Turtles all the way down, and a poll

It’s going to get above 90° F (32°C) in Chicago today, and it’s humid. Even the ducks are prostrate with heat, floating in the shade of the tree and sleeping on the water. People are peevish, including me, readership here is flagging, and so I’ll save more substantive stuff till tomorrow.

In the meantime, can you recognize what this is? It belongs to me, and says something about my character. The answer is below the fold.

Click “read more” for the answer:

When your bar of soap in the shower has gotten too small to use comfortably, what do you do with it? Many throw it away, but I can’t bear to; I figure it still can be used. What I do is simply press it together hard against a new bar of soap, and presto!, they get welded together, so the tiny vestigial bar becomes part of a big bar.  If you do that two times in a row, you get something that looks like this: a three-decker turtle.

It shows that I am provident, which is the fancy word for “cheap”. So be it.

Before you take the poll below (and you WILL answer it!), comment on what other things you do that might be considered “provident”?

A poll! What do you do with vestigial soaps?


  1. WDB
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I also merge the old with the new, which occasionally results in weird mutant multi color soap bars when I decided to change brands

    • Trey Petty
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Change brands??!!
      That’s just crazy-talk!

  2. Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I have a plastic “soap saver” thingy to help with the job. I got tired of throwing away perfectly good chunks of soap.

    • freiner
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I used to use a similar thingy, as well, and I’d get some nice effects by alternating different colored soaps.
      I’ve since moved on to liquid soap. For awhile I maintained my cheapskate status by avoiding tossing away the last spout-unreachable dregs by diluting the remains with water until the mix was only slightly stronger than the average homeopathic medicine. I stopped doing that when I realized the result also was about as effective as the average homeopathic medicine.
      My next plan might be to move on to Granny Clampett-style lye soap making.

  3. Jacques Hausser
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I dissolve it in some water to use as liquid soap.

  4. Bruce
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found that if you have trouble getting them to stick together, put them on a plate in the microwave for a few seconds–then scrunch them together–but be careful–they heat up fast!

    • Hempenstein
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

      Yes to all of that. The fact that some soap pairs are relatively incompatible with bonding with each other, and some people are too technically incompetent to come up with the microwave solution is the only explanation that I can think of for throwing out a perfectly good piece of soap.

  5. GBJames
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I use liquid soap.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink


    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Ditto. Good smells with less mess.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      I was going to say soap too.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Dr. Bronner’s?

      • GBJames
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        LOL! All One!

      • enl
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Not just a soap. A philosophical treatise. Or maybe comedic monologue. Yup That’s it.

        (I have been a loyal user of the good “doctor’s’ purveyance for better than four decades. Still entertained by the bottle)

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I started buying Bonner’s in the Seventies, at the head-shop I’d go to for rolling papers and the free weekly left-wing samizdat.

          Still keep a big plastic bottle in the shower now for occasional use, to remind me of the old days. Still leaves one’s nethers with the same, distinct tingle, too.

          Plus, you’ll never entirely want for reading material, as long as there’s a bottle of Bonner’s around. 🙂

      • Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        I remember my first discovery of that strange product in a store. Spent a lot of time reading all the fine print. Probably with a stupid grin on my face.

    • sugould
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Yes. Easier, no waste, and you only need one kind. (For me at least.) Dawn dishwashing soap makes is great for oil-soaked baby ducklings, and a great bubble bath for humans.

  6. darrelle
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I gave up on bar soap sometime in the early 90s. But before that? Yeah, I did it like Jerry.

    My wife cuts open all liquid soap containers when they get to low to pump or squeeze.

  7. John S. Adair
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I try to use it until it is completely gone, but sometimes I will stick it to the new bar.

    Regarding being peevish due to the heat, I am reminded of a quote from It Came From Outer Space (1953): “Did you know, Putnam, that more murders are committed at 92° Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easygoing. Over 92, it’s too hot to move. But just 92, people get irritable!”

  8. Jim batterson
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I just looked at the pond cam andsaw what looked like about a dozen big ducks…or so they appeared from the camera’s distant vantage point…no little ducklings. Are those the babies grown to full blown adolescents? If so they have really grown in the past week. You have done an excellent job of nourishing and protecting them.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there are 17 healthy ducklings that are nearly the size of mom. I’m a proud dad! But there may be a new brood coming from up on the windowsill from another hen, and if Honey doesn’t cotton to them (which is likely), I’ll have to get in the pond and catch them for rehab, making them orphans.

  9. Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I do that too! However, I never see the remnants of more than one bar in the result. Probably has to do with the kind of soap you use. I use unscented Dove as perfumes in soap make my skin itchy.

  10. Simon Hayward
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Still have to log in my name manually every time – is WordPress ever going to let us link accounts again?

    Bar soap still exists? I thought it had disappeared around the same period as dial up modems.

    Why is it that as soon as the weather finally, after an eternity of frigid blizzards, gets towards comfortable in Chicago all the locals start moaning about the heat and (imaginary) humidity?

    On a positive note, I got a haircut today! Completely normal except for the masks. The hairdresser says they are fine for mens hair, more of an issue for women.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Regarding logging in… Are you using Safari? Others of us who have had this problem solved it by going to:

      Preferences/Privacy and unchecking the “Prevent cross-site tracking” checkbox.

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        That seems to work! Thanks

    • Posted June 9, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      The basic problem is that your wordpress account uses a cookie from wordpress.com to tell the web site that you are logged in. The domain of this web site has changed from whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com to whyevolutionistrue.com.

      By default (it seems) Safari doesn’t allow web sites to access cookies from different domains. This is to prevent cross site tracking i.e. so my website can’t access your cookies from pornhub.com.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted June 9, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        At long last, I’m using browsers such as Duck Duck Go and Brave. While conventional browsers have blocking, I think these go further. The fingerprinting methods in particular are bothersome.

        The downside is typing my email every time.

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I use to do that with soap but at some point I stopped doing it. I must have decided I was rich…delusional.

  12. Ray Little
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I have a shaving mug that holds all my odds and ends. Every so often I pour in boiling water to smooth it out.

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I tried a lot of things with Ivory – not worth it, if it works at all. Maybe one day a solution will arise…

    I am reminded of Kanga – counting how many bars of soap are left.

  14. Paul Clapham
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Readership is flagging? Yeah. About the end of May you did something which broke your site’s RSS feed. I noticed after a week that I wasn’t seeing your posts and went through the process of reconnecting to the new feed. But many of your less regular readers won’t have done that.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      I believe the feed’s location changed when the site was still being worked on then, once it was stable, it changed back to the original feed address. I may be wrong but that’s how I remember it. I’m using https://whyevolutionistrue.com/feed/ right now.

  15. Kim
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Move it to the sink to wash my hands, then use it until it is gone.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I toss it in the toilet, let it sit there and dissolve overnight until the morning’s flush, kinda like a deodorizer or urinal cake.

    I have a vague recollection of having picked the habit up from what my mom used to do with ’em.

    I’ve pissed away enough money to buy Miami in some ways, but in others, I’ll always be the child of children of the Great Depression.

  17. Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Another topical soap trick. Rub the soap chip on your glasses and then wipe off with a towel. You glasses won’t fog up while wearing a face mask.

  18. Jon Gallant
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I have long followed the method of Kim (#15), but will in future try our host’s technique. I am inevitably reminded of the story of the Scotsman who discovered what to do with used, dull razor blades: shave with them.

  19. Mark R.
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I do the same. My mother in law collects all the wee soaps and when she has enough for a couple bars melts them down into a tie-dye looking bar.
    I can’t really think of anything else we do around here that is thrifty.

    • Ted Walter
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      We do the same thing. Also unpackage the soap soon after purchase and put in underwear and sock drawers. Perfumes the undies and dries the soap a bit so that it doesn’t melt away as easy.
      I’m almost ashamed to admit this but…we also cut our facial tissues in half as a waste saver. I know. Raised by children of the depression.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

        My mom used to keep the fresh, unwrapped bars in the linen closet, stuffed among the towels and sheets and pillowcases, for the same reason.

        I damn near forgot about that, but I can remember the smell of opening that closet door right now.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Putting soap in drawers to scent and dry is a damn good idea. I’m a gonna do it!

        We don’t cut tissue in half, but I always make sure to buy paper towels that are all “half-sheets”.

        • GBJames
          Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

          We limit ourselves to only two squares of toilet paper at a time. But it works out because it is two-ply.


  20. rickflick
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I thought the object was an almond covered with white chocolate. I just throw away the dregs, but I think I’ll try the pressing method in future. Thanks for the tip.
    I’m pretty conserving with most things, but my wife is much more so. I occasionally will leave a light or some music on when I leave a room thinking I’ll be right back – sometimes I am delayed. Sometimes my wife notices and let’s me know (not subtly) how profligate I am. I accuse her of turning off lights during blinks.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      That was my thought too – or yogurt-covered almond. Kinda looks like an unfurled prophylactic device.

      I bet it’s leftover Mysore soap – too good to throw out! (I’ve been using the cheap substitute and still won’t throw out the last little bit.)

    • A C Harper
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      My first impression was a Maple Brazil candy (sweet to us UK types). Full of sugar but so tasty.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that pic looks like a white chocolate fudge they make at the local confectionery. Glad I found out what it is before taking a bite.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Me too! (Re the candy appearance.) Reminds me that I’ve run out of chocolate bars for carb health treatments during house-bound isolation.

      I have used Dove soap for years. Starts off in the bathtub soap dish. When whittled away down to a sliver, it goes to the wash basin for hand washing. When it finally is so small it breaks up, I may collect it with others to compress into a “bar” of soap for continued use. (Also child of Depression era parents.)

  21. Joe Dickinson
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    We mostly use liquid soaps. When the dispenser gets low, we just refill from a giant refill bottle. Our cheap thing: it takes about 2 gallons to get hot water from a heater in the garage to the bathroom sink or shower. We save it in a plastic bucket and use it for watering plants or for flushing.

  22. John Conoboy
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I am amazed at how many people do this with soap. I have been doing it for many years. We use Lever 2000 bar soap and the shape of the bar makes it easy to smush the small remnant on the new bar.

  23. Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Soap, with the old piece of soap welded to it to save the old sliver. I do the same thing!

    (Mine is Dove unscented, yours looks to be the same.)

  24. Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    During winter in MN, I find the humidity too low for this to work. So I accumulate those slivers all winter and then sequentially press them into the big bar or onto themselves to make workable sized hunks.

    I do this until they are all used up.

    Call me cheap! 🙂

    Waste bothers me somewhere deep. I onboarded “waste note, want not” very strongly when young.

  25. Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    One can save the soap ‘ends’ and store in a bottle of water to use to rid pests (like white flies) off plants.

  26. Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The photograph looks like some object imaged by the New Horizons spacecraft out in the Oort Cloud.

  27. dabertini
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Go figure. I thought i was the only one who did this. I also add water to any soap/detergent/cleaner when the container is empty just to make sure i get every drop. Oh and i love cereal dust. Waste not want not. I am not cheap.

  28. Richard Jones
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I keep the small piece on the vanity for hand washing.

  29. Richard Jones
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I keep the small piece on the vanity for hand washing.

    Giving me a hard time here!

  30. Steve Pollard
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Lotta soap in the comments above.

    ‘Other provident things’: we save the front of old Xmas cards and cut them up. Some we keep for our grandchildren to make collages out of; the best we save for gift tags for next year’s Xmas presents.

  31. Sue B
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m a soap squisher also. As a child of depression-era parents I never thought to do otherwise. We’ve gone to liquid soap in the kitchen though so I bought one bottle for a buck some years ago and refill it.

  32. Nobody Special
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Use hair conditioner rather than shaving foam. Far cheaper and a smoother shave.
    Grow my own veggies, herbs and some fruits.
    Where possible, if something breaks, repair rather than replace.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      Hair conditioner cheaper than shaving cream? I can buy a can of Barbasol for 99 cents and it lasts me months.

  33. Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    My soap slivers disappear. Along with my favorite ripped T-shirts and ‘broken in’ tennis shoes. The wife probably knows from whence they go.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I know that well. I hide all my “treasures” or my wife will put them in the trash.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

  34. Mike Botwin
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I first heard of this on the Larry Miller (comedian) podcast several years ago. He would delight and how many pieces of soap he could stack together. I hate throwing away bottles with some product left in them. For years I’ve added water to the bottom of shampoo or liquid soap bottles to dilute the concentrated stuff on the bottom. Recently I found a gizmo on Amazon that reinforces this habit. It’s called smart funnel and allows you to take the remains of one bottle and move it to a new one.

    Here it is:

    Darrelle’s life might like this.

    • Mike Botwin
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      ooops, I meant Darrelle’s wife. Not to advertise for Amazon, the picture that was linked to her was for five pack of these gizmos. You can just buy one.

  35. Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I have an organ donor card, but I haven’t signed it, because I want others to be able to use it when I’m gone.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink


  36. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I had to put “other” since I have liquid soap (which remains can be poured into the new soap).

    I think the formulations differ, our hard soaps are so hard that while you can soften them the pressed together remains tend to harden and crack. That looked too ugly, so they tended to become “work soap”.

    • A C Harper
      Posted June 9, 2020 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      Many soaps (but perhaps not all) can be gently melted in a saucepan or zizzed gently in the microwave, then poured into a suitable mold.

  37. Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    In my college fine arts class, one of the assignments was “Do something creative with a bar of soap”. A friend use the melding technique in the shower a few times, and got an A.

  38. Hempenstein
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    When I was a kid, my mother would make frozen popsicles (is that redundant?) in the summer with rubber molds that made 4 at a time, out of some combination of Kool-Aid and Jello. The sticks were inserted thru little slits in the sides and the Jello helped hold the things together. They were freely available to all the neighborhood kids, but the rule was that you had to bring the stick back, and any others you might encounter like from the store-bought kind. She’d boil them to sterilize and re-use.

    A few wks ago a friend from that era who I recently became reconnected with via FB asked me for the recipe.

  39. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Alright -what better time to get better at soap welding than a pandemic.

    I’ll try melding them together in very wet conditions but then move the assembly to a room with a dehumidifier.

  40. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I use liquid soap instead of bar soap.

  41. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 10, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Something for the liquid soap users to consider :

    Water can be used to dilute to soap. So while the soap might work, the weight paid for can be more water than soap.This has been demonstrated in an America’s Test Kitchen episode using dish soap. They used strips of paper suspended over detergent and showed how far the soaps traveled up the strip – chromatography.

    Solid soap : no water (or very very low residual levels).

    • GBJames
      Posted June 10, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Solid soap doesn’t contain water? Who knew? 😉

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted June 10, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        I’m hedging- the soap might in fact contain H2O, but it might be chelated or otherwise fixed amidst the other chemical components. But definitely not in the “liquid” phase.

  42. Hempenstein
    Posted June 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I just remembered another thing I do but very infrequently since it takes so long to accumulate a batch. There’s still deodorant left in the plastic thing at the end of a deodorant roll. When you have enough, you can take those things an put them in a glass in a microwave and after s ahort period liquify the remnants, and then pour that into one of the empty dispensers, saving a trip to wherever you buy yours.

    And back to soap, for years I’ve noted that for all of the love that most modern deities supposedly have for humanity, it’s interesting that the recipe for soap was never provided in the holy book. That could have been something useful to hand down to Moses, for instance. (And might be a suggestion for a future J&M.)

%d bloggers like this: