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How to store soap and shampoo bars – properly

Don’t you love that feeling when you look around your bathroom and there’s no plastic in sight?

You’ve used up all your old bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and soap and now you’re stocked up with locally produced and environmentally-friendly products that are often handmade and beautiful. It feels good. 

But then reality hits: what are you actually going to do with all these solid bars? Maybe you’re super organized and you’ve already thought this through, but if you’re like most of us, this is where the problems begin. 

I’ve been there. This post will give you ideas on how to store your soap and shampoo bars. I’ve included both DIY and bought storage options as well as a few tips to keep your solid products… well… solid (and not a squishy mess). 

Soap bag

A great way to store soap in the shower is a soap bag. Because you can hang it up in the shower, it also saves precious shelf space. Put your soap in the bag and keep it in there until it’s completely gone. Many beauty brands offer sisal soap bags but we find them too rough for our skin. Organic cotton is a great option for a gentle soap bag (DIY crochet soap bag instructions here) or we offer soap bags made from sustainable linen which are also nice and gentle for your skin. 

Draining rack for soap and shampoo bars

Another must-have for storing solid products in the shower is a draining rack or shelf. You can get them at most stores and you can put your soaps or shampoos either directly on the rack, or use a soap rest. If you’re putting your bars directly on the rack, you’ll need to make sure the metal is coated to stop it from corroding over time. One thing to be aware of is that even if your bars are in a draining rack, you still need to position the rack outside of the flow of water. It doesn’t matter how well the rack drains, if your bars are constantly getting wet, they’ll end up dissolving. This is particularly important if there are a lot of people using the shower and it rarely has time to dry out. 

A GOOD soap dish

There is a huge difference between a soap dish and a GOOD soap dish. I keep seeing wooden or ceramic bowls without any drainage popping up as “soap dishes” and I think it’s rather misleading. A GOOD soap dish (like the Ceramic soap dish we offer) has the following:

  • As little surface contact with the soap as possible: this is important because it allows air to circulate around the soap to dry it. The more contact the soap has with the dish, the more it will absorb water and become a slimy mushy mess. 
  • Rivets or holes for the liquid to drain away from the soap: this one seems pretty obvious but there are many soap dishes that don’t offer this. This is important because you want to get the water away from the bar as soon as possible. 
  • Elevation for the soap so it’s not sitting directly on the draining holes: if the soap is directly sitting on top of the holes, it will plug the holes and stop the dish from draining effectively. The soap should be raised away from the holes to allow for optimal drainage. 
  • If there’s a reservoir – it should be big enough that water can evaporate efficiently between uses: small reservoirs that fill up after a few uses are absolutely useless. 

The anatomy of a good soap dish

how to store a soap bar properly

I’m maybe going to be a bit controversial here, but I don’t recommend wooden soap dishes either. I’ve found they suck up the water and end up swelling or looking really bad after a while. Some of them also leave a brown stain on your soap which can be rather unpleasant. A good ceramic soap dish is an investment that can be made once and kept for a lifetime. 

Soap rest

A soap rest can turn a bad soap dish into a GOOD soap dish in a really cost-effective way. We have some soap rests in our store made from coconut fibers, but you can also use a plant-based scrubbing sponge, a crocheted cloth, or really anything that wicks water away. Just put it in your soap dish, or travel soap holder and benefit from much dryer bars.

How to store soap and shampoo bars for travel

A bad travel soap box

Finally, sometimes you need to travel with your solid bars (you know, when we’re not in the middle of a pandemic!). A lot of people like to use solid bars when they travel as there are fewer liquids to worry about when going through security. There are a lot of truly terrible travel soap boxes out there (I’m looking at you, crappy plastic clam soap boxes that leak, don’t drain AND look tacky. Metal boxes that rust: you’re on our “bad” list as well.). 

A good travel box needs to meet all the criteria previously mentioned, but also seal properly so any watery residue doesn’t leak through your stuff. There aren’t many out there that actually meet the criteria, so using a soap rest in one of the subpar ones can really help. 

Or instead of buying a soap box you can do a super simple DIY. If you have 2 matching stackable Tupperware containers lying around, simply make holes in the bottom of one of the containers, then sit it inside the second container. Pop your soap in the box put the lid on top, and secure with a hair tie or rubber band. There we have it! A super easy and upcycled travel box.

If you don’t have Tupperware, you can use a jar, just pop in a soap rest (you might need to cut it to size) to ensure the bars aren’t sitting in moisture. 

There we have it! I hope this is helpful for your switch to solid bars. If you try out any of these ideas or have some of your own, share them with us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter