Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people wash their hands now more than ever. For zero-waste people, many had to deal with the discomfort of using non-zero-waste options in the face of the pandemic.
Many hand washes come in plastic bottles or jugs, which eventually get tossed in the trash and landfills, contributing to plastic waste.
We all know that plastics have a damaging effect on the environment. Reports reveal that a million birds and 100,000 sea animals die from consuming plastic waste in the ocean every year. In addition, plastics are also poisonous to sea animals and birds.
Thankfully, some brands are taking action to address the issue of plastics by offering zero-waste hand soap, free from plastic and equally non-toxic.
We have curated a list of some of the best zero-waste hand soaps for clean hands and a healthy home.
Related: If you’re looking specifically for eco-friendly hand sanitizers, check out our list of some best picks for clean hands with antibacterial properties to the fore.
Materials: Organic ingredients, including shea butter and olive oil
Type: Bar soap
Aspen Kay Naturals promises these bar soaps will leave your skin looking beautiful. With a wide selection of natural soap bards, from those made with turmeric through dead sea mud and other natural ingredients, these bar soaps are suitable for all skin types and can be used to wash your hands, body, and face. They are also ideal for men, women, and teens. The brand recommends using a draining soap dish to ensure your hand soap lasts longer.
Beyond its natural ingredients, this bar soap is very affordable. They also provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee if the soap doesn’t meet your expectations for any reason.
Also, there are 1000s of positive reviews indicating that this hand soap is perfect for skin issues.
Materials: Sustainable ingredients, including organic coconut oil and essential oils, compostable packaging
Type: Concentrate bar
Made with coconut oil and sweet essential oils, these concentrate bars leave your skin smooth, fresh, and clean. This hand wash doesn't leave your hands feeling dry.
Its ingredients are all ethically sourced, natural, cruelty-free, and sustainable. You can use these concentrated bar soaps in three easy steps: simply snap the bars into small pieces in a jar or container. Add some hot water and leave the concentrate bars to dissolve completely. Lastly, leave it to cool for a few minutes and then pour in soap bottles. Once diluted, Ethique promises that this hand soap can last as long as six months. These bar soaps also come in compostable cardboard packaging.
Ethique is a brand passionate about ridding the world of plastics while providing sustainable products that are both healthy for you and the planet.
The brand claims to have saved the planet from over 9 million plastic bottles. Their goal is to get 50 million plastic bottles off the earth by 2050. They also give out 20% of their profit to charities on a mission to protect the planet.
Materials: Plant-based ingredients, pure essential oils, plastic-free
Type: hand soap bar
These hand soap pods are a fine blend of 100% plant-based ingredients and essential oils. You can wash your hands and say goodbye to germs and dirt while protecting your health and that of the environment.
Each pod is synthetic-free and phthalate-free. It is also free of colorants or fragrances. They come packaged in backyard compostable bee pods. To make your plastic-free soap, all you need to do is fill your soap dispenser with some water, rip open the soap pod, and squeeze the hand soap into the water. Next, stir the mix, shake, and let it sit for about an hour. You can then squirt some soap, lather them on your hands and wash your hands clean. It also comes in a lemongrass scent that smells great.
ETEE is a sustainable brand with a mission to create plastic-free products that are eco-friendly and valuable to people worldwide. From ingredients to packaging, ETEE uses earth-friendly materials. They also offer a 90-day guarantee, which means you can return any product you're not happy with.
ETEE also partners with various organizations on a mission to create a more plastic-free world. You can also get your zero-waste face wash, sustainable dish soap, zero-waste dishwasher detergent, food wraps, and other personal care and cleaning products.
Materials: Natural extracts, recycled plastic bottles, recyclable packaging
Type: Liquid hand soap
Everyone’s liquid hand soap is gentle and effective and comes with a natural blend of botanical extracts and soothing organic herbs like moisturizing aloe vera.
You can keep your hands clean, healthy, and smelling fresh with its rejuvenating essential oil. To use, simply add them to your hands, lather for a few minutes, rinse and enjoy the natural scent of clean, moisturized hands.
This natural soap is paraben-free and free of synthetic fragrances and dyes. They are hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, meaning you can use this liquid soap even with sensitive skin. They also come in 100% recycled plastic bottles.
This US-based brand has been committed to zero-waste production with repurposing and reduction in mind. This goes from using natural ingredients to recyclable packaging. The brand claims to have diverted 90% of its waste from landfills. Their hand soap is cruelty-free, GMO-free, and EWG verified.
Materials: Plant-based cleansers, 100% recycled plastic, cruelty-free
Type: Foam soap
You can keep your hands super clean with foaming hand soap from Method. Made with plant-based cleansers, these hand soaps keep your hands fresh and leave them with a lemon-mint scent. This hand soap also contains foaming hand soap refills in pouches with a bottle made from 100% recycled plastic. They are also cruelty-free and paraben-free.
Method is a planet and people-oriented brand committed to making products that are eco-friendly and non-toxic. The brand has a soap factory that conserves energy and lowers its carbon footprint. The factory includes solar-tracking trees, wind turbines, green roofs, and so on. They are also platinum LEED and platinum TRUE certified.
Materials: Vegan ingredients, plastic-free, soy-free, gluten-free
Type: Hand soap tablets
If you prefer washing your hands with soap tablets, then this hand soap from Blueland might be just right for you. This soap produces 9oz of foam soap, leaving your hands clean. This zero-waste hand soap also leaves your hand with a pleasant scent. You can choose from different scents, including Iris Agave and Lavender Eucalyptus. These soap tablets come in compostable and plastic-free packaging.
Blueland claims to make products that are safe for humans and the environment. Their hand soap tablet is cruelty-free and free of paraben, phthalates, ammonia, chlorine bleach, and other harmful chemicals. They are also Leaping Bunny certified and Cradle to Cradle Certified.
Materials: Organic ingredients
Type: Bar soap
Made with natural extracts and essential oils, including coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil pomace, and aloe vera, these bar soaps give your hands a clean wash. The natural ingredients also give your skin a moisturized and healthy look, cleaning bacteria and viruses on your skin. You can use 3.5-ounce bar soap to make one gallon of liquid hand soap, allowing you to save money. You can also easily refill your plastic bottle or soap dispensers with liquid soap.
You can also add some drops of your favorite essential oils to give your soap your preferred scent.
These bar soaps are cost-effective, allowing you to save more. They are great for all skin types and are scented with effective oils that smell great. You can also refill them in a jar or container and reduce the use of plastics.
Materials: Natural ingredients, cruelty-free, palm oil-free
Type: Hand soap tablets
Thoughtfully formulated with lavender essential oil and natural ingredients like coconut oil and Brazilian purple clay, this zero-waste hand soap cleans and moisturizes your skin. The creamy lather it produces on your hands is just right for sensitive skin. It is palm oil-free, plastic, and paraben-free and contains no artificial colors or fragrances. You can also use these hand soap tablets on your face and body. The brand recommends using an upcycled soap dish to keep your soap dry and long-lasting.
Hand-made in the USA, these soap tablets from EcoGirlShop are entirely cruelty-free. The brand also offers zero-waste packaging, allowing you to choose between a 100% recyclable cardboard box or completely unpackaged. Yes, this brand can ship your hand soaps with no packaging at all.
Materials: Natural ingredients, 100% biodegradable, refill soap in a glass bottle
Type: liquid hand soap
These hand soaps from The Good Fill come in natural ingredients, including coconut oil, grapefruit essential oil, and so on. They are free of synthetic fragrances, paraben, soy, and gluten. They are also palm oil-free. This refill hand soap comes in a BPA-free returnable refill pouch. You have the option of choosing a pre-filled container or a returnable pouch. You can send your pouch back in the mail, and this brand will clean and refill them for the next customer.
The Good Fill is a zero-waste brand with a mission to provide sustainable alternatives to disposable items. Their pouch contains 93% less plastic than plastic bottles. Their packaging is also 100% biodegradable. Customers say this soap is gentle, effective, and comes with a pleasant scent.
Materials: Eco-friendly ingredients
Type: Liquid soap
Made with eco-friendly ingredients and natural fragrances, these liquid hand soaps give your hands a clean and soft feel. They contain no harsh chemicals like phthalates, phosphates, dyes, or synthetics.
They also contain essential oils and come in two scents. You can go for the soap containing lemon, Eucalyptus & Mint, lavender, and thyme, or go for the soap with an unscented-free and clear formula.
You can recycle your pouch by simply sending an email to them. The brand promises to send a prepaid return label that allows you to mail your pouches back for recycling.
Grove Collaborative is a Certified B Corporation committed to sustainability and non-toxicity. Their products are cruelty-free and eco-friendly. They also claim to ensure sustainability and safety throughout their supply chain.
Materials: Natural ingredients
Type: Liquid soap
Made with natural biodegradable ingredients, this hand wash leaves your skin fresh and clean without drying it up. Its natural ingredients wash away bacteria while leaving your skin moisturized. This sulfate-free hand soap is also paraben and cruelty-free. You can use this hand wash no matter your skin type. They come in two scents: Rosemary Mint Vanilla and Citrus lavender, which leaves your hands with a pleasant scent.
This hand wash from Plaine Products comes in refillable and returnable aluminum bottles. You can simply empty your aluminum bottles, place them in the box and return them for refill and reuse. You can also request a plastic pump which you can reuse subsequently.
Plaine Products is committed to diverting as much plastic as possible from landfills through the use of aluminum bottles. The brand claims to have diverted 300,000 plastic bottles as of August 2021.
Washing your hands is an important part of personal care, and most times, washing your hands using hand soap is more hygienic than a hand sanitizer. Thankfully, zero-waste hand soaps are both effective and kind to humans and the planet. You can go through our list above to shop for zero-waste hand soaps.
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.