Growing Greener: Best Natural Liquid Hand Soap?

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Welcome back to my Growing Greener feature where I’m providing frugal ways to lead a greener life, one step at a time.

I have researched and tried out many products in my effort to live a greener life as inexpensively as possible, so I’ll be sharing product recommendations with you each week. The first category I would like to cover is liquid hand soap.

Being a stay at home mama, I am washing my hands CONSTANTLY throughout the day. Those hands are then getting sucked on by Baby, preparing his food, handling his precious little body, as well as all of the things he constantly puts in his mouth, so it’s very important to me to not have my hands coated in chemicals and toxins.

As I’ve posted about before, avoiding fragrance is a must follow rule for me when selecting a natural product. WHY? There can be hundreds of chemicals involved in making up a single fragrance mixture, and those chemicals do not have to be listed on product labels. They can all fall under the single label of “fragrance”. Fragrance can contain neurotoxins and it is among one of the top allergens ever. Hence, all of the products I recommend will be fragrance free, unless they are scented naturally with essential oils.

If you want a high quality, natural liquid hand soap and you don’t mind spending extra money for it:
Try Olivia Care Liquid Hand Soap, Mandarine, 18.5-Ounce Bottle (Pack of 3). A pack of three 18.5 oz bottles costs $24.20 on Amazon. It lathers well and really softens your skin. It’s made with luscious ingredients like Aloe Vera, Olive Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sage, Rosemary, Chamomile, and Tea Tree Oil. It’s in an attractive bottle, and it feels like a nice little luxury item.

If you are looking for the best deal for a natural liquid hand soap:
Try Seventh Generation Natural Hand Wash in either Fresh Citrus (scented with essential oils and botanical extracts) or Just Clean Unscented. A 12 oz bottle is only $2.99 on www.drugstore.com. This is the hand soap that I currently have next to every sink in our house. As the ad on drugstore.com says, the soap is:
Natural, plant-derived cleaners
Aloe creates rich, foamy lather
No triclosan, no dyes
No synthetic fragrances
Biodegradable
Food grade preservatives
Hypoallergenic
Dermatologist Tested
Not tested on animals and contains no animal ingredients.

I have to admit that this soap is slightly drying, but considering the cost, convenience, and all natural ingredients, it’s still worth it to me.

If you’re looking for the cheapest natural option and you’re up for some fun:
Make your own liquid hand soap! This sounds relatively easy, very safe, and super inexpensive – about $1.78 for 64 oz! This would also be a very fun project to taken on with your little ones. I’m looking forward to trying this myself. Check out this post on The Green Mom Review for instructions.

Finally, you might be wondering why I haven’t recommended any antibacterial soaps. Here are two major reasons:
1. Antibacterial soap helps to create super bacteria that are resistant to the methods we currently use to combat them.
2. Chemicals in antibacterial soap such as triclosan and triclocarban are being found in our water, fish, and breastmilk. Scary!

What are your favorite natural liquid hand soaps? Please let me know in the Comments section below!
Green Heart (And the Green Grass Grows All Around, All Around)

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 shelley March 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

hi there!
great piece, i have been looking at organic products over the past few months so i found this piece very informative… during my “wellness makeover” green living came into play and will become part of my site too, so thanks for the info!

so glad you took the 31 day challenge with me and hope you will be continuing on with me to review on thursdays starting on 3/31!

*waving,
shelley :)
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2 Jessica @ Cloth diapering mama March 24, 2011 at 4:41 pm

trader joes next to godliness has some great hand soap with only essential oils used for “fragrance”…it really stinks when you purchase something like burts bees and then you see “fragrance” as the last addition to ingredients.

and Natural Organic and Edible skin care…have used these for YEARS!!! here’s the link:
http://www.noecosmetics.com/our-philosophy.html
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3 I Thought I Knew Mama March 24, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Thank you so much for bringing up this product! I used to buy Next to Godliness all the time, but I had forgotten about it since we no longer have a Trader Joe’s right by our house!

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4 Jessica @ Cloth diapering mama March 25, 2011 at 1:16 am

Also, the packaging is supposedly biodegradable…but honestly Trader Joe’s over-packages everything…its like a plastic nightmare in there!!!!! So I’m looking for alternatives to pump soap and I’m looking for lotion in a glass container…I think I’ll be looking till the cows come home…or paying and arm and a leg!

***rant over….*** lol
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5 Lauren March 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Did you ever try any of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps? A while back, I was looking for a safe, natural soap and went on Skin Deep/Cosmetics Safety Database (I LOVE that site) and saw that Dr. Bronner’s had just about the safest ratings as far as toxicities go. I use the baby mild (unscented) and love the peppermint (I use it in a household cleaner recipe that I use) and orange too. They’re scented only with essential oils like all the other soaps that were mentioned. The only issue is that it is pretty thin in consistency so it tends to clog up a soap pump from time to time. Sun & Earth makes a good, natural hand soap too that is pretty cheap. I haven’t tried the Olivia Care but after reading about it, I want to give that a try.

Too bad you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. I’m sure you miss it. We’re moving in a couple of weeks and I’m so happy I’ll be a few miles closer to it…love that place!

That baby of yours is TOO cute and he is one lucky little guy to have you as his mama. xo

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6 I Thought I Knew Mama March 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Great recommendations, Lauren! I use Dr. Bronner’s mild soap as my body wash and sometimes face wash, and I’m definitely planning on talking about it in another post soon!

Good to know about Sun & Earth! I like their dishwasher detergent.

xo
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7 Brenna @ Almost All The Truth March 26, 2011 at 2:25 am

I love Dr. Bronner’s too, but I am always on the quest for something else. I just like the variety. ;) It works well and I like that I can use it to make homemade cleaners too. I buy either the giant bottles or when I can, refill them in the bulk section. Liquid hand soap is a tricky one. So many companies that make other great personal care products ignore this one.
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8 Michelle April 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

We swear by Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap at my house. It’s very concentrated, so a little goes a long way, and you can use it for all of your cleaning needs – you can even brush your teeth with it. It’s also fair trade, so I feel good knowing that I’m using a natural organic product, and helping promote fair trade at the same time.

Peace. ;)
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9 Bob Lipply@safety harbor realtor September 19, 2011 at 2:03 am

I am so surprised with your post especially about the antibacterial soap. Is that true? I like using antibac to remove bacteria of course but after reading this, don’t know :) Thanks for the info!

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10 pam November 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I’m on the hunt for a good natural hand soap. My concern with a lot of the items listed here is that they are water based and therefore must use a preservative in order to prevent mold or bacteria from growing. We use Dr. Bronner’s, (also contains water) homemade soap from a local store and Dolphin Organics for bathing, but have yet to find a good hand soap. Clean Well Orange Vanilla smells dreadful. I wonder how their other scents are. However, for the reader looking for an antibac soap, this one used thyme oil as a natural anti-bac. I like No Regrets from Better Life but they use phenoxyethanol. It’s all maddening!

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11 Tracy Wagner May 27, 2013 at 7:14 am

Hi, I was reading your reviews on Natural Liquid Hand Soaps. I currently use “Organic and Nature Natural Liquid Hand Soap”. I love this soap, it is easy for me to get at a local pharmacy, it is a good price too, 16 oz. for about $6.99, and the ingredients look good to me. However, I have heard a lot about green washing, and I am wondering if this product is safe, I have tried to look it up on line but have not really seen any reviews on it. Do you know anything about it?
Thank you!
~Tracy (a Mom of two girls, ages 5 and 6)

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12 Maryann D. July 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

I try to buy natural hand soap as much as possible. We use soap a lot so I do not want harsh chemicals. I do like Seventh Generation Natural Hand Wash, they make great products.

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13 Hillary September 8, 2013 at 10:44 am

Hi, I am looking for natural liquid hand soaps as well as dish and bathing soaps too. My challenge has been two fold. Finding something that doesn’t have either palm oil in it – I won’t support destroying forest for an oil additive, or that doesn’t have Cocamidopropyl Betaine – which can be an irritant and a carcinogen under the right circumstances – as well as bad for the environment. Any suggestions? Thank you!

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14 Rosies Mom September 26, 2013 at 11:21 am

Trader Joe’s Next to Godliness changed their formula – there is now “fragrance” listed on the ingredients – it definitely has a different scent, and I think it might have synthetic fragrance in it now, because before the ingredient listing said “fragrance with essential oils” and they took the “essential oils” part off – and it definitely smells different. How disappointing! I’ll try some of the others listed here from now on.

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15 Charise Rohm Nulsen September 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Thank you so much for letting us know!!!

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16 Deb E October 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I’ve also tried Dr Bronner’s castile soap from Trader Joes. I like its peppermint scent. I tend to get a huge money saving container so it lasts a long time. I’d be interested in making my own though and must check out those instructions.

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