A soap holder is a shallow, open container or platform where a bar of soap may be placed to dry after use. Soap holder are usually located in or near a sink,shower, or bathtub. Most soap holder are made from waterproof materials such as plastic, ceramic, metal, or glass, though some are made from bamboo.
Elements in the design of a soap holder include safety, ventilation, cleanliness, placement,aesthetics, and cost. When a soap holder is part of a bath accessories set, coordinated group design may be utilized.
Because of their intended use in wet and potentially hazardous environments, most soap dishes are designed with safety in mind. Such features include unbreakable materials, non-slip surfaces, rounded edges, and secure installation elements (e.g., wall mount hardware, a suction cup, or non-skid feet). Depositing or retrieving a slippery bar of soap is facilitated by an open (or semi-open) sided design or by a shallow lip.
A bar of wet soap relies on ventilation to dry. A number of design elements may be used to increase ambient airflow around the soap, including vented surfaces or surfaces interspersed with bumps, ridges, or slats. Mechanical ventilation has not yet become a widespread design element in soap dishes.
Because of their association with hand washing and hygiene, soap dishes themselves are often the focus of cleanliness. To aid in cleanup, some self-draining soap dishes are designed to allow soapy residue to collect in a compartment below the raised bar of soap. Other such soap dishes funnel the soapy reside directly to the adjacent sink or bathtub, necessitating strategic placement of the soap dish.
Most soap dishes are standalone accessories whose placement is at the user's discretion, though some are a built-in feature of a sink, shower, or bathtub. Standalone soap dishes may be entirely portable or may include options for semi-permanent or permanent installation on a horizontal or vertical surface. Locating a soap dish outside the perimeter of a faucet's or showerhead's stream helps the soap to avoid excess erosion.