Soap ‘Tainers — colorful, vintage, NOS soap dishes that hide your soap

Every once in a while I pop over the website, because those folks always are digging up interesting vintage bathroom treasures from the deep dark recesses of California and other western state warehouses. Sure enough, right there to greet me on the homepage were these very happy New Old Stock (NOS) “Soap ‘Tainers” in a rainbow of happy midcentury pastel colors, as well as black, white and gray. John at deabath (which has been a longtime advertiser here) tells me, “We found two full cases and a part of another in a defunct warehouse in Fresno”.

These were made by Radson Engineering Corp., of Decatur, Illinois. John says that they are made from plastic. I think he told me they are pretty heavy duty, though (confirm if you want to buy one.) It’s great to see the box graphics — they give you a sense of their size, pretty big.

I actually talked to John on the phone about these. I think he told me that the soap sits on a little platform. You turn the rotor knobby thingie and the platform moves down to deliver the soap to you. When you are done washing your hands, the soap goes back on its platform and your knobbie it back up into its hiding place.

Yes, it all seems like a lot of work to keep your soap out in hiding. But, what a wonderful oddity to add to our archive.

And, you can add this woddity to your bathroom, if you move fast: I count a total of 26 Soap ‘Tainers currently available, in a variety of colors, they are $49 each.

Link: Soap ‘Tainers at 


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  1. says

    Obviously the predecessor to current soap dispensers in theory.

    At first I thought that turning the crank might grate the soap into the hand for easy usage. lol

    Pretty cool.

    I love how things just turn up from long forgotten warehouses. It always amazes me what treasures are lurking out there waiting to be discovered.

  2. hannah says

    I guess we need one, because heaven’s to Betsy – we wouldn’t want anyone seeing our used soap. 😉

    What would be awesome, is if someone here buys one (not me), and puts a video on YouTube showing how it works, with kitschy music in the background (like the Roller Coaster video). Go for it Pam!

  3. Karen says

    Funny! I just saw these last week and have one on order! I got a black one for my retro re-do. I can’t wait to get it!

      • CC in Virginia says

        When I first saw the picture, I thought it was the old-timey powder soap dispenser. Does anyone remember those? You turned the little handle and held your hand under it until you had a tiny little pile of powdered soap. It actually worked quite well and I swear I can still remember the smell of it.

        • Anna S. Bannana says

          Oh…I remember those from when I was very little ! I think it was the old diner “Grecos”, that had them, and a never ending towel loop dispenser. I also love the old “Genie Head”, soap dispensers, always with that stinky pink soap. Sadly, they usually dripped, or I would already have one somewhere in my house !

        • Chutti says


          We got one of those old boraxo powdered soap dispensers next to the utility sink. That stuff still smells the same. I forgot how it’s slightly abrasive and leaves your hands REALLY soft.

          I too thought this was a secret soap grinder. Which would likely be super messy. Not as messy as the old genie drippers, though.


          • CC in Virginia says

            Boraxo!!! Thank you, I couldn’t remember but that’s it! You’re right, it did leave your hands very soft.

  4. V. W. says

    I thought they were soap grinders too! My elementary school had those. You’d hold your hand under it, turn the crank, and out would come chalky powdered soap. I’d like one of those in my bathroom now, that stuff worked very well!
    I wonder if you can still buy those.

  5. hannah says

    I LOVED that powdered soap! Public places had it into the 80s I think. It DID leave your hands really soft, and I loved that stuff. <3

    It would be so much fun to have one of those. Thanks for listing the link, CC!!

  6. Lauryn says

    I love the wonderful locally made soaps I buy, so I’ve no need to hide them … but if I did, these would be an awfully pretty way to do it!! And that powdered soap is SO much better than the liquid hand soaps that are every where today. They are so harsh and so drying and so awful! More proof that the old fashioned way is so often the better way.

  7. Diane L says

    Here’s the sad part…I remember these in some of the old haunts I frequented when along with my folks when I was a child. Yes…we HAD to come staying at home. Think of all I would have missed. Grated soap.

  8. Jason says

    I took it to be that this held more than 1 bar of soap and you turned it to get a new bar out when needed??? I could see it in dorms or public bathrooms if it gives out a new bar when needed.

    As for the powdered soap dispensers – my experience with these was at Disney World – I loved the stuff. It did make your hands soft.

    I used to work there and I assume we used them because they were easier to clean up the drips – I don’t know. We had them until the early 2000s I believe. My understanding was that after Anthrax attacks and scares around the country they decided to remove them since it was a powder and they felt it could pose a risk.

  9. Karen says

    I received mine today. There’s a metal “claw” that holds the soap up inside the ‘tainer, turn the handle and the claw opens up to release the soap.

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