommendation to a group of women recently. When she was asked what was best for washing one's face, I expected her to come up with some exotic cleanser or expensive concoction (she has her own high-end makeup line, but knows a good bargain when she sees one).

Her answer was one word: "Dove." :-)

Anna said...

Maybe as stated, by the Ivory user, leaving a bar unwrapped for a week does not do enough but since we all seem to mention opening more than one at a time they are open more than a week. Mine could be open for a month or probably more. I know when I used Ivory when it was first opened it sure felt softer and wetter than later when it was used. Many soaps that are down to a sliver size will of course, stick to the next new one if pushed onto it wet. Caress though seems to defy this.

Anonymous said...

Would the soap dry out?

Serpentina Solis said...

I found your blog while I was googling the "unwrapped soap" theory. And I agree! It lasts longer after its been stored unwrapped!

My favorite: Castelbel! Portuguese soap! My honey is Portuguese and he told me about this soap. Very nice stuff.

Hadley Coble said...

We don't use bar soap, but I might buy some good smelling soaps to put in my pretty soap bowl in my guest bathroom. Bet it would make it smell good too!

Anonymous said...

Girl, repeat after me:

SHEA BUTTER! Comes in 3 huge bars connected at TJ Maxx for 3.99 - My splurge - So I crank it up by purchasing at least 18 bucks worth and it lasts FOREVER!

For the family - I have to admit - We are hooked on the COSTCO Irish Spring bargain - 8.99 for 20 bars - can't beat that with a stick and they last longer - Just don't appreciate the IRISH SPRING BOXES that are packed individually - Meredith, what might I do with all those boxes besides usher them to the landfill?

I know they could be utilized for something...

Great idea to have simple soaps on display like that - looks very 'rich!'

latrice, working mama in the northwest

kathi said...

I've unwrapped soap for years just because I like the way it makes my linen closet smell. I love the scent of a fresh bar of soap in the morning. I use Zest. Mostly because of the scent but it also doesn't leave soap scum in the tub!
Of course, I have my pretty bars of Yardley lavendar too...so relaxing!

mmc said...

We use Dove. I buy the 14 bar carton at Costco when they have a discount coupon. I unwrap them and place them in a net bag and hang in the coat closet. It cuts down on the funky smell that builds up in the summer.

Jacksonville, FL