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Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for a while or you’re new to this and just felt a suspicious wave of nausea (morning sickness, perhaps?), there are lots of reasons why you might want to know — right now — if you’re pregnant.
You head to the bathroom medicine cabinet only to realize you used your last home pregnancy test last month.
You’ve heard rumors that store-bought tests aren’t necessary, though, and that you can test using common household products. You turn to Dr. Google and find lots of websites claiming you can use regular soap to see if you’re pregnant — score!
But does this cheap alternative to standard home pregnancy tests — which also saves you a trip to the store — sound too good to be true? We think so, and we’ll tell you why.
There’s some variation online, but essentially, the claim is that soap — either dish soap or bar soap — reacts with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), sometimes called the “pregnancy hormone.”
This may get you excited if you know how pregnancy and standard over-the-counter (OTC) at-home pregnancy tests work. Basically, after conception and once implantation occurs about 6 to 12 days later, your body starts producing hCG. Store-bought home pregnancy tests detect the hCG in your urine to return a result.
So learning (if these sites are to be trusted) that soap reacts with hCG is like finding a gold mine — literally, since pregnancy tests can cost upwards of $10 apiece at the store.
More on whether these sites should be trusted in a second. First, a brief how-to:
- Collect your first morning pee in a clean cup. Why first morning pee? One thing proponents of this method get right is that this urine is typically the most concentrated when it comes to hCG.
- Put soap in the cup with your pee. Some sources say to break off a small piece of bar soap, while others say to put in a few squirts of dish soap. Some recommend a particular ratio, like three times more pee than soap.
- Wait anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
- If there’s some sort of change, you’re pregnant. If there’s not… you have a cup of soapy pee.
As for the change indicating positive, some sources say the soap will become extra frothy and bubbly, while others say it will change to a greenish color. Most sites seem to indicate that regardless of the nature of the change, you’ll know it if you see it.
We scoured the scholarly journals. Questioned our OBs. Scrolled through online forums. Asked our pregnant and nonpregnant friends (and a few male partners) to mix soap with their pee.
Bottom line: There’s no research on the accuracy of homemade pregnancy tests using soap. (And for reference, there are many studies on the accuracy of store-bought home pregnancy tests, like this one and this one.)
In addition, there are some red flags.
For one thing, most websites touting this method don’t specify brand or type of soap to use. Soaps can vary tremendously. For example, regardless of hCG urine levels, your pee will probably turn blue dish soap green. And a foaming hand soap may very well become frothy on its own when you add something to it.
Further, there are anecdotal accounts of nonpregnant folks getting “positive” results.
There is no scientific backing for these homemade tests.
If you’re wondering if you’re pregnant — and you want answers right away — there are better options than soapy pee.
- If you haven’t yet missed your period, try an early result home pregnancy test. (Buy them online here.) These may indicate pregnancy up to 6 days before your missed period. If you get a negative result early, though, it’s not necessarily conclusive. Try again in 48 hours. If you’re pregnant, the test will turn positive once your body has enough hCG in it.
- The cost of these tests — not to mention the cost of gas if you’re making repeated trips to the drugstore — can add up, especially if you’ve been trying to conceive for a while. But don’t underestimate the power of the internet cheapie. For example, you can get 25-packs of a crowd favorite — Wondfo — for less than $10. (Buy them here.)
- In a rush to test today? Pro tip: Sort your Amazon results with Prime delivery day set to today. You may be able to get tests within a few hours without ever leaving your home.
- Head to your doctor’s office — or a local clinic — for a blood test. The hCG blood test can detect even lower amounts of the hormone than the OTC urine tests.
If you want to try some of the homemade pregnancy tests you find described on the internet to have a little fun, there’s probably no harm in it.
But take the soap pregnancy test results with a grain of salt. There’s no evidence backing claims that soap reacts with hCG — and in fact, there’s anecdotal evidence that it doesn’t.
Use a tried-and-true pregnancy testing method to get more accurate results, and — if you have the patience — wait until the day after your period is due to test for the most reliable answer to your question: Am I pregnant?