How to Make a Soap Holder Out of a Bag of Onions




About: Longtime fan of instructables :D

Find out how to turn a bag of onions into an environmentally friendly soap holder net.

Greetings all. This is my first i'ble, so please bear with me through my first attempt. Also, any suggestions for improvement would be appreciated.

This is not a very original project - the idea is actually pretty widespread in Japan. They sell these nylon mesh holders for bar soaps that usually are attached to a draw string. These are commonly found in public bathrooms in municipal parks and schools, where they are tied to sinks in an effort to keep bars of soap from getting dropped on the ground and lost, or to keep absent-minded citizens from walking off with them.

You may have seen something similar to this already, however, I did a search and couldn't find an instructable that outlines how to make one of these simple household devices so I decided it would be worthwhile to add the idea to the community. Also, the approach of repurposing packaging to another function is something that I think makes this project just a little bit unique.

So what are the benefits of making one of these little guys?
+Lower cost of bar soap as compared to liquid soap
+Reduction of plastic that would be diverted to landfill from packaging, dispensers, refills, onion bags, etc.
+Soap dries while hanging, resulting in a longer functional life per bar (i.e. No soggy soapy goop at the bottom of a soap dish to deal with! Less bacteria and mold growing in the dish leads to more hygienic soap)
+Those little tabs and chips of old soap bars that you've been avoiding throwing out now have a home, and can finally exercise their full potential
+Provides friction for gripping the soap bar, thus avoiding embarrassing memories of gym class
+Exfoliates the skin rather nicely and generates a nice lather
+Effectively free and indefinitely reusable (comes with onions!)
+Easy construction

- Depending on your particular aesthetic style, could be relatively unattractive

Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools

All items needed for this project can be found around the house. What you will need:

1) Bag of Onions
The town I currently am staying in has an onion producing industry, so naturally I opted for onions. Basically you want any type of PP or nylon vegetable bag large enough to hold a bar of soap. You can often find them in different colors: red or orange for onions, green for avocado, white for garlic, etc, etc.

Alternatively, you could use a pair of nylon hose, but then you'd lose the quick drying benefit of the PP mesh bag.

2) Bar of Soap
Any type of bar soap will work just fine. (Yes, even Bacon Soap...)

3) Scissors (not pictured)
In case you need to cut open the bag.

4) Bic Lighter (optional)

5)Nylon cord (optional)

Step 2: Eat Onions, Procure Bag

Sounds simple enough, right? Well... right.

Snip open the bag of onions from the top, not from the bottom. Depending on the type of mesh bag that you got with your veg, there should be an end that is open and sealed with either a label, a knot, or a metal/plastic ring. Either untie the knot or snip open the bag beneath the closure.

Now, empty the bag of onions and proceed to prepare them as you normally would

The bottom of the bag should be sealed already, usually either by melting or being knit closed. If the bottom has a metal ring closure (or isn't sealed at all) than you'll want to cut the ring out to prevent rust. and then seal the bottom by either tying it off or melting it shut with a bic lighter.

You now have a mesh bag perfect for holding, amongst numerous other things, bar soap!

NOTE: If the melted nub at the bottom of the bag is a bit sharp (the one pictured is a bit scratchy) then you can gently melt down the corners by passing a lighter near the edge. Be careful though, as the flame can easily melt a hole through the net.

Step 3: Find Soap, Insert Into Bag

This one is pretty self explanatory, but... here goes.

By now you should have a mesh bag, open on one end and sealed on the other, and a bar of your favorite soap.

Open the unsealed end of your mesh bag, and then insert the soap lengthwise. Why lengthwise? Personal preference. I also think that it helps water run off the bar easier, resulting in faster drying times, and you don't want the mesh to be stretched too tightly against the surface of the soap, otherwise it will cut into it.

For best results the mesh should be able to sit loosely across the surface of the soap where it can shave off bits of dry soap, producing a thicker lather.

Step 4: Tie Off the Bag

 Now, taking soap-in-bag in hand, tie a simple overhand knot in the bag near the end with the soap to seal it into the end of the bag. The knot doesn't have to be too tight, as you will want to be able to open it again if you are going to reuse the soap net. With that, the basic functional soap net is finished!

You can mod it out by tying a loop knot at the end of the bag for hanging. If you want to add some length to your soap holder, you can then tie a loop of nylon cord onto the end of it (not pictured).

Step 5: Implementation

Using your new soap holder is simple enough.

Use the bar of soap as you would normally, either by the kitchen/bathroom sink or in the shower. Note that the soap net helps to build lather by shaving dry soap into the mesh. In addition it will exfoliate dead skin much in the same way that bathing poufs sold for use with shower gels do (the netting material is exactly the same type, and you could even make a bath pouf out of onion bags, although that would be a whole different i'ble)

Be sure to rinse off all the remaining suds from the bar of soap and its net under water. Since the mesh is plastic it won't absorb any water and water won't pool water around the bar the same way soap dishes do. Rinsing the net helps to remove any dirt/oil and reduce bacteria left over from washing.

Find a hook or nail over your sink to hang the soap net from. Hanging the soap in the mesh will allow air to flow around the bar, meaning that it won't saturate with water and will remain dry and harden for the next use. In addition, the dry surface will help to impede the growth of bacteria and mold. If well rinsed, there should be little soap scum or residue to clean up afterwards as well.

That's it for this instructable! If you liked it or have any suggestions please let me know in the comments below!



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18 Discussions

hakuna matata

3 years ago

I did it see I told you I was doing it

15, 21:02.jpg

4 years ago on Introduction

Thanks to this instructable, I put my soap scraps in onion bag. The lather was great, and the bag acted like an scrub brush. I'm glad that I can use my scraps without melting and forming soap bars.

Most of the middle class families will go after bar soaps than liquid soaps. But due to weather conditions or any personal reasons, some may not be able to keep their soap clean and hygienic. With the help of soap holders like this, there will be no more spreading of bacteria from melted soap. Also you can ensure that it will be dry and clean always.  


5 years ago on Step 5

Cool. And so simple! I have a bunch of those small hotel soap bars, this would be a good way to hold three or four in the net bag to use at once.


6 years ago on Introduction

Great idea!

I melted a hole in the plastic label and added a left-over hook from a broken clothing hanger. Perfect in my shower.

soap holder.jpg

Good idea... I do that with my left over soap pieces, I put them in a mesh bag. I don't find it scratchy one bit, in fact it makes the soap quite lathered! :)


Good way to reuse the soap, but looks kinda painful and scratchy (fromexperience of handling these types of bags).
It would be even worse for me having eczema as the plastic would pulloff my scabs... not good.

1 reply

You could always find something gentler on the skin. For most people, I suppose women, more than men, getting rid of dead skin cells is a good thing. It makes your skin have a smooth. polished, younger look.
Very good idea. Get it really wet and soapy first. The do it GENTLY, and then soon you will not have to even use body lotion, unless you want to. I know this from experience.  Lets see how it works out. Give  some ideas on different bags. Just don't use it on you face and some other areas on the body.  Bluestockings


Well, now how nifty! As we try to become greener and greener, that looks like a perfect idea. This is really good for shower or bath.

 Thank you I will try it very soon. Bluestockings

1 reply

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

You would think so, but it hardly scratches at all. If you can get your hands on a plastic sleeve like the one pictured (diamond-shaped lattice holes) it's the same type of material as a bathing pouf. Also, the soap lubricates the plastic so at most you'll just scrape off some dead surface skin cells.

Jeremy B

9 years ago on Introduction

 "Eat Onions, procure bag" I don't know why this line makes me giggle so. 


9 years ago on Introduction

I use those when i go camping, but i usually used a sock.


9 years ago on Introduction

Very ingenious.

They should start making onion bags with
some of the fancy nylon netting.

For our sake.


9 years ago on Introduction

Next time I shop for produce, I'll look for a good textured netbag.  Not too rough!  Good idea, I think this may be whatthose fancy poufs are made of anyway...

1 reply

Yeah same stuff, the poufs are made of one long segment of it that canbe unwound and used to hang shampoo bottles in the shower.