a bar of soap at the foot of the bed

One of the most unusual home remedies on our Web site is soap for leg cramps. We first heard about the “soap under the sheets” 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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  1. claire
    Ellenwood Ga

    I fell down a flight of stairs in 1993 – have had PT, Chiropractic, Med therapy, Bio feedback- and am now pain free for the first time after using the soap method for about 3 weeks. I am passing on the info to everyone I know with pain. I want to know why it works

  2. Bella

    Does soap help with chronic Osteo Arthritis pain in neck,shoulders & upper arms. I have tried everything but do not want to go the narcotic route… Let me know if soap will help, as I am at a point that I will try anything. Bella

  3. teresa

    We found this article in a newspaper. Soap helps with pain; why is a mystery. This article stayed on a table for weeks. Last night I decided what the check. I opened the box and place the bar of soap at the foot of the bed. I normally rub aspercream on my legs from hip area all the way down to my foot before I go to bed on both sides. Sometimes I don’t use the cream because my legs feel ok. It’s not cramps, but it’s an uncomfortable feeling. But I’ll wake up having to rub the cream on my legs. I didn’t need to get up to do this last night. If this is because of the bar of soap, I don’t know. I told my boyfriend about it, so he’s placed a bar of soap under his sheet. He has back problems and he rubs causation every night. To be continued.

  4. Annette

    I am a skeptic by nature but I gave in and tried putting a bar of soap in my bed. To my amazement, the night time pain in my arthritic fingers has disappeared and
    my leg cramps have stopped. It is a blessing to not awaken every night with pain in my fingers. By the way I use Dove soap in my home but I don’t believe the brand matters.

  5. Tiza

    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!

  6. LSR

    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!!!

  7. GW

    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.

  8. jgf

    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 Pharmacy.com 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.

  9. dk

    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!

  10. Tiza

    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.

  11. Jm

    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 on…so 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 calf..it 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 INSTANTLY…it really DID…best thing EVER…I almost most wanted to kiss the soap and say “I DO”….;-)

  12. anon

    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 !

  13. Laura B.

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

  14. VP

    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.

  15. Deegee

    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?

  16. Olive

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

  17. Dinah

    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.

  18. Vicki

    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.

  19. Sean t.

    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

  20. cindy o.

    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.

  21. Sharyn

    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 !

  22. Jennie

    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!

  23. annie

    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.

  24. Tiza

    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.

  25. Bethany

    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!?!?

  26. Kyle S.

    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!!!

  27. W.U.G.

    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.

  28. taj

    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

  29. Tiza

    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.

  30. sc

    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.

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