Installing a soap dish on a tile wall is a relatively straightforward home improvement project that can be completed in just a few steps. With the right tools and materials, you can securely mount a soap dish to hold bars of soap in your shower or bathtub surround.

What You’ll Need

Before starting this project, make sure you have the following supplies:

  • Soap dish
  • Tile drill bit (carbide tip)
  • Power drill
  • Silicone adhesive caulk
  • Caulk gun
  • Screws for mounting the soap dish
  • Pencil or marker
  • Safety glasses

Preparing the Tile Surface

Before installing the soap dish, you’ll need to prepare the tile surface:

  1. Clean the area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol to remove any soap scum, mildew or grime. This helps the soap dish adhere properly.
  2. Determine the exact position you want to mount the soap dish and use a pencil to lightly mark the locations for the screw holes. Make sure the marks are centered in the middle of the tiles.
  3. Put on safety glasses to protect your eyes.
  4. Using the carbide-tipped tile drill bit, drill pilot holes in the marked locations. Drill slowly and carefully to avoid cracking the tile. The depth of the holes should be slightly deeper than the screw anchors.
  5. Clean away any tile dust or debris from the holes.

Mounting the Soap Dish

Once your pilot holes are drilled, you can mount the soap dish:

  1. Apply a bead of silicone caulk to the back of the soap dish, around the edges and screw holes.
  2. Line up the soap dish and press it firmly onto the tile surface. The caulk should hold it temporarily in place.
  3. Insert the screw anchors into the drilled holes if they are not already attached to the soap dish.
  4. Secure the soap dish to the wall by driving the mounting screws through the backplate and into the anchors. Do not overtighten.
  5. Apply a secondary bead of caulk around the outer edge of the soap dish, sealing it to the tile. Smooth the caulk with your finger if needed.
  6. Allow the caulk to fully cure for at least 24 hours before using the soap dish. The tile may need extra drying time if the area is prone to moisture.

Tips for Installing a Soap Dish

  • For extra security, apply caulk on both the tile and the soap dish backplate before mounting.
  • Make sure to use silicone caulk that is designed for wet areas like showers and bathtubs.
  • Wipe away any excess caulk for a neat appearance.
  • If drilling into ceramic tile, go slowly to avoid cracking.
  • For larger or heavier soap dishes, use more than two screws to disperse weight.
  • Make sure the soap dish has weep holes so water doesn’t pool underneath.

Installing a simple soap dish takes minimal time and effort, but it provides a handy spot to store soap in the shower while preventing messy pools of liquid soap. Following these instructions carefully will ensure your soap dish is sturdy and water-tight. Check it periodically for any caulk cracks or loose screws. With proper installation, your soap dish should serve you well for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Installing Soap Dishes on Tile Walls

What type of drill bit should be used on tile?

It’s best to use a carbide-tipped drill bit made specifically for drilling into ceramic tile. This prevents the tile from cracking or chipping during the drilling process.

What kind of caulk works best?

A siliconized acrylic caulk designed for wet areas is ideal. It has water-resistant properties while still having some flexibility. Avoid latex caulks, which can crack over time.

How do I remove old soap dish adhesive from tiles?

Use a plastic scraper or putty knife to gently remove the bulk of the old caulk. Then clean the area with rubbing alcohol or tile cleaner to remove residue. Be careful not to damage the grout.

Should the soap dish match the other hardware?

Matching your soap dish to the faucets and other accessories in the bathroom can provide a coordinated look. However, it’s not mandatory – pick a style you like!

Where should the soap dish be positioned in the shower?

Install it about chest high or within comfortable reach. Position it close to the faucet, but not directly under the water flow or where you rest your hands.

How do I drill into tile without cracking it?

Use a carbide drill bit at a low speed while applying gentle, even pressure. Let the bit do the work. Sudden hard pressure or high speeds can cause cracks. Practice on a spare tile first.

What should I use to seal around the soap dish?

A flexible silicone caulk is ideal for filling any gaps and waterproofing around the soap dish edges. Avoid latex caulk, which can get moldy.

How long does tile caulk need to cure before using shower?

Read the caulk label, but plan on at least 24 hours of cure time before exposing it to water. Longer is better to allow it to fully set up.

How can I make my soap dish more secure?

After installing with caulk and screws, you can apply a second layer of caulk around the outer edges. Using more than two screws can also help disperse weight.


Installing a soap dish on a tile wall expands your options for conveniently storing soap in the shower or bathtub area. While it may seem intimidating, it’s a relatively easy DIY project with the right tools and preparation. Following the techniques for proper drilling, mounting, and waterproofing, your new soap dish should serve you well for years before needing replacement. Just take care to position it appropriately and check periodically for any loose screws or deteriorating caulk sealant.