bars of soap

When most people think of muscle cramps what comes to mind are leg cramps. That’s because a “Charlie horse” can be super painful. The muscles in your legs are long and strong and when those muscles contract, especially in the middle of the night, the pain can be excruciating.

But there’s another kind of muscle cramp that can also be incapacitating. Hand cramps can be incredibly painful. Here are just a few descriptors from visitors to our website:

“My fingers get distorted and close up to the point of me having to pry them loose. The muscle between my thumb and my forefinger hurts all the way up to my elbow.” Teresa

“I have the same problem my fingers distort and I have to pry them open and it hurts up to the elbow.  Any ideas please?” Andy

“I don’t know what to do. Most all the time I have cramps in my right hand and fingers, day and night. Please help me.”

A professional fisherman was the person who alerted us to a possible “cure” for hand cramps. He would put in long hours on the water reeling in big fish after big fish. The constant strain on his hands often left him in agony at the end of the day.

When the hand cramps became unbearable he remembered a remedy he heard about on The People’s Pharmacy radio show for leg cramps, ie, putting a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near the feet. He figured, if it can work for leg cramps, why not hand cramps. The rest is history! Read some stories below. The first is from the wife of another fisherman:

“I read your article about using soap in the bed for leg cramps. It really works. My husband had leg cramps for years since he is a fisherman and on his feet 18 hours a day. They brought tears to his eyes, although he is very stoic. He’s had no more leg cramps since we started putting soap under the bottom sheet.

“We were playing cards the other night and he got cramps in his hands, holding the cards, as he sometimes does. I got a bar of soap and put it in his hand. Within a minute the pain subsided. He held the bar for about 10 minutes and the cramp never came back. Now we keep a bar of soap near where we play cards.”

“My left hand was cramping badly, my fingers twisting and enduring a scarcely bearable pain. I googled ‘hand cramps’ and found your page and just now tried the bar of soap ‘cure.’ 
Amazing! It worked within 2 minutes and the cramp hasn’t yet returned (quarter of an hour ago)
. What an indispensable tip.
 Thanks to all contributors at” R.W.

“Everyone is right about the soap. It really does work. I was really skeptical about that, until my mom was cramping in both her hands. She does dialysis three days a week and sometimes she cramps afterwards, so I was looking for something to help her with those hand and leg cramps and I couldn’t believe it when she said that the cramps stopped. Thank you for the home remedy.” I. Bll

“My hands cramp like a birds foot drawn by a string. The hands from a scoop shape sand the pain although bearable lasts a long time. I tried the soap, it seems to have done the trick.” JMD

“I don’t know why this works, but the cramps let up right away. I also popped a couple of tums with magnesium. I notice worse cramps when I don’t get my bananas in. This is a great emergency fix, as I couldn’t even move my fingers. Thanks!” Susan

“I always use any kind of bar soap for any cramps, hands, elbow, arms, legs and so does my daughter. It always works usually within a minute. I also eat bananas and calcium citrate.
But the soap always works. Soap is better.” Lala

Share your own soap story below, whether you hold soap in your hand for hand cramps, put soap in your bed for leg cramps or try soap chips in your socks for restless leg syndrome (RLS) we would like to learn about your experience. Speaking of soap chips, shaving soap is not always easy or fun. That’s why we “invented” People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap. Here’s just one story:

“A friend told me about the soap chip trick 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 The People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap from The People’s Pharmacy Store and put the small ones in my socks for a long plane flight. I experienced 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.” J.G.F.

Should you wish to try Leg Soap or Bed Soap, here is a link to our Body Care products, including Bed Soap, Leg Soap, Pomegranate Natural Lip Care, not to mention Aluminum-Free MoM (milk of magnesia) Roll-On Deodorant.

Please do let us know how any of these products work, especially soap for hand cramps, leg cramps or whatever hurts!

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  1. rdoug
    Branford, CT.

    I’m so glad I came across your site !! I’m an electrician (for 30 some-odd yrs now), and for the last year or so have been getting increasingly worse hand cramps and arthritis. On my way home from a job today I could hardly drive, the cramping and pain was so bad. Got on my pc and googled hand cramps and came across this soap thing.

    I almost didn’t try it cause I thought it was some kind of “sales pitch” and sounded ridiculous. But as desperate as I was I figured “what the hell.” I had a new bar of Irish Spring, held it for about ten minutes in my right hand while my left was still cramped up. I opened up my right hand, and the cramps were GONE!! Did my left hand the same way !! After about 15 mins. I can feel a VERY slight residual-type feeling on the right so I’m doing it again. I am freaking shocked< I can't understand how or why this works SO glad it does !! THANK YOU !!!!

    • penny

      Your post caught my eye, because I noticed you are from Branford, Connecticut, where I grew up. I just found this site too, and had horrible hand cramps earlier today. Had no idea what to do. I never do. Now I’ll be sure to try the soap trick. Hope it works for me as well as it did for you.

  2. Laurie
    Tucson, Az

    I’m an artist and suffer hand cramps when I’m on a painting spree but today they were so bad I was crying! I did all the normal things got potassium, made sure I wasn’t dehydrated and my fingers wouldn’t quit getting distorted so I googled hand cramps and found you and tried the soap!! I figured what the heck all these other people wrote how the pain was gone in just a few minutes so I opened a new box of Irish Spring and here I am 5 minutes later out of pain and typing this!! I’m amazed and thankful. Thank you so much,
    Laurie Wells

  3. Naysh

    My husband is a roofer for a while now I see his hands cramping up to the point I’m doing research about cramps and what a blessing to have come across this page of home remedies, a bar of soap brang a big smile of relief to his hands how grateful I am for the person who shared this remedy.

  4. Norma Mendoza
    Karnes City, Tx.

    My husband has cancer (multiple myeloma) and ever since he was diginosed with it we noticed that he gets cramps on his fingers/hands.
    I came across this about a bar of soap, we were both surprised how it really works!!! Very amazed and everyone should try if your dealing with cramps.

    • Michelle lambert
      Quitman ms

      What kind if soap my husband has cramps bad in his legs and hands please let me know

  5. Florence

    I was searching for a solution to hand cramps when I found the soap solution to restless leg problem, also a concern of mine. I immediately sent for bed soap. It arrived a no more restless legs. Holding a bar of soap in my hand for a little alleviated the Han cramps. Who knew years of discomfort could be done away with so simply.

  6. dolly

    I am trying it I get cramp in feet and legs at night and my hand has just started to cramp a bit i do hope the soap helps i have put one in my bed also

  7. Nicole
    huntington beach calif

    thank you so much I usually put mustard under my young
    For foot cramps but today both my hands were cramping and
    Mustard spdidnt work drank apple cider viniger and sliced ginger
    Still didn’t work I true te sop and it worked in 2 minutes I’m 72
    And have ckd which probably caused this hands cramping, I’m keeping bars of soap with me from now on everywhere I go!

  8. kat

    I just started to get the hand cramps. Goodness it is so scary! I got the soap and walla.
    working, Thank you

  9. dap
    United Kingdom

    Wow it really does work, I was in severe cramp on my hands when I saw this cure.
    tried it and felt it starting to work straight way, I suffer with leg cramps also, so the soap is going under my bed. thank you

  10. Jo

    Just found your website by chance looking for finger/hand cramp remedy (my fingers are locked as I write this). Fascinating to read all the comments regarding soap. Just about to put it to the test. The only soap I tend to use is Imperial Leather, popular in the UK. Here goes. I will get back to you soon.

    In the meantime,many thanks for this tip.


  11. Maggie
    Bournemouth GB

    First time reading anything by you. I feel excited and hopeful that I can do something to help myself with the excruciating pain of front ankle and finger and thumb cramps -sometimes travelling up the inside of my arm. I shall be out buying some soap bars, magnesium and potassium today.
    Thankyou for the info – I’ll let you know how I get on. Maggie.

  12. Marie D.

    I’ m going to try the soap for the cramp because every night I suffer with cramp. I can’t even sleep.

    • Paul
      BALI, Indonesia

      I found this webpage on Saturday (28 Feb)
      I had googled toe cramps because when I get them they really disturb the peacefulness and they hurt – they seem to come on in spates, i.e. not every day I thought about the bed soap and I tried it last night by putting 2 cakes of Dettol soap under the bottom sheet (but on top of the mattress protector). It worked. Neither my toes nor my legs came anywhere close to cramping, but they might not have anyway because cramping does not occur every night with me. The proof will be the ongoing results, specifically, if I have a toe or leg cramp while the soap is there

      This morning my legs felt more refreshed than normal. I didn’t find the soap distracted me at all because I was free to move around without fearing getting a cramp and you can ‘slide’ the soaps around a little with your foot fairly easily. And the soaps don’t slip out on to the floor either. (P.S. you must take the soap out of the packaging for this to work – just saying because I can imagine some people asking that question).

      I chose the Dettol soaps because the cake size is small-ish and I like that brand anyway. I am a bit of a nutter for anti-bacterial stuff and have been for many many years and I did not notice their scent at all. Dettol soaps are approx. 50c a cake here. They are about middle of the range price-wise. Some soaps are around 15c and other can be around $1.

      It’s making me think there might be other things one can sleep with to address physical issues If you have numb toes maybe there’s something you can put with your feet while you sleep. People use de-humidifiers and so on so there’s some credence in what I am thinking.

      I also have another bar of Dettol soap in my shoulder bag that goes everywhere with me (appropriate for riding motorbikes). Sometimes my hands will cramp up after about an hour on the mobike and I must try to relax them while I am riding along. The next time it happens I will pull over right away and hold the soap and see what happens.

      This is interesting and I can well under the skeptics being delighted by the notion of what soap can do and, to be honest, since reading the article 5 days ago, when I felt I was going to cramp up I “thought about soap” and I was OK !! True!

      Have a Great Day and happy soaping

  13. Pat
    Honolulu, HI

    Wow! Whoda thunk soap and/or pickle juice would eliminate cramps? When my first hand cramp occurred, I was at movie theatre so I couldn’t run out and buy a bar of soap. Maybe I’ll need to carry a portable sized bar in my purse in case it happens again. Has everyone who’s tried this remedy only used regular bar soap, e.g. Ivory, Irish Spring, etc. or does soap from, say, the Body Shop work?
    Thank you, everyone, for opening my eyes to a new non-drug-related remedy to cramps.

  14. Freya

    Absolutely fabulous. Thank you, thank you thank you. 3 minutes; problem with fingers solved.

  15. Harold Goodell
    Martinez Calif 9455

    It’s working !!

  16. Gordon H.

    I was skeptical about the soap and hand cramp remedy. But after suffering with finger and had cramps the past two days I thought, why not!
    I held a fresh bar of Irish Spring in each hand and 2 minutes later the cramps were gone!! Have not returned, so far so good, 18 minutes has gone by.

    • tammy
      Syracuse ny

      I agree 😊 the soap really really works I was have cramps in both hands and its working 😊

  17. William F.
    Drumheller Alberta

    I get leg cramps and hand cramps which I take Quinine Capsules for but I tried the bar of soap on the hands and it worked and am going to try on the legs. I would like to ease up on the Quinine if possible. Here is hoping.

  18. Robetta
    Lad.Vegad, Nv

    I don’t quite understand how putting the bar of soap at the bottom of your bed helps. I guess something in the soap, maybe the lye is beneficial. However being the soap is under the sheet, how is it it reaches your legs? Also, why not directly place the soap near your aching joints?

  19. Mandy

    Thanks! I started working at a factory where I use my hands a lot more than what I’m use to. I tried using a bar of soap on my hands and I couldn’t believe it worked!!!

  20. stanley

    I would wake up in the morning with my fist in a tight fist and had to force my hand to open, I began to place my hand under my pillow while I slept keeping my fingers straight and this worked for me. On occasions while working with my tools my fingers cramp up, so I will try the soap idea and see if it will work for me, it is cheaper than maybe trying medication.

  21. j.w.

    I must join the chorus of happy people who have tried the soap for cramping. We have been using a bar of soap at the foot of our bed for probably 5 years, since we saw it on People’s Pharmacy. My husband used to have to get out of bed he had such bad leg cramps. They went away with the soap solution and have never come back unless we are away from home and don’t have our bar of soap. I just got an idea! I have been having trouble with my feet hurting in most of my shoes. I am going to try putting chips of soap under the insole or in my sock and just see if it will help. I am excited to try it.

  22. spring542

    I suffered foot & calf cramps until I started using soap at the foot of my bed. It works like a miracle. I too was having problems with a finger on each hand which was bent into a locked position. I could pry them back up which was painful to do, but they wouldn’t stay unlocked. After being off statins for a couple of months, they went back to normal. I haven’t had any problem since with my fingers.

  23. Donnie

    I have a small flat piece from a bar of Grandma’s Lye Soap that I put in my sock when I get leg, foot or toe cramps. The cramps let up fairly soon.

  24. RJ

    Thanks for the tip I do have leg and hand cramps, anxious to try the soap. Pickle juice also works well (couple of tea spoons).

  25. Marilynn M.

    I believe the soap hold his hand in a position that keeps it relaxed enough to relieve the pain.
    I too have hand problems at night, but I have a different solution. I take a bunched up part of my blanket in my hand, just as you would the bar of soap. It relaxes my hand and the pain goes away. If I let go for some reason, the pain comes back, and I can feel the tension in my hand. Put it around the blanket bunch again, a voila! no more tension or pain. Try it. It works!

  26. JMH

    I believe you wonderful folks brought this to our attention a few years ago and I don’t remember ever reading a listener/reader post a negative comment after trying the soap. Don’t you think there should be a huge study done to find out what other positive possibilities are awaiting recognition on the topic of “soap”? We don’t know what we don’t know. By the way, my husband and I are great fans of you two and we are quite faithful to hearing your radio show, “The People’s Pharmacy” on Public Radio each week. Seven o’clock (am) where we are on Saturday morning. Great to stay relaxed with your show and a cup of coffee or tea while listening and appreciating the wonderful guests/experts you invite from our own and many other countries. Jean and Zeke
    Jean and Zeke,
    Thank you so very much for your kind words and loyal support. We are so grateful to all our radio listeners. Many public radio stations do not carry The People’s Pharmacy, so we are hopeful that visitors who read your comments will contact their own NPR stations and request the show. It is free to all NPR stations!
    For those who would like to listen but may not have access to the live show, there is always the free podcast. Here is a link to subscribe:

  27. JR

    My leg and hand cramps have ceased since I began taking Magneusium Phos. 30 C (a homeopathic medicine)every morning, letting a dose of small pellets dissolve under my tongue before I eat any food. I don’t know if we are allowed to mention the source, so I won’t. But I get it online.

  28. LW

    I had my fingers lock up for years to the point I had to manually straighten them out bringing tears to my eyes. I’m a flower gardener and also a landscape painter so repeatedly used my hands. I learned to sleep with one under the edge of my pillow to keep it straightened out, take Magnesium supplements and put soap under my sheets/pillow. No more cramps.

  29. Rick

    I concur 100% – my whole family including my father uses a bar of soap in bed. Since we started to do this about 3 to 4 years ago we no longer have cramps. Prior to the soap in bed trick we had tried everything.

  30. alxzba

    will appreciate receiving comments on the soap. Thanks

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