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Soap Under the Sheets Stymies Scientists

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One of the most unusual home remedies on our Web site is soap for leg cramps. We first heard about this approach in 2004 and were somewhat skeptical. For one thing, there was no obvious explanation for why a bar of soap under the bottom sheet would do anything for leg cramps. There still isn't and we have heard from physicians and scientists who are convinced it is totally bogus.

Nonetheless, many readers and visitors to this Web site have shared some amazing stories over the last five years. Here are just a few stories we thought you might enjoy. You may also find our special People's Pharmacy Bed Soap and Leg Soap of interest, since we created them specifically to be a convenient shape for use either under the sheet or in the socks as remedies.

We would love to hear your experience with soap...either positive or negative. Comment below.

Joe & Terry Graedon
The People's Pharmacy


Wow, does anybody understand why the soap thing really works for leg cramps? My 76-year-old mother has dealt with leg cramps for years now. Upon watching Dr Gott, my mother asked me what I thought of this remedy. Well, I told her it's just mumbo jumbo; don't waste your time.

Well, of course Mother knows best. I was shocked to realize that she has been putting soap under her sheet for two weeks, and surprising to say, I was wrong. She has been cramp-free for 10 days now, and I'm really astonished! NOW, my question is.... What in soap would take leg cramps away? I'm a real skeptic on things like this, but trust me, It WORKS!

Jim, Aug, 2009


I still cannot believe it! But this really helps. I decided to buy Irish Spring since several people mentioned it and you get 2 bars for $.99 at the dollar store. There is divided opinion on whether Dove and Ivory work.

Since I wear socks to bed, I decided to tape slivers of soap on my calves and shins as well as putting the bar of soap under the sheet. It's been two weeks now and I have not slept so well in years.

I have a bone marrow cancer which causes severe pain from the ankle to the hip in my left leg. Last night I taped a sliver of soap on the outside of my left thigh - no pain. I am so grateful.

Lilly, Nov. 2009


I am absolutely stymied by all of this soap in the bed stuff! IT WORKS!

I've suffered from such killer leg cramps that I can only cry. A friend told me about Ivory Soap. Although it took me five more days (and more cramp issues) before I gave it a try, try I did. I'm just absolutely amazed! NO leg cramps. I'm able to stretch in the bed before I get up without cramps and my legs feel better all day!

What in the Sam Hill is the deal with this? Who cares? I'ts safe, it works and I feel BETTER!!! Wow.

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We have been using Ivory soap for a couple of years. It is very effective. We find we must keep soap fresh as the aroma fades. Shaving new surfaces, doesn't seem to help.

Your article about RLS & leg cramps may work for some people, but the only thing I know for sure that works for leg cramps is 1000mg vitaminB12. It certainly worked for me. Tell your people to try it. The soap you talked about maybe works for some people, but I understand it has to be certain soaps.

I have had Restless Leg Syndrome for over 10 years. Hopeful that this would work, I tried putting a bar of soap under the sheet to see if it would relieve any of the symptoms. Sad to say, I feel that this is a total myth! It DID NOT work for me at all... not in the least. It did not relieve any of my symptoms...

I have been putting soap under my sheet for years, since reading it on this site. It has worked for me. Sometimes I only get cramps in my foot and I put my foot directly on the bar of soap which stops them. I also put a hotel size bar in my pocket when I play duplicate bridge for 3 hrs at a time and no long get leg cramps...same when I fly. Amazing stuff!!! Who cares if it isn't understood, as long as it works.

First read of the soap thing here about two years ago. Put several motel bars under the sheets. Voila! No more leg cramps. But since I also get them during the day, I tried carrying around a bar, and rubbing it on my leg when the terribly painful cramp hit. And here I got a lot of relief, but not complete. So soap goes with me whereever I go.

Now--come up with some equally cheap, effective, no-side-effects cure for age (80 tomorrow).

As a health care professional, I wanted a scientific explanation for why the soap worked. After trying additional calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin B compelx unsuccessfully, I tried the soap. I have been leg cramp free for months now. I take a muscle relaxer for relief of fibromyalgia and thought that it would prevent the leg cramps but it did not.
Why do older adults get leg cramps? It is not poor circulation for me because mine is good.

I read this article some time ago. I tried with mom's cramps. It seemed to work, so I made small packets of shaved Ivory soap. Placed several of them under her sheet. Said she felt no cramps at all! Now she puts one packet in each sock for the day!
I occasionaly have said cramps (like of I do any exersize). Sewed small pockets in extra sheets, placed in leg area, NO CRAMPS! Who cares why, so long as it does!

I've been putting small slivers of hotel-size soaps in my sleep socks for years now. No more RLS. Wouldn't be without them.

Works for me and your soap has a lovely smell and lays flat!!

AMAZING!! The soap works for me. When visiting our son I had terrible leg cramps during the night, fortunately, I brought a hotel sized bar in my toiletry kit and voila, NO CRAMPS after that. I always have a small bar in our bed at home. What a relief!!

I was sure this was one more of those way out ideas... That was until I tried it, no more RLS.

Several years ago, I read your article about soap under the sheets, and used it with positive results. While changing linens, the soap fell out after several months and I didn't think I'd need "the cure" any longer. I recently had been suffering from extremely severe leg cramps night and day and thought it was a part of my fibromyalgia. Then I remembered the soap, replaced it and overnight I felt 95% better.

Patricia, February 3, 2010

I am a healthcare professional and used to work for a vein clinic. One possible cause of leg cramps and restless legs is varicose veins. It amazed me how many of our patients had relief from nighttime leg cramps and restless legs after having surgery for their varicose veins. Many of our patients had suffered for years with the symptoms not realizing it could be relieved by treating their varicose veins.

I put it under my son's sheets, ivory snow worked perfectly. Worked well for him and me, for no more wall getting kicked.

I was getting leg cramps many times during the night. Had to get out of bed each time to walk them off. Read about the soap remedy and tried it. The first night with the soap under the sheet I had absolutely no cramps and am happy to report that several months later I am still cramp free. I don't use Ivory. Don't think it matters what brand.

They're probably the freshest, best-smelling sheets you'll ever see!

I stopped leg, thigh and foot cramps by stopping hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg. Just that small dose gave me cramps. Other meds cause cramps too. I do not believe soap in the bed stops cramps. That is just ridiculous.

Soap under your sheets didn't relieve your restless legs because you are too intelligent to fall for such nonsense.

I had restless legs and used self hypnosis to stop them. Did self hypnosis one night and got to sleep, restless legs started the next night and I used self hypnosis again that night and morning. Never had restless legs again.Learning self hypnosis may require you find a licenses psychologist trained in hypnosis. Learning self hypnosis is a tool you can use throughout your life for many bothersome situations and health problems. I use it every morning and every night and my life is happier and more contented than before. I even lessen arthritis pain about 80% with self hypnosis! You visualize yourself healthy, athletic and flexible, feeling great and moving without pain.

The people who believe soap under the sheets helps may be using auto suggestion, similar to self hypnosis, to convince themselves the soap stops restless leg syndrome! The mind is a great healer.

A legitimate psychologist will teach you in only one session. Best $150-200 you may ever spend.


Maybe Jesse thinks the soap under sheets is "ridiculous" but judging by the number of people this old wives remedy has helped, including myself, it works. Who knows why or how but if it indeed takes away the pain or RLS.... who cares. Sure meds are known to cause side effects, but what about the people with these problems who take no medications?

Come on Jesse, you don't have to believe it works but be happy for those the remedy works for.

I think negative comments ruin the positive results of others. No matter how it works, if it does for someone, it works- period. For those to whom it is not helpful, they will figure out their own solution. "Smart" is an inaccurate and insensitive reply. Our brains and bodies are all different. Anything can be a placebo- even hypnosis or vitamins, etc.

I don't know WHY it works but it does. My sleep was disturbed frequently by restless legs syndrome. I now keep a bar of soap at the bottom of my bed and have had NO restless leg problems for well over a year. I don't think it matters what brand you use.

My father is undergoing radiation and chemo for Stage 3b lung adenocarcinoma, and one of the side effects has been that his hands cramp up.

I had heard the soap for cramps stories on the show before, but heard it again this past weekend (Mar 13, 2010). So that evening, while he was having cramps while trying to eat dinner, I suggested that he try holding a bar of soap. With skepticism he tried it with a fresh bar of Ivory, and sure enough, his cramps stopped. This morning, after his radiation, he had cramping again, and as soon as he got his hands on the soap the cramps stopped.

Now if only that soap could work on his lung cancer...

Years ago (I am 83) I used to have terrible leg cramps at night. I read in Prevention magazine that Vit. E capsules might be helpful. I started taking them and my leg cramps stopped. I still take one every day, to be sure, and found that it was doing great things for my skin. People still cannot believe that I am 83. I have even used the topical oil for my neck with wonderful results.

My own theory is that the smell of the soap relaxes the mind (aromatherapy) and therefore one relaxes and gets no cramps.

Sorry, but this is NOT imagination. It makes no logical sense. But I wake up in the middle of the night with cramps in my leg, or in my foot, which really hurts, and move my foot or leg near the soap, and the cramps are gone. NOT in my mind. And I use various soaps, but am using Ivory now. I may try People's Pharmacy's soap. BUT THIS IS A GREAT HELP.

I'm trying it, but it's not doing anything for me, besides putting a lump in the bed.

I sure wish somebody would come up with a logical explanation to why this works. I'd read about it several years back, but had leg cramps almost every night for the past six months, until I remembered this idea. I'm happy to say it works... sometimes if I wake up and feel one coming on, I move my foot over so it rests right on the bar and it stops it.

I have not 'yet' tried this but I'm going to very SOON. My biggest curiosity is what BRAND works best. Anyone?

Sept. 28, 2010
I have been using this method for over 25 years. Mine was a little different, I heard about soap in the sheets, for leg cramps, I did not have leg cramps, but had constant stiff necks. I put a bar of soap in my pillow case and Bingo no more stiff necks, I take my pillow with me on most of my vacations, so always have it with me. A few years ago we went out west for a 3 week vacation via bus and didn't take my pillow or soap, on the 5th day I woke with a very bad stiff neck. Hotel soap came to the rescue after that.

I've heard of the soap remedy for years. I am a runner and suffer from leg cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night and can only be relieved by standing up. My calves are sore the next morning. I threw some hotel soap under my sheet. It has been over three weeks. I've gone from cramps every night for at least three months to no cramps since the night I tried the soap. My friend tells me it's all in my head. I don't believe that but it has worked for me!

I had to get support stockings for my legs at the drugstore. The lady told me about the ivory soap and also about soaking your feet in cool water with peppermints in it. I have not tried the peppermints yet but I have not had any cramps in my legs at night at all. The soap trick my mother also tried and swears on it. You have to replace the soap every 3 months.

This remedy totally works for both my husband and I. Personally for those who are negative about it, it doesn't really matter. They probably haven't tried it anyway. And I also don't think this is all in my head, but if it is, does that really matter if the pain is gone? Give me a break, if a person is in pain and something this simple works and works good, what difference does it make?

There is a whole lot about human health and the human mind that we don't understand yet. I can't explain why this works. It's my understanding that Ivory has magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride in it, maybe this helps, but I don't know that.

So as long as it works, I'm going to keep trying it.

I am a cna working in a nursing home. I work 12 hour shifts. My legs and feet would cramp up so bad at night I never got any sleep. A RN at work told me about the ivory soap. I put it under my sheets last nigh. Slept like a baby. No pain!!! I now have it in my socks and put shavings in my shoes. UNBELIEVEABLE!!!!!!! Skeptics should at least try it. It truely works. There will always be a bar under my sheets and a small container of shavings in my purse

I massage my calves with a bar of soap and even under my feet, and including my toes. I then put on a sock and set a bar of soap inside on the side, and sleep like a baby. Now, sometimes I get a cramp, but not as often as I used to, so it works. Do expect a cramp now and then though, but not as ofter as before.

I am 34 and can remember having the maddening sensations in my legs that would wake me up seemingly every hour as far back as the age of nine. Most nights over the last 25 years I have had to get up out of bed several times a night just to walk off these sensations that would just not be ignored. Last night was a particularly bad episode for me. I literally had tears running out of my eyes from sheer exhaustion, but the tingling or whatever it is just would not let me sleep.

Long story short, one piece of ivory soap STILL IN THE WRAPPER UNDER MY BED SHEET took it all away in seconds. I don't wanna question something that works, but how in the world could it have possibly worked like it did? I have no symptoms of RLS for the first time in my life. It works, I just don't have a freakin' clue as to why!!!

I am soooo curious as to why this works!!!I have had relief over the years. A truck driver friend of mine struggled for 2 hours with leg cramps before going to truck stop and placing bar of soap in sleeping bag. Went right to sleep. Won't take it out now for anything!

This is NOT placebo! I just started caring for an elderly woman whose husband suffered from nightly leg cramps. I asked him if he'd tried the soap. He said, "No!That's just hogwash!" At 4:00AM he woke, and reported cramp in right foot. Still he refused my 2nd offer to try the soap - "Naw! That's just a bunch of baloney!" I felt so for his pain, I was compelled to try to help. When he was in the bathroom, I slipped a bar under the fitted sheet at the foot of his side of the bed. He didn't know it was there.

When he woke at 6:00AM, I asked if he had any cramps, and he said "No". Feeling badly at doing that without his permission, I asked if the soap had bothered him? He was distracted with breakfast, and said "no-what"? I asked if he'd taken the soap out? He again brushed me off, not knowing what I was talking about, and preoccupied. I decided not to bother him and wait & see. Perfect control group for my experiment! No Placebo effect here!

Every day for 5 days I asked innocuously, if he had any cramps, and he puzzled and happily said "nope-no cramps today!" I was poker faced, but privately elated. : ) Finally I told him about the soap. He was surprised, happy, and didn't want to believe me. I asked if he wanted me to take it out now. He said,"No! Don't you touch it!!!" It has been almost a month now.

Yesterday he reported his right foot was cramped up that morning. I asked about the soap, and he said it was still there. I checked last night, and found it at the side edge of the bed , away from the cramping foot, and returned it to more center 1 ft up & 1 ft in. This morning - No cramps! What a relief! Thanks for sharing this information. Helps to not think we're crazy! I still want to know WHY!?!?

Hi, Bethany,

I know about the soap. Isn't it wonderful? Also, I have pains at times at the top of my rib area under my breasts. I've wondered if I've got costochronditis. The symptoms fit for that, but I've not been to a doctor for it. I don't have insurance.

Also, I have foot cramps at times in bed, plus some RLS. I'm using the soap under my breast area, then near my feet in bed. No more pains! I love it. I'm wondering, too, if some of the help isn't from the magnesium in it. It's my understanding that it has some magnesium sulfate in it, but it works so quickly, which is amazing.

I'm a born sceptic so have been consuming half a banana for breakfast every day. I hate bananas. A friend uses the Ivory soap thing and recommended I try it. Finally, I did. It took a couple of nights/mornings, but I do believe it is working for me- I had to leap out of bed the other day, but one time out of a week is better than every darn morning. No harm in trying it - it just might work for you, too.

I use Irish Spring for my RLS and it works.

It also worked for my mom, who had terrible leg cramps at night. I don't know what brand she used. (She's no longer with us.)

I have no idea why it works -- it could very well be a placebo effect. Even if it is, I don't care. IT WORKS!

I was having terrible leg cramps 2 nights in a row. Waking up screaming in pain. My neighbor reminded me of the soap under the sheet article I put a large bar of soap that I got from Bed Bath and Beyond just under the top sheet Two nights in a row now. Absolutely NO cramps! I know it is early on but I am hopeful. The pain I had was every bit as severe as labor pains. Even if it may be psychosomatic it works !

I'm in my late 50s..Have suffered with leg cramps and forearm cramps...A women in her 80s turned me on to Ivory soap.....Plain and simple no more cramps...It works....All I can say is give it a try.

My fiancé has been having serious leg cramps and RLS during the night because she is pregnant. And let me tell you there is nothing worse then a pregnant woman whose had no sleep and tons of leg cramps. They were so bad that they would keep her up all night.

So last night she had read about the soap trick so we figured we would give it a shot and I was very skeptical. So we put a bar of soap in bed with us not even under the sheets and boom! She said her cramps were being alleviated almost immediately! I couldn't believe it, she passed out in 10 minutes. Even funnier thing is I woke up with no cramps or pains either! Don't know how or why it works but I'll be damned if this urban myth wasn't true. I recommend anyone with RLS or leg cramps to give it a shot at least once

I heard about the soap in the sheets for leg cramps so after 2 really bad nights with RLS, I thought, "What have I got to lose?" That was a month ago and I have not had a problem since. It might be all in my head, but who care??? I can sleep now.

I am a registered nurse, and outside of the "normal" health concerns of aging, I have no health issues, except for this pain in my legs which starts within an hour of my lying down to rest. I'm trying this tonight. I don't care who laughs about it, if it works - I will confirm it.

This- Ivory Soap- even stops my Fibermyalgia pain !! It is amazing!

I read about the soap thing under the sheets about a month ago. I had a foot cramp, so I put a bar of soap ( not Ivory ) near my foot and the cramp went away, no more cramps that night.

I just had a bad cramp in my hand, it wouldn't stop. I unwrapped some soap, and held it in my hand, the cramp went away! It started to cramp again, but not as bad, so I grabbed the soap, GONE!

I know it's working, and everyone has soap, so why not try it?

OK, here's my theory:
As everyone knows, soaps are slippery. So, when you start moving ur legs at night you start to dream slipping on a piece of soap! And you break your leg, and can't move your leg anymore in your dream, nor do you do so in the real world.

I used soap while I was pregnant and having leg cramps. After two nights with soap under my sheets the cramps were gone. Booya.

This has worked for me! I don't understand why and was leery of it but I have not had leg pain since trying this. I do use hard milled soap such as Ivory or Irish Spring for this use !

I had surgery back in 2005 while giving birth to my daughter....during labor I had to have an emergency C-section. When they stuck me with a needle to numb me it was a spinal tap and basically hit some nerves or veins in my right leg ...instantly I flew off the labor table from the shocking feeling in my leg. It's now 2013 and I've been to the neurologist and every other doc and they can't seem to know what's goin my leg has some type of nerve or vein damage to hit and when I say throughout the years it has been severely painful ...believe me it has.

Half of my bottom part of right leg is numb and even feel lumps in my calf almost like there could be clots . So I would take pain meds to try and relieve the pain. But these past couple months I've been suffering with these weird uncontrollable sensations down the same leg I could not sleep at all... Extremely annoying so I would try to get up walk around the room or jump n jacks anything. Cuz while laying down I would just keep jerking my legs and they would move almost on their own.. So I start googling things that fall under that category as such as no circulation symptoms and leg cramps in the led me to RLS. Which led me to this.

When I read the soap story...I paused and looked at the info like "What???" That doesn't make any since...well I sure tried it...and when I say it worked really thing EVER...I almost most wanted to kiss the soap and say "I DO"....;-)

So sad to hear about what has happened to you. Maybe if you can find some magnesium oil, this will help as well. You can rub it on your legs. I have to rub it on my thigh because it's numb sometimes. I had hurt my hip years ago, and since then my thigh will go numb. It's weird because it goes numb and hurts all at the same time. I also use soap in the bed at night. And you can use it during the day if you have a pain somewhere. My husband at times keeps a bar in the truck and when his neck hurts, he sticks it on the back of his neck.

As far as the magnesium oil, you can research it and buy it online. You can also find it at many health food stores.

This works for pain in the legs, and possibly back pain also. I have been doing this consistently for months. I have passed the info on to other with leg pain and they swear that it works. We are not wacko, we just need pain relief, and this works for whatever reason!

It works. A friend told me about this when I mentioned the debilitating thigh and calf cramps I had on my last plane ride and was afraid to fly again. I used Irish Spring soap under my sheets and my foot (broken foot bones with post arthritis), ankle, calf and hip bursitis pain is all gone. I am astonished!

I ordered the soap and put the small ones in my socks for a long plane flight with no cramping or discomfort. Previously I used leg cramp pills and general pain medicine still with severe leg cramps on and after the plane trip.

P.S. My internist is skeptical and although she says she has many patients with this problem, I doubt she will advise them of this "grandma's remedy"...Too bad.

I was one heck of a skeptic when I heard about this. In fact, I laughed at the person that told me. However, I have suffered with RLS for several years so what the heck, I decided to give it a try.

Well, I had to eat a little humble pie. Not only does it work, it works in a matter of 30 seconds to a minute. Absolutely amazing. Now, I'm sure it will not work for everyone, every time. But it does for me and for the dozen people I've told it to. Just like a dowsing rod, divining rod or water witching. No one knows exactly how it works and there are many main stream scientists that call it bogus. Well, they are totaly wrong.

Some people can do it (as I can) and some cannot. Again, if you have leg cramps or RLS, just give it a try. I put mine in a pillow case and rest my leg or legs on the pillow under the cover.
Works every time for me.

Gordon W.

I woke up with legs cramps daily, and was telling a friend about an extremely painful morning. She told me it sounded really nutty, but put a bar of soap in my bed (couldn't be Dial!!!???). I have had a bar of soap in my bed for three weeks now, and I have NOT had a cramp since I started!!!

My husband is making sooooo much fun of me, but I don't care. I am not suffering the intense pain of leg cramps thanks to whatever the heck the soap does. Hocus Pocus . . . who cares if it works!!!

You don't know how excited it makes me to hear people having help from this. It is so wonderful because for tons upon tons of years, some people have taken powerful meds that have terrible side effects to stop the cramps in their legs or feet, but this helps most people in a matter of only seconds. Then no side effects on top of that!

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