Washing your hands is such an ordinary thing, it’s hard to imagine obsessing over the best way to do it. But if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that hand washing is going to be part of our lives forever. Is that depressing? Well, not if you’re using non toxic hand soap options in all manner of invigorating smells and feels. We’ve rounded up some of the best eco-friendly hand soaps available today that can really clean your hands.
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We’re looking for organic hand soaps, made with safe (non toxic) ingredients, and are also zero waste (i.e. planet friendly). This means they are either soap bars that completely dissolve eventually, or they are liquid hand soaps that come in refillable containers that are made of biodegradable materials.
Hand Soap VS Hand Sanitizer
What’s better to use? Well, alcohol-based hand sanitizers work by killing all the germs on your hands. Whereas washing your hands with soap will remove all the germs from your hands.
That isn’t much difference from a practical standpoint, but here’s another point: Washing your hands will remove all kinds of germs from your hands. Whereas hand sanitizers cannot kill all types of germs (so the effectiveness is not the same). Sanitizers also cannot remove harmful chemicals such as pesticides and heavy metals, which soap usually can.
So, washing your hands with a good hand soap is always a better idea than just using a sanitizer. However, if you’re in a place with no soap/water, then please go ahead and use that eco-friendly hand sanitizer that you always carry around everywhere!;)
And you can also buy some very pretty ceramic soap dispensers to last you a lifetime!
How to Choose Non Toxic Hand Soap
The CDC says handwashing is an important way to “remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.” They recommend you wash your hands in a specific way to maximize germ destruction.
We generally tend to think of strong-smelling soaps as being more “effective” at killing the germs. But this isn’t really true. A lot of the time, ingredients in the hand soap that are responsible for the strong, ‘sanitized’ smell are the same ones responsible for health risks such as allergies and asthma, neurotoxicity and hormone disruption.
How can you determine what ingredients are in the product, and what effects the toxic ingredients may have on you? Well, that’s a difficult mission, especially since it isn’t a legal requirement for the manufacturer to disclose all product ingredients. But it can be made much easier by referring to the EWG VERIFIED™ list of liquid hand soaps, and learning which products are eco-friendly, organic and toxin-free. Or simply refer to the list below!
Hand Soap Brands That Are Safe For You & the Planet
Price: $7.95 (16 fl. oz.)
EWG VERIFIED™ | hypoallergenic | cruelty-free | vegan | recyclable bottle
ATTITUDE Super leaves natural hand soap smells divine (think earthy cardamom and refreshing orange), while also cleansing your hands. The plant-based formula contains moringa seed extracts, leaving your hands soft and hydrated.
Price: $6.99 (12 oz)
Dermatologist-tested | pH-balanced | hypoallergenic | Leaping Bunny
Aunt Fannie’s Hand Soap is made with plant-based ingredients, with scent made from 100% natural essential oils. They have hand soap refills as well, to help you save on plastic.
Price: $12.00 (8.5 fl. oz.)
EWG VERIFIED™ | Non-drying | Soy free, nut free, gluten free | certified organic oils | 85% local sourcing
This luxurious, moisture-rich Foaming Hand Soap has been made with organic vegetable oils and pure plant derived essential oils. It’s very gentle on the hands and provides excellent cleansing.
All of Be Green’s packaging (plastic/glass/metal) can be recycled for free at any TerraCycle® drop-off location.
Price: $43 (15.7 fl. oz.)
EWG VERIFIED™ | cruelty-free | vegan
This liquid hand soap comes with a soothing scent of neroli in a recyclable glass bottle. The soap has been formulated with murumuru butter, gentle surfactants, and responsibly sourced palm.
Beauty Counter has partnered with How2Recycle for labeling all their containers for appropriate recycling. They are constantly working on improving their ethical supply chain, with ambitious human rights and climate goals.
Price: $55.00 (33.8 fl oz) for the Concentrate
reusable | recyclable | gluten-free | biodegradable
The reviews for this foaming soap are amazing! Although Branch Basics’ products are somewhat confusing at first glance, you realize they’re super efficient and safe, and geared towards simplifying the process of cleaning and making it as cost-effective as possible. The Branch Basics Concentrate, for example, can make three bottles of foaming wash, apart from many other products in various combinations. How much simpler can it get?! Just pour water and The Concentrate into any refillable bottle and start using.
Price: $33.99 (32 oz.)
Biodegradable | refillable |
Price: $9.15 (8 fl. oz.)
vegan | certified fair trade | organic | post-consumer recycled packaging
Price: $18 (16 oz.)
Cruelty-free | vegan | gluten-free |biodegradable
Price: $8.99 (32 oz.)
Certified B-Corp | 97% plant derived ingredients | refillable | pouches recycled through TerraCycle
Price: $9.99 (8.5 fl. oz.)
Leaping Bunny and PETA Certified Vegan and Cruelty Free
Price: $9.15 (8 fl. oz.)
EWG VERIFIED™ | vegan | cruelty-free | gluten-free
Price: $6.00 (9.4 fl. oz.)
EWG VERIFIED™ | hypoallergenic | pediatrician-approved | cruelty-free | vegan
Price: $16.99 (8.3 fl. oz. pack of 3)
Hypoallergenic | Certified Cruelty-Free | vegan | gluten-free | biodegradable
Price: $18. (8.5 fl. oz.)
EWG VERIFIED™ | Gluten-free | cruelty-free | vegan
Price: $56.25 (32 oz.)
Cruelty-free | vegan | refillable
Price: $19.41 (8 oz.)
Cruelty-free | vegan | refillable
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NOTE: All brand photographs belong to the respective brands/businesses.