If you’re doing it right, you should be washing your hands at least a few times a day — which means it’s important to choose a high-quality, all-natural hand soap that won’t dry out your hands!
Soap is something so ordinary that sometimes we don’t stop to consider what we’re using on our bodies each and every day. And for something that’s supposed to get you clean, there are an awful lot of soaps out there with dirty ingredients.
We’ve done some scrubbing to discover all of the gentlest, delightfully scented, extra-moisturizing, sudsy hand soaps of your dreams. And while we’ve included a few officially certified organic products, all of the hand soaps on our list are all-natural and contain no synthetic chemicals, dyes, or other questionable ingredients.
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall: Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap.|
A sweet, rich lather, lovely scent, and a top-of-the-line ingredient list: this Dr. Bronner’s Sugar Soap has it all.
|Best Budget: Method Gel Hand Soap.|
Its ultra-affordability is one reason why this all-natural Method Gel Hand Soap has such a loyal following.
|Best Liquid: Seventh Generation Hand Wash.|
This Seventh Generation hand soap is non-drying and pleasantly scented, but also available in a “free & clear” formula for those with sensitivities.
|Best Foaming: J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap.|
If you prefer a foaming formula, we suggest the popular J.R. Watkins line of hand soaps.
|Best Bar Soap: Dr. Bronner’s All-One Pure-Castile Bar Soap.|
Can’t go wrong with Dr. Bronner’s eco-friendly, classic, multipurpose castile bar soap.
|Best for Sensitive Skin: Everyone Hand Soap.|
The ultra-gentle formula of Everyone Hand Soap is perfect for those with sensitive skin issues.
|Best Extra-Moisturizing: Avalon Organics Glycerin Hand Soap.|
The glycerin formula of Avalon Organics’ hand soap provides a soothing alternative.
|Best Refill: Grove Hydrating Hand Soap Refill.|
We love Grove’s recycling-friendly refill packaging that takes sustainability to the next level.
The Best Organic Hand Soaps: A Closer Look
Before we dive into a more detailed look at the best hand soaps on the market today, a quick note: you won’t find any soaps with synthetic ingredients on our list. For instance, we didn’t include any organic “antibacterial” hand soaps because any claims that soap is antibacterial is purely a marketing gimmick. All soaps, by their very nature, neutralize and wash away bacteria. You don’t need any chemical additives or unnecessary antimicrobials for soap to protect you from bacteria.
In fact, many common antibacterial additives are actively harmful. Some studies suggest chemicals like triclosan can disrupt hormones, harm the immune system, and contribute to antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Then, once those additives go down the drain, they enter our water supply where they can harm fish and wildlife.
You’ll find none of that in the following top 8 organic hand soaps of 2021.
1. Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap
The best organic hand soap overall
Brand: Dr. Bronner’s | Size: 12 oz. or 24 oz. | Biodegradable: Yes | No: parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates, gluten, animal by-products | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
Choosing our overall pick for best organic liquid hand soap wasn’t too difficult, as this Dr. Bronner’s 4-in-1 Organic Sugar Soap is the creme de la creme. It is certified organic, fair-trade, plant-based, cruelty-free, biodegradable hand-washing bliss.
This “farm-to-shelf-to-shower” hand soap gets consistently high reviews across the board, and comes in a wide variety of scents, including lemongrass lime, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and unscented.
It may seem a little more expensive at first glance, but that’s in part because it’s such a large 12 ounce bottle; it’s also available in 24 ounces. Given the high quality of natural ingredients, we believe it’s worth the splurge!
- 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles
- Milder than Dr. Bronner’s castile soap
- Excellent, multi-use soap
- Not the best for those prone to dry skin
2. Method Gel Hand Soap
The best organic hand soap on a budget
Brand: Method | Size: 12 oz. | Biodegradable: Yes | No: parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates | Price: 💰
Made with plant-based cleansers and carried by a wide range of retailers, this Method gel hand soap is a quick and easy choice. And did we mention that you can usually find it for just under three bucks?
If you’re a fan of fragrances in your hand soap, you’ll find plenty to choose from, including French lavender, waterfall, rose water, sea minerals, sweet water, coconut, grapefruit, cucumber and more. We also like that the bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic, and can be recycled again when you’re done using it.
- Sustainable, cruelty-free product without the large price tag
- “Doesn’t dry out my hands”
- Light, pleasant scents
- Doesn’t lather as much as some other hand soaps
- Hard to get the last bit out of the bottle
3. Seventh Generation Hand Wash
The best organic liquid hand soap
Brand: Seventh Generation | Size: 12 oz. | Biodegradable: No | No: parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates, gluten, animal by-product | Price: 💰
This gentle, cruelty-free, sustainable hand soap checks all of the boxes. Reviewers consistently found it to be non-drying and were grateful for a “free & clear” unscented formula. Many people also raved about the two fragrances that are available: lavender flower and mandarin orange.
Did we mention that this all-around great liquid hand soap also happens to be almost as cheap as our budget pick?
- Doesn’t dry out hands
- Smells great
- Nice lather
- The pump can be difficult to open initially
- Wish there was a refill option
4. J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap
The best organic foaming hand soap
Brand: J.R. Watkins | Size: 9 oz. | Biodegradable: No | No: parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates, aluminum, ethyl-alcohol | Price: 💰
Many users prefer the instant lather and clean-rinsing properties of foaming soaps, which have grown in popularity in recent years.
J.R. Watkins is known for its line of natural soaps that come in a wide variety of popular scents, including green tea & aloe, lavender, ocean breeze, lemon, and more. They offer this foaming option, as well as several gel hand soaps — plus refills.
- Smells great without being overpowering
- Easy on sensitive hands
- Lasts a long time
- Mixed reviews on some of the fragrances — many love, others find too strong
- Can be drying over time
5. Dr. Bronner’s All-One Pure-Castile Bar Soap
The best organic, solid (bar) hand soap
Brand: Dr. Bronner’s | Size: 5 oz. | Biodegradable: Yes | No: parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates, gluten, animal by-products | Price: 💰💰
For those who prefer a solid soap to a liquid soap, Dr. Bronner’s delivers again! This all natural castile soap bar has all the same things going for it as the liquids on our list, but comes in a more concentrated and portable format. No plastic pump bottle or refills necessary here — just a simple bar of soap, with a recyclable paper wrapper.
- Organic and fair trade certified ingredients
- Castile soap is multipurpose
- “Smells amazing”
- Creates build up when used as a shampoo
- Can be drying over time
6. Everyone Hand Soap
The best organic hand soap for sensitive skin
Brand: Everyone | Size: 12.75 oz. | Biodegradable: Yes | No: Parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates, gluten, animal by-products, triclosans, synthetic fragrance | Price: 💰💰
Everyone Hand Soap has all of the things you want, like a sustainable plant-based formula and nothing you don’t, like synthetic fragrances or parabens. It’s our pick for best organic hand soap for extra-sensitive skin, because it takes its ultra “clean” status one step further, eliminating any gluten, dyes, or sodium lauryl sulfates, while using only 100% natural essential oils. Many people with sensitive skin report that it’s the only hand soap they’ll use!
This liquid hand soap is even EWG-verified, which means it’s free from any ingredients of concern, and is produced using responsible manufacturing practices.
- Good for the whole family
- Doesn’t dry out hands
- A few had issues with the pump
7. Avalon Organics Glycerin Hand Soap
The best extra-moisturizing, organic hand soap
Brand: Avalon Organics | Size: 12 oz. | Biodegradable: Yes | No: GMOs, parabens, preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, phthalates, or sulfates | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
A glycerin-based liquid soap, like this one from Avalon Organics, may be of help for those with skin that’s especially prone to psoriasis or dryness, or for those who need to wash their hands more frequently.
Its plant-based formula gently cleanses while moisturizing skin and smelling great, thanks to all-natural essential oils.
- “Have been using this soap for years and will never use another!”
- Smooth pump
- Lathers well
- Lavender scent is too strong
- A little pricey
8. Grove Hydrating Hand Soap Refill
The best organic hand soap refill
Brand: Grove | Size: 13 oz. | Biodegradable: No | No: parabens, dyes, SLS, phthalates | Spec: 💰💰💰
All hand soap refills are a good eco-friendly choice, since you’re not buying a new plastic pump bottle every time you need more soap. The problem is, many refills come in plastic-based pouches that can be difficult to recycle, or other, larger plastic containers.
That’s why we like this Hydrating Hand Soap Refill from Grove so much. Not only is it filled with an extremely well-reviewed natural hand soap free of any triclosan, phosphates or dyes, it comes in an (infinitely recyclable) aluminum container that can either be repurposed, or easily pitched into a home recycling bin.
That said, there are other brands on our list that offer refills, should you prefer a different hand soap, including: J.R. Watkins, Method, Ever Spring (Target brand), and Seventh Generation.
- Like to use in combination with Grove’s refillable glass pump bottle
- Love the reusable/recyclable bottle
- Refreshing, clean scent
- No negative reviews!
What to Look for When Looking for the Best Organic Hand Soap
Plastic, bar, or glass refillable?
Most widely available hand soaps still come in single-use plastic pump bottles, but that’s changing! A good many of the brands on our list offer refills. Even better, you can fill a reusable glass pump bottle with your favorite hand soap over and over again. Or, there’s always the option to go solid, like our #5 pick, which bypasses plastic altogether.
Avoid yucky ingredients.
Steer clear of so-called antibacterial soaps, especially those containing triclosan. There are also plenty of soaps out there with petroleum-derived ingredients, additives that can cause allergic reactions, or can even be carcinogenic. Some basics to avoid: sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, benzalkonium chloride, phthalates, dyes, synthetic fragrances, and any ethoxylated ingredients.
Consider a little hand soap DIY.
If you want to know exactly what’s in your hand soap, you can always make your own homemade organic liquid hand soap. A quick web search will tell you all you need to know, and then you can fill up a reusable container and congratulate yourself on your mega eco-friendliness.
For this guide on organic hand soap, our team spent 6 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about 200 user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each bag. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the 8 best organic hand soaps on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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