Given that I make and sell handmade soap, I don't know that it's in my best interest to share this, but there are a number of things you can do to increase the life of your precious bars. For the moment, I will remove my evil marketer hat and share some of the tips I've learned as a soap consumer and wife of a cheapskate.
I didn't know that these existed until a friend bought me one as part of a Christmas gift, but they're a super easy way to make your bars last longer. There are a couple styles that I'm aware of. The first is a nylon mesh bag with a drawstring that works (and feels) very much like a body wash puff. The second is more like an oversized pot scrubber with a mesh pocket that holds the bar. Both types have a somewhat rough texture that serves to exfoliate, but I find that the mesh bag lathers more easily, and its smaller size makes it easier to handle. This style also is more amenable to using up all the little soap scraps you might collect. This is a great feature, especially if you happen to be a soap maker that turns out pounds of cut-off soap scraps, or you just don’t want to waste any scraps. Throw in another bar along with the remnants of an old one, and off you go. Pro tip: Make use of the string on your soap saver by getting yourself some suction cup hooks. Position the hook out of the water to make your soap last even longer.
Not Your Average Soap Dishes
Getting yourself a soap dish may seem somewhat obvious, but I've found a couple somewhat innovative ones that I like more than your garden-variety model. I'm not sure what shower manufacturers and tile installers are thinking when they position soap dishes. They may be adequate for baths, but showers turn any bar placed in one of these holders into a pile of mush. The shower dumps water all over your soap, and it never drains completely. I love suction cup-mounted soap dishes like the one you see pictured. You can place it out of the shower spray, and is has slots in its bottom to make sure that bars dry effectively.
I don't think I've ever seen a bathroom sink that didn't have either a space for a soap dish, or an integrated soap dish – except for the one we bought during our bathroom remodel. It's a pedestal unit with an aggressive slope to its top surfaces. Any soap placed on the sink top will slide right into the sink. Suction cups to the rescue once again! The "soap dish" pictured here is actually a rubber sheet with a bunch of tiny suction cups on both sides. On the top side, the suction cups allow excess water to drain off. The suction cups on the bottom stick to the sink and keep the whole works from slipping into the sink. This particular device is actually marketed for use vertically. It supposedly will stick to a shower or tile bathroom wall and hold various items like razors, toothpaste or soap. I haven't tried it vertically, but it works great horizontally on the sink.
So there… I guess you’ll be needing to buy less soap from me now since you’ll be able to get more out of each bar. Perhaps I will take a cue from shampoo manufacturers: everybody lather, rinse, repeat! :)