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10 Uses for Soap

Humble it may be, but soap does more than clean up your hands at the end of the day.

To chemists, it’s what you get when you boil down the sodium salts of fatty acids. To us, it’s just soap, known mostly for removing dirt from grimy hands. But with a little creative repurposing, soap—in both its bar and liquid form—can simplify a bunch of DIY projects.

Use soap to:

1. Drive nails easier with less risk of splitting the wood, by first rubbing it on the nail shank.

2. Smooth caulk beads with a moistened finger.

3. Remove wallpaper glue by mixing with warm water and sponging it on the walls.

4. Lubricate the metal rails of sticking desk drawers.

5. Clean dirty windowsills by running the wet edge of a bar along them.

6. Turn screws more easily by dabbing it onto the threads.

7. Keep garden bugs off plant leaves by mixing it with water and spraying the solution on the leaves’ undersides.

8. Cut a straighter line with a hand saw by coating the blade with it.

9. Detect gas leaks by mixing it with with water and rubbing it on suspect pipe joints; if bubbles form, you have a problem.

10. Snap aluminum or vinyl siding into place easier with a zip tool that’s been dapped with the liquid.