hotel toiletries including soap

Video Reveals What Happens to Half-Used Hotel Soap Bars (Spoiler—They Don’t Go in the Trash)

The world we live in today can be very wasteful. Food waste is a huge issue, and single-use plastics are polluting both land and sea. If you have ever stayed in a hotel, you might have appreciated the little shampoos and soap bars they provide. But have you ever wondered what happens to the leftover hotel soap bar when you leave? You might assume they’re just wastefully tossed in the garbage. Surprisingly, it may not be as bad as you think.


Leftover hotel soap bars

Every time you check into a hotel or bed and breakfast, there is a neat little hygiene package waiting for you in your room. If you’re lucky, fresh bars of soap, unopened bottles of shampoo, and maybe even a hand cream. Have you ever thought about the leftover products you don’t use? Sure, some people like to take the products home with them. But others leave them behind with the possibility of being thrown away.

Hotels donate their used bars of soap to a Non Profit organization called Clean the World
Image credit: Pixabay

However, some larger hotel chains do something remarkably unexpected with their leftover hotel soap bars. Instead of throwing them away to fill up the landfills, they get donated. Yes, that’s right. Hotels like the Disney resorts, Hilton, Mariott, and Bay Western, have teamed up with a non-profit organization called Clean the World. They collect used bars of soap from over 8,100+ hotel and resort partners.


The recycling process

How do they do it? Housekeeping will enter your room when you leave, and they take the used hotel soap bars to a Clean the World recycling depot. There, the bars of soap are cleaned through a specific process. After this, they are sent off for sanitary approval by SGS, a Florida-based company testing facility. There they confirm that all pathogens have been removed before the soap is distributed for donation.

The recycling process of the used hotel soap bars
Image credit: YouTube / Clean the World

The hotel soap bars are not redistributed as is. They are ground down and melted into entirely new bars. Then, they are put into fresh packaging, ready for distribution. Each product they donate has been given a “clean bill of health” as the Clean the World website says. 


The importance of recycling hotel soap bars

Clean the World is not limited to recycling leftover hotel soap bars. They also take shampoo and conditioner bottles from the hotels. This also means that they prevent a lot of waste from reaching landfills. “Worldwide, we actually recycle over 60 million kilograms or so that are diverted from the landfill,” said Pierre Daigneault, the executive director of Clean the World Canada.

The hotel soap bars are recycled into new bars of soap
Image credit Pexels

Before Clean the World existed, hotels and resorts had no other option but to throw them away. But now, there is a method to save the madness of pollution. “It’s a matter of [importance] the hotel to know about this program,” says Daigneault. “Once they know about it, for them it makes sense, considering the fact that the only other solution existing is to throw those soap and bottles into landfill.”


The recycled soap is redistributed

The recycled soap is redistributed out to the world. Clean the World will send it to the countries where the people are in need. “Once the soap is actually recycled it is distributed through different channels around the world, different countries around the world,” said Daigneault. “We gave over seven million bars of soap in 2017, to more than 100 countries,” he adds. “In some countries, soap is a lifesaving product.”


Not only do they donate the soap to those in need, but they have educational programs aimed to teach people how to use soap appropriately and how it can benefit them. “We bring a program to teach them the best hygiene practices,” says Daigneault. “So we give the soap but we also teach them what to do with it … We have people go on the ground that goes into schools and teach the best hygiene practice to the children in the schools.”

Keep Reading: Scientists Create Cement Entirely Out of Waste Material



  1. Viral Video Reveals What Happens to Half-Used Hotel Soap Bars.Brightly. Angelica Pizza. April 18, 2022.
  2. ‘Wasted’: Have you ever wondered what happens to your half-used bar of hotel soap?”​ CBC. February 09, 2018.