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Installing and Using a Soap Dish

Updated on June 7, 2013

You probably don’t think too much about a soap dish. It just sits there on a shelf in your shower holding your favorite bar of soap. A good soap dish helps prevent the soap scum from building up on the bottom side of the soap as it sits there during the 23 hours and 45 minutes each day that it is not being used. If you do not have a soap dish in your shower or if you just want another type of soap dish, here are some options as well as instructions on how to install one yourself.

There are many a soap dish to choose from.
There are many a soap dish to choose from.

Types of Soap Dish

There are several types of soap dish that you can choose from. The most common type is the type you can find at your local dollar store. These are usually just plastic soap dishes that you can set on a shelf in your shower. There is also the kind that you can attach to the wall with suction cups, but this just looks cheap and gaudy. A magnetic soap dish can attach to your shower wall and it holds the soap in place by placing a magnet inside the soap and then putting the soap in the dish, which is now magnetically attracted together. You can also get a soap dish that you need to install. This type of soap dish is permanent and attaches to the wall beneath the tile in your shower.

Installing Your Soap Dish

The first thing to remember when installing a soap dish is the location. Of course, it makes the most sense to install it in the shower. But where is the best place in the shower to put a soap dish? It really does matter unless you want to end up with a ball of soapy mush! You can help prevent this from happening by keeping your soap dish away from the direct line of water. This means that you should choose a location that is either about the same height or higher so the water does not hit the soap dish directly.

If you are installing your soap dish in a shower with ceramic tile, the first thing you have to do is scrape out the gout from around the tile where the soap dish is going to sit. You can find a special tool to help you do this. Either a grout saw or an awl will work  and both are sold at your local home improvement store. Then, using a hammer and a nail punch, put some divots in the tile from corner to corner in an X formation. Next, use a masonry bit and a drill to put holes in the tile. Be careful, though. Don’t drill deeper than the tile because you don’t want to put a bunch of holes in the wall behind it.

Once you have the holes drilled, crack the tile into pieces and remove the fragments from the wall. Then scrape off any fragments or mortar from the wall so there is a nice, clean surface to adhere to. Next, with a putty knife, spread a coat of adhesive on the wall. While you’re at it, smear some of it on the back of the soap dish you are about to install as well.

Press the soap dish firmly in place in the spot where the tile used to be. Hold it firmly in place with moderate pressure for about ten minutes. If any of the adhesive squeezed out, clean it up with your fingertip while you are holding the soap dish in place. It will be easier to clean it at this time than if you wait until it dries.

Next, grab some masking tape and secure the soap dish in place by applying one long piece horizontally across it and another long piece vertically. After letting it set for 24 hours, remove the tape and apply grout around the tile. Give the grout about 12 hours to set and dry before using the shower.


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