bars of soap

There is now a prescription drug (Requip) to treat RLS (restless leg syndrome). The only problem is that some people fall asleep during the day. This could be risky if they are behind the wheel. As far as we can tell, there are no side effects to putting soap under the bottom sheet.

Q. Several months ago I went to my neurologist for my yearly physical and told him about a problem I had with my legs “jumping” at night and waking me up. He gave me the technical name for it and wrote me a prescription for Mirapex. I then told him I had read in your column about putting a bar of soap in the bed, so he told me to try the soap and fill the prescription if it didn’t work. I still have the unfilled prescription sitting on my bathroom vanity. When we went on a trip to Yellowstone, I took my soap along and slept fine every night we were gone.

A. This home remedy mystifies us, but we have heard from many readers like you. The risk of unwrapping a fresh bar of soap and putting it under the bottom sheet where the legs will be is almost zero. The cost is far less than a prescription. Positive responses from other readers experimenting with Ivory soap remedy:

“A while back I wrote to complain that the bar of soap under the bottom sheet quit working for my restless legs. (It was great at first.) Then I got to thinking, it worked before, so why not now? That bar of soap had been there for six months, so I replaced it. The result: no more restless legs. A few times that I had symptoms, I put my feet on the soap and the sensations went away in about two minutes.

 “My husband was having severe leg cramps at night. Without telling him, I placed a soap bar under his sheets for two nights before he noticed. It worked! He’s had no more cramps. We still can’t believe it! “

“I have had severe leg cramps for years. When I read about putting a bar of soap in bed, I got a bar of Ivory and put it under the bottom sheet near my legs. It’s been a month since I did that, and I have not had one leg cramp.

Join Over 90,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. Geni
    Dodge City, Ks

    I have used all the drugs recommended for RLS. I have had it all my life and I am 68. None of the drugs have helped. I had a side effect of going to sleep during the day – teaching, driving, very embarrassing and very dangerous.

    I have tried every cure I can find but nothing helps much. Eating pickles helped some. I drank tonic water. Couldn’t choke down the mustard. Tonight I will be trying the soap cure. Really excited to maybe get some relief. Any other cures you know of I would like to hear about. My son is a chiropractor and has RLS. We are collecting cures to try to find a common thread.

  2. Barbara

    Had suffered with RLS for years on and off. Would go a few weeks or months w/o symptoms but it always came back and lasted days or weeks. When it returned, it was like torture. Definitely knew I wanted no part of a prescription drug for it. Tried creams, herbal supplements etc. Nothing worked. A friend told me about the bar of soap under the sheet and I tried it. It has been several months and NO SYMPTOMS at all. I didn’t even unwrap it!!!

  3. j v
    roanoke in usa

    Works for me, ivory also works for pain in general… ie neck etc aromas gone replace put in a sock, tie a knot, use it between my thighs at night.

  4. susan

    Is it the contents of the bar or is it the feeling of the small brick?? Was wondering if I melted the soap and put it under the sheet like pieces of soft taffy would you get the same results without the discomfort of hitting a brick as you turn in your sleep.

  5. Patsy

    I have had RLS for years when I read this well I had to try it. It worked I have had the soap under my sheet for about two months and it works I want stop using it because I’m scared of hurting again. Thanks to who ever stated this.

  6. jb

    This old home remedy I found about a year ago has changed my life…for 2 years I had RLS so bad that my legs kicked violently and involuntarily when trying to get to sleep at night. A large tablespoon of French’s yellow mustard @ bedtime does the trick. Occasionally I will have to get up and take another spoonful, but it is rare. Don’t ask me why, but only the French’s brand works for me. The RX Gabapentin works but I prefer not to take medication if something else works wonders.

  7. Cheryl

    I have had RLS for 30 years, since my late teens, even before they had a name for it. I take Klonopin, I have tried requip and over the counter stuff, this is the only thing that works for me, truly a life saver…

  8. JH

    I was told by a co-worker years ago about putting soap in between the mattress.
    So I did this and it has now been seven years and I have yet had leg cramps in my bed.
    Now, if I fall asleep on the couch or I am at my boy friends I will get leg cramps.
    So last month I put a bar of soap in between the mattress at my boy friends and I have yet in the past month had leg cramps.

  9. Endi

    So here’s an update. I’m on night 3 with no difference. I used dial the first night and both ivory and Irish spring last night. Under the sheets right next to my back where I’m having the muscle spasm. I’ve seen the doctor three times and it is confirmed a muscle spasm. I am going to give it a full week to see a difference before I give up. But not looking promising right now. I’ll keep you posted.

  10. Endi

    31 year old female. Been having a terrible muscle spasm in my upper back for months now. Got a few shots of localized anesthesia yesterday out of desperation. It only lasted 3 or 4 hours. The pain seemed to come back worse than before. It’s so bad in the mornings, I can barely walk, and the pain is excruciating.
    The Dial has not worked for me. I tried it because that’s what we had most of in the house. We have a bar of Irish spring. Going to try that next since it seems to have more of a success rate here. I’ll let you know!

  11. KS

    I have suffered from RLS for years in and off (I’m 53) and female. The soap in the bed has been a lifesaver!! I wasn’t sleeping at all and now feel fantastic it has made all the difference, how it works I don’t know but it does work give it a try and see.

  12. LA

    3 days is all you gave it???

  13. Betsy W.

    It works, suffered for over 10 years, RLS bad leg tonight, so got the bar of Ivory. Squiggles and pain gone in approx. 3 minutes. Unreal

  14. Brenda J. Hall

    Want to learn more about home remedies.

  15. Anner

    As soon as my muscles start contracting —I reach for my bars of Irish Spring soap. I put it in socks and sleep with it and also just grab a bar and put it on the spot while sitting down. The cramps stop instantly. I may start carrying it in my purse for when I’m away from home.
    If your positive results stop —break out a new bar!

  16. SS

    I went to bed about 11:00 p.m. and laid there for about 1 hour and my legs started acting up really bad (have had restless legs for about 20 years) so I got up and got back on the internet to look up home remedies for restless legs, I read an article about using soap and I thought it was a crazy idea, I kid you not, I went upstairs and got out a sock and put the bar of soap inside the sock and instantly my legs started to calm down.
    Also I recommend taking a very hot bath with hand soap and sitting in the water for about 10 minutes. When you use the hand soap in a sock, change it every so often because I think as time goes by it loses its effectiveness.

  17. CDM

    Hi Gail, Just wondering if you are having any relief since you have been using the soap in the bed for over a month now. Hope you are having great success. I have been reading a lot of comments this afternoon and am going to try this myself. Good sleeping!!

  18. Anita

    Hi again, I posted on June 6th that the bar of soap really helped. Well, guess what? Soap no longer works so I’m back to drinking a glass or two of Tonic water (quinine) every day and that seems to work about 95% of the time. Really don’t want to take any drugs. Good to hear that the soap has been helpful for a lot of people.

  19. bobo

    Does this work for arm cramps?

  20. Gail

    I have had RLS for almost 2 years, I’m told it’s due to a kidney transplant I had 8 yrs. ago, I’ve had many many nights up crying so exhausted just becuz my legs wont stop jiggling, jumping, throbbing. I’ve tried several meds I’m on 2 now, one reg, and one extended release for over night, and I wont stop them, but i am definitely going to try the soap..i have a few bars of caress..ill let you know how it goes…becuz my legs getso bad ,,i had to go out and buy a twin mattress and put it in the room along with my reg. bed ,,becuz I was constantly kicking and waking my bf up…I’m trying it tonight!!! 6/7/2013…wish me luck..I want to sleep peacefully!!!!

  21. Anita

    I use a bar of Lever 2000 Citrus Fresh – works like a charm. So nice to be able to sleep after 3 years of leg and foot pain. Tonic water works 75% of the time, soap 100%. thanks so much.

  22. cin

    Found this site while looking for answers to tramadol use. My RLS has been off the charts since I started using tramadol for knee replacement surgery pain. A side effect of the drug is restless legs.

  23. Marilyn

    My legs were aching badly when I went to bed at night. My brother-in-law told me about the bar of soap under the sheet and I thought, “yeah right.” I did not try it and I continued to have difficulty sleeping due to the aching in my legs. Well, still skeptical, I thought it can’t hurt to try it.
    I put the soap under the sheet and after a few nights I realized my legs were no longer aching and I no longer had difficulty getting out of bed in the mornings. Telling several people about this, of course they were also skeptical. A friend told me he thought I was crazy, but because of the pain and difficulty he was having in the mornings not being able to walk for a few minutes he thought he would try it and after a couple of nights he was no longer having the aching and difficulty and when he wakes in the mornings he jumps out of bed without the pain. One of my friends still hasn’t tried it yet because it just sounds weird. Who would you say is weird? He would rather fill his body with the meds than try something as simple as sleeping with a bar of soap. Go Figure!

  24. Chrystal

    Try reading all of the comments before you post one. It’s covered.
    The article is about things that work, not how they work. Plenty of theories are being floated (in the comments) and many have strong scientific grounds.
    To say that a thing is either a joke or magic with no other options sort of indicates a gap in schooling.
    Sometimes, throughout history, we know things work but do not find out why until science catches up. All use of medicinal herbs, for example. Vitamin C. Antioxidants. It’s a really long list of things that worked, that were not fully understood, that were not, in fact, magic.
    This works for me. If you are suffering in pain and sleeplessness, you can either decide to try it and possibly get better or to not try it, and definitely not get better.
    A retired physician mentioned trying to do trials; an interesting experiment would be for people to make homemade soap with differing levels of key ingredients which are thought to have bearing, such as magnesium sulfate, then try to determine if efficacy was affected by the different balances. Perhaps even create some “control soap” that did not actually have the properties of regular soap…..? Grad students?

  25. Mo

    this is no joke. Although it cannot be explained- you can see by reading 6 plus years of testimonials it is effective. For my use: I place it UNDER my fitted sheet and lay the cramping body part on it. Why does it work? How does it work? I don’t care, I just know it does. My husband was a skeptic- until one night of jumping around to wake the entire house- I slid my bar of soap to his side- guess what? I am so glad to have found this easy remedy. I keep a bar of soap in my suitcase for when I travel. And I recommend it to anyone who will listen! If you surfed to the point of reading about, it can’t hurt to try!

  26. Sean

    Hold on just one minute.
    What is this?
    This article doesn’t explain one thing about the concept of putting a bar of soap under your sheet. Either this theory is just a big joke, or if it IS true based on this article it would be because of Magic.
    Are you supposed to rest your leg on it? Your feet on it? Does some part of your body have to be touching it? Does it matter what part?
    And what would be the difference between a bar of soap and anything else?

  27. S A

    I live in the UK.
    I don’t know the soaps that are mentioned.
    Could someone tell me which soap to use in the UK please.
    I do have dove and am sitting here with it under my arm, I have bad rib pain, among other pains.
    Thank you

  28. anitachaywood

    For those of you with the RLS. I just heard about a nurse that uses it for patients with RLS. It is Irish Spring soap that she uses. She won’t use just any bar of soap has to be Irish spring.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.