Zero Waste Hand Soap: 11 Brands for a Planet-Loving Lather
We don’t want to sound like a nagging parent, but did you remember to wash your hands with zero waste hand soap?
Mixed materials, difficult-to-recycle plastic pumps, synthetic ingredients: traditional hand soaps may kill germs, but they’re also killing our planet.
And the demonstrable increase in handwashing over the last couple of years hasn’t helped either.
Fortunately, plastic free hand soap (with much healtheir ingredients) is becoming increasingly available.
Like etee’s plastic free liquid hand soap concentrate that can be mixed with water and comes in composable Beepods (from ethically sourced beeswax).
For something totally free of packaging, check out EcoRoots’ zero waste hand soap bars.
Blending the best of both worlds, Tangie has a bar of concentrated soap paste that can be dissolved in water to produce an entire gallon of liquid soap.
*This post contains affiliate links
*Note: Many of etee’s hand soap offerings are both vegan and palm oil free. However some of their products are not.
About etee’s Zero Waste Hand Soap Refills
The plastic free hand soap refills are made with 100% plant-based ingredients and are contained in backyard compostable Beepods (made with local, ethical beeswax).
Just add water, stir, let sit for an hour and you’re ready to scrub.
The soap performs as well as conventional foaming soaps, while also hydrating hands.
Lemongrass or lavender scents are available.
The Canadian company keeps things ethical and green by using biodegradable and recyclable packaging, and supporting organizations like Hue Man Race.
Everything in their 100% plastic-free range is handmade.
*Note: Most products offered by EcoRoots are palm oil free.
About EcoRoots’ Zero Waste Vegan Hand Soap
Free of packaging and unpronounceable ingredients, EcoRoots’ zero waste hand soap is simple, sustainable, and still provides a rich lather.
The Organic Body Soap (and hands are part of the body after all) is handmade with organic ingredients like safflower, coconut, and sunflower oil.
Several different scents are available (all from essential oils): lavender, patchouli, peppermint, tangerine lavender, lemongrass, grapefruit calendula, and spearmint sage.
Adding the optional Soap Saver Bag extends the life of each hand soap.
Colorado-based EcoRoots is one of the best ethical online shops for those saying “peace out” to plastic.
Everything they sell for the kitchen, bath, home, and body (like their zero waste razors) is free of plastic, animal byproducts and SLS. Most are palm oil free too.
All products ship in recycled and reusable biodegradable materials, right down to the compostable packing peanuts.
1% of their profits are donated to Ocean Conservancy.
3. JUNGLE CULTURE
About Jungle Culture’s Cold-Pressed Zero Waste Hand Soap
Rich in organic essential oils, Jungle Culture’s zero waste hand wash soap lasts far longer than traditional soaps.
Like slow fashion for soap, a slow, cold-pressed technique is used to preserve nutrients and reduce energy consumption.
They’re handmade by artisan soap makers in Vietnam and are suitable for sensitive skin.
Several scents are available: Lime & Sea Salt; Coconut Husk; Coffee Scrub; Ginger & Spice; Citrus; and Activated Charcoal & Cracked Black Pepper.
Each plastic free vegan hand soap comes in recycled paper wrapping.
About Jungle Culture
Jungle Culture is the UK-based mecca for low-impact, ethically made goods and gifts.
They have all manner of things for the body and home.
Everything ships plastic free and a portion of every sale is funneled to environmental organizations through their 1% for the Planet membership.
Available: Jungle Culture
4. BESTOWED ESSENTIALS
About Bestowed Essentials’ Plastic Free Hand Soap
There’s no shortage of zero waste hand soaps from Bestowed Essentials, but there is a shortage of chemicals and other undesirable ingredients like palm oil and SLS.
Instead, they’re made with recognizable natural skin care ingredients, like plant oils, clay, and essential oils.
There are many different scents on offer, including Green Tea & Eucalyptus, Peppermint Dream, Florida Orange, and Dead Sea Mud & Tea Tree.
The soap box is 100% recycled and recyclable.
About Bestowed Essentials
As a neurodivergent-female-veteran-owned social enterprise, Bestowed Essential is much more than a zero waste cleaning supply shop.
They’re entirely based in Rapid CIty, SD but their products are now available at 60+ retailers in the USA and Canada.
All products are PETA-certified Cruelty Free and all packaging is totally plastic-free. And the shipping tape is 100% biodegradable.
The manufacturing of their home and body products provides jobs for people who face barriers to employment and BE donates additional time or money to help those in need.
5. CASSIA ORGANICS
*Note: These are mostly zero waste vegan hand soaps, but a few still contain goat milk, though Cassia Organics is phasing out this ingredient.
About Cassia Organics’ Zero Waste Hand Soap
Each bar is made in small batches and hand-poured.
Instead of phosphates, dyes, SLS, and petroleum-based ingredients, you’ll see 100% natural, and organic plant oils and butters, clays, and botanical oils.
Note they do contain organic, RSPO palm oil.
Several scents are available: Cedarwood; Night Jasmine; Garden Mint; Pink Sandalwood; Patchouli, and more. If you can’t decide, try their Oops Soap Sampler of irregularly shaped soaps.
They’re all shipped in a recyclable/compostable cardboard box.
About Cassia Organics
Hand making everything using old-world traditions passed on from her grandmother, Birgit is the owner and maker behind this shop.
The majority of her huge product selection is bar-based, like their zero waste dish soap, and everything else—perfume, moisturizers, and the like—comes in reusable glass bottles.
Each essential oil and herb is selected for its ability to conjure memories of natural landscapes and connect customers to the magic of the natural world.
For every order placed, Cassia Organics plants a tree in partnership with One Tree Planted.
6. SAVONNERIE DES DILIGENCES
About Savonnerie des Diligences’ Zero Waste Foaming Hand Soap
With names like The Matchmaker, The Monster of the Lake, and Mrs Butternut, the soaps from Savonnerie des Diligences are uniquely adorable—down to the hand-drawn logos on the recycled and recyclable paper wrapping.
Every bar of soap comes with a story about the legend who inspired it.
They’re made with organic and natural plant oils, essential oils, and other mostly plant-based ingredients.
They do contain beeswax and some also contain honey.
While they’re all effective and skin safe, some are specially designed for those with sensitive skin, or babies, or hands coated in dirt and grease (The Gardener).
About Savonnerie des Diligences Soap
The shop’s owner was founded by a mother seeking soothing products for a child suffering from eczema. What began as a solo operation, the shop grew into a fully staffed company.
Everything they make is natural, biodegradable, non-GMO, and mostly organic. Ingredients are sourced ethically, like their Shea butter that comes from a fairtrade women-led business in Mali.
Only recyclable and compostable packaging is used and, like everything else from Etsy, is sent via carbon neutral shipping.
7. RIGHT SOAP
About Right Soap’s Zero Waste Hand Soap
Right Soap is committed to making high quality, natural, vegan, and unscented soaps that come in a minimal cardboard wrapper.
They’re made with medicinal-grade clay, organic herbs, and plant butters and oils, including sustainably-sourced palm oil.
Several different varieties are available: Pumpkin, Carrot, Oatmeal, Calendula, Cocoa, and more.
Many are designed to support specific skincare needs, such as sensitive skin, dry skin, detox, and wrinkle-reducing.
Regardless, all are free of animal-based ingredients, chemical additives, artificial ingredients, dyes, GMOs, and perfumes/fragrances.
About Right Soap
Right Soap’s soap is handcrafted using a traditional cold press method in the shop owner’s Florida home.
With more than 15,500 Etsy sales, a Star Seller rating, and an ingredient list that includes LOVE, this shop is an excellent place to turn for plastic free hand soap—and all other sudsy essentials.
Available: Right Soap (Etsy)
8. PLAINE PRODUCTS
About Plaine Product’s Refillable Zero Waste Liquid Hand Soap
Plaine Products’ biodegradable liquid hand soap utilizes organic aloe extract as the main ingredient, giving the soap healing and moisturizing properties in addition to cleansing ones.
It’s combined with coconut and safflower seed oil, algae and Irish moss extracts, organic camellia, and other EWG-approved non-GMO ingredients guaranteed free from sulfates, silicone, and palm oil.
Choose between two, non-synthetic-derived scents: Rosemary, Mint, + Vanilla and Citrus Lavender.
Like their hair care products and organic body wash, it’s entirely zero waste thanks to Plaines’ innovative and unique refill program.
Each liquid soap comes to you in an aluminum bottle with a BPA-free plastic pump.
Once empty, simply order a refill, and swap your pump over to the new bottle when it arrives. Then send the old one back to be cleaned and reused in the same custom fit box that your refill came in.
About Plaine Products
Sister-owned and certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Plaine Products breaks the notion that liquid personal care products can’t be zero waste.
This Certified B Corp manufactures everything (down to the aluminum bottles) in the USA and personally tests all products on themselves.
9. GROVE COLLABORATIVE
*Note: Grove Collaborative uses RSPO-certified palm oil. While their soaps are vegan, some of their other products are not.
About Grove Collaborative’s Handcrafted Zero Waste Soap Bar
Grove Collaborative’s moisturizing bar works to wash away germs and hydrate skin, thanks to organic plant oils and an ingredient list that doesn’t include artificial colors, dyes, parabens, sulfates, silicones, and phthalates.
They do contain organic, RSPO palm oil, however.
Shoppers can choose between Lavender & Rosemary, Peppermint, Lavender, and Cedar & Sage scent, all 100% naturally derived from essential oils and herbs.
The bar boxes are made with a blend of recycled paper and FSC-certified responsibly harvested wood.
There’s also a small selection of other hand soaps from other brands (though many of these come in plastic).
About Grove Collaborative
They have their own range of products made in the USA, and also sell goods from other eco-minded brands, like METHOD, Dr. Bronner’s, and Mrs. Meyer’s.
The Certified B Corp and EPA Safer Choice Product recipient is plastic neutral and well on its way to becoming 100% plastic-free by 2025.
They support reforestation projects and work with carbon neutral facilities and shipping partners.
Available: Grove Collaborative
10. COMMON GOOD
*Note: Common Good uses sustainably sourced palm oil, but we’re not sure of its exact certification and will confirm directly with the brand.
About Common Good’s Zero Waste Liquid Soap Refills
Like everything else from the brand, Common Good’s (mostly) zero waste liquid hand soap is 100% readily biodegradable, free from harsh chemicals, and scented with pure essential oils.
It is plant-based, sulfate-free hand soap and combats 99.9% of germs.
Lavender, Bergamot, and Unscented options are available.
The hand soaps, like the rest of the collection, come in refill pouches that use 83% less plastic and can be recycled at most supermarkets and pharmacies.
An empty glass bottle is available for purchase, too, though we encourage you to upcycle glass containers you likely already have.
About Common Good
Like other zero waste online stores, Common Good has found a way to rid itself of unnecessary packaging for cleaning products.
Not only can the refill bags be recycled, but they can also be continually refilled in package free shops in NYC and elsewhere.
The woman-founded brand is also vegan, cruelty free, and only uses non-GMO ingredients and RSPO palm oil.
Available: Common Good
*Note: Tangie’s hand soap is palm oil free but some of their body bars contain responsibly sourced palm oil.
About Tangie’s Plastic Free Foaming Hand Soap
Tangie’s plastic free vegan hand soap comes in a bar of paste that dissolves to make an entire gallon of liquid hand soap at a price that can’t be beat.
It can be used to fill foamers, pumpers, soap dispensers, and even mason jars.
It’s filled with a short list of EWG A-rated ingredients you can actually pronounce (including LOVE) and the Citrus and Lavender scents are courtesy of essential oils. Unscented is available, too.
Packaging is optional, and together with the non-boxed packaging (recycled kraft paper wrapping and a paper padded envelope) both can be recycled or home composted.
With products that are “safe for the planet. Light on the Wallet. Good on the conscience,” Tangie steps in with everything you’d need for a zero waste kit.
Their concentrated bar of laundry detergent alone has saved more than 4,600 plastic bottles from hitting landfills.
The vegetable glycerine (and other ingredients) in their hand soap is completely palm oil free, though some of their body bars contain palm oil that is “organic, deforestation free, wildlife friendly and socially responsible”.
The woman-run, American-made cleaning product company ships with recyclable, compostable packaging materials and donates a portion of sales to non-profit organizations.
HOW WE FOUND THESE ZERO WASTE HAND SOAPS
We like to think about our ethical beauty criteria for at least 20 seconds while washing with the best zero waste soaps:
- Zero waste: This was the big focus of this article. Compostable, recyclable, or totally package-free options were the best. For liquid soaps, zero waste hand soap tablets were best, but we did consider a teeny-tiny bit of recyclable plastic or aluminum for refills.
- Vegan (though we make an exception for ethically sourced beeswax and honey)
- Non-toxic: Ideally all-natural and/or organic ingredients, but certainly not containing any of the most common ingredients to avoid in skin care.
- Palm oil free (or sustainably harvested, organic, or RSPO certified palm oil at the very least)
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ZERO WASTE HAND SOAP
Clean your hands and help to clean up the planet.
As something we all use, just think of the impact it would have if everyone made the switch to plastic free hand soap.
Sharing germs isn’t nice, but sharing zero waste tips is—so help further reduce single-use plastic bottles by sharing this with friends and family who could use a better way to lather up.