bars of soap

Q. You folks are ridiculous, superstitious and ignorant. How can you recommend a bar of soap under the bottom sheet for leg cramps?

It’s just plain dumb. Please spare us such silliness.

A. We agree that putting a bar of soap under the bottom sheet sounds silly. But though we can’t explain how it might work, we assure you that many people have found it helpful.

Testimonials are no substitute for scientific study, but soap is inexpensive and doesn’t usually have dangerous side effects. Here is what one reader says:

“I hesitated to try the bar of soap for my leg cramps, but finally I decided to give it a try. I did not tell anyone, because I just knew it wouldn’t work. Surprise! It worked!

Then one night it didn’t, but the next morning I discovered the bar had slipped down off the side of the bed without my knowing. This sort of proved to me that it wasn’t all in my head.

At home I use regular Irish Spring, and by the time the bar in the shower needs replacing, I take the bar that’s been in the bed, move it to the shower and put a new bar in the bed. When I’m traveling I find that the small hotel soap bars also work.

I’ve even gotten up the nerve to tell other people about it.”

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  1. Janet

    I thought it was crazy too…but hey, I was in such severe pain…I’d try anything. My elbow was cramping. I could no longer bend my arm without pain or lift a glass of water to my mouth. I was trying topical patches, creams and sprays to no avail. My mom suggested ivory soap. Ok. So, I placed a bar under my pillow.

    Within FIVE days…the pain is GONE… and I mean G O N E. After weeks of severe pain… now.. nothing. In addition, the bunion/very painful bump on the side of my bug toe…which has been there for years.. is getting smaller and doesn’t hurt. And.. when I walk down the steps in the morning, my ankles and legs are no longer cramped and stiff. What IS THIS about? I have no idea. But..the soap is staying.

  2. HDR

    I had my leg calves hurting me for 2 or 3 years. Dr evaluated me… could find nothing wrong. Dr suggested physical therapy = tried it.. all I gained was proper way to stretch my legs.
    In the night I would wake up with calves aching & taut, like I had been walking uphill.
    Driving was a pain also because I would use Aspercreme & lots of Biofreeze rub ons.
    Discovered the soap theory online… tried it = haven’t had one problem with my legs in the last 5 months.
    My brother-in-law plays golf everyday…. has charlie horse cramps nightly… told him about the soap about 3 months ago. He didn’t try it for awhile… but when he did = immediate results.
    Don’t know how it works but is amazing to people like me that even the Doctors couldn’t help.

  3. alh

    When I first heard of soap and aches, I thought my cousin was stupid. I have constant severe pain in my legs, hips, and ankles. I used to take aspirin on a regular basis, and was laid up for a while. I got so fed up with the pain, that I took a dumb bar of soap, stuck it in my sheets and went to sleep.
    The important part is where I said, I WENT TO SLEEP. Normally, I can’t because of the pain. Soap. Ache. dumb idea, right?
    WRONG! I don’t know how it works. I just know it does. No more aspirin. And my sheets smell so nice, too.

  4. Deanna

    Some remedies cannot be explained…. but, they work and when they do… just be thankful. Recently, I was getting ready to go on vacation when my left bunion region of my foot became very painful. I tried using a topical cream, heat, etc. Nothing relieved the pain. Then, I remembered my husband telling me about the “bar of soap” remedy. Got a bar of the “hotel” soap, put it in the sock on the affected foot…..pain GONE!!! Can’t explain…just lovin’ it.

  5. MTS

    I am the culprit for this “remedy” being circulated. I made up and wrote this disinformation as a prank on Mosaic in 1993. Who knew that my early ‘net based hoax would become a world wide “remedy”? Classic LOL. Makes an old lady feel as though she has left a silly mark on the www.

  6. NC

    My husband and I have been using Ivory soap under the fitted sheet for a year now. He has leg cramps and I have RLS. Believe it or not, we first heard about this from his cardiologist, who has many patients that told him about it. He can’t tell us why it works, but his attitude is, why not try it.
    It is interesting to read the comments about how it is not just Ivory that works. That makes a little more sense that it has more to do with the ingredients in soap rather than in just one particular brand. We had been taking our soap with us when we travel, now we will try using the hotel brand. Great idea about changing the bars when you run out in the shower. I do feel they lose their effectiveness after a while.
    For those Doubting Thomas’, you’ll never know unless you try!

  7. Jules

    I too suffer from charley horses and am constantly at the Dr’s having blood tests to rule out things. First off, my potassium, calcium, and my CPK muscle enzymes are normal. I do have an elevated WBC (white blood cells) to show infection somewhere. I also have LBC (low blood cells) for iron, which I have been like that since I was a teen.
    So now they are checking at least B12 and some others that I don’t recall. Anyhow, not sure why I am having them just yet. But a friend of mine told me about the bar of soap. So two nights after having a massive charley horse that I was screaming bloody murder and woke up my family at 6am, I decided to try the soap that night. I took a bar of Irish Spring and wrapped it with a bandanna, so at least one side of the bar (curved) only has 1 layer of the bandanna. So I tied it above my right ankle where the pain was and went to bed. No charley horse :)
    Then last night I did the same thing, no charley horse above my right ankle, however I did get one in my left calf. So I took it off and tied it to my calf this morning at 3am and went back to bed until 6, with no charley horse. So far this bar of soap is working and I plan on doing this every night until I find out what the hell is causing them to happen. Hope it has nothing to do with my bladder, which now I have overactive bladder that has traces of infection in my urine and I’m only 37. Well, good luck to everyone.

  8. DB

    I haven’t tried the soap in the bed yet; just heard about it. But I wanted to give a suggestion to the folks who have RLS and can’t get relief. I have found that I have to carefully balance my potassium intake and calcium intake. Too much potassium and the RLS starts. Too much calcium and the leg cramps start. Or is it vice-versa?? Anyway, another thing that helps for RLS is to put your legs up, the higher the better. Lie on the couch and put your legs up on the back of the couch. You may find you can sleep in that unlikely position.

  9. andyy

    I know it sounds crazy, but whenever I stretched in the morning, I’d get awful leg cramps. My wife heard about soap in the bed and we tried it. I works GREAT! Haven’t had a cramp in months. Try it, you’ll like it.

  10. loulu

    I thought that placing a bar of soap in bed was the craziest thing I have ever heard!!! BUT one night while having a severe charlie horse i hopped to the bathroom found a huge bar of soap and put in my bed. I couldn’t believe it worked!!!! How does it work is my question. Does anyone know?

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