We’re definitely in the midst of cold and flu season, and frequent hand washing is the most effective way to halt the spread of germs. Up to 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch, but viruses and bacteria can be eliminated simply through proper hand washing using soap, warm water, and the friction of rubbing your hands together.
Common Hand Soap Chemicals
But your attempts to keep yourself (and your family) healthy could be backfiring if you’re using many conventional brands of hand soap. Like shampoo, toothpaste, and a host of other bath and body care products, conventional hand soap often contains potentially harmful ingredients. A few of the worst offenders to watch out for include:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - SLS is added to many personal care products for its cleansing and detergent properties, despite being a potential eye and skin irritant. It is also potentially carcinogenic when combined with other common chemicals.
- Propylene Glycol – a humectant added to soaps and shampoos that has been found to cause skin and eye irritation, and has been linked with brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities with repeated exposure.
- Parabens - a preservative added to personal care products to help prevent the growth of bacteria and prolong shelf life. Repeated exposure has been linked to increased estrogen levels in the human body, which could contribute to the development of hormonal disorders and cancers.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) - a commonly used foaming agent that has been linked to cancer formation and hormone disruption with repeated exposure.
- Phthalates, or Artificial Fragrances – these chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system problems, and allergic reactions. Certain phthalates, known as “plasticizers,” have also been linked to reproductive and hormal problems, especially in children.
While not all conventional hand soaps contain all these ingredients, most contain one or more. Thus, the best way to ensure you’re using a safe, natural hand soap is by choosing products from companies that are committed to using all-natural ingredients, and preferably those that are also sustainable, organic, and cruelty-free.
We’ve put together a list of great hand soap options from four such companies below. You really can’t go wrong with any of these companies and their products!
Natural Hand Soap Recommendations
Hugo Naturals Liquid Hand Soap is free of parabens, petroleum products, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, and other harsh chemicals, and comes in six delicious scents, including Shea Butter and Oatmeal, French Lavender, and Spearmint, among others. The company also makes a vegan, alcohol-free foaming hand soap in a Vanilla and Sweet Orange scent.
Jason is another popular brand of natural bath and body care products, and makes an extensive line of hand soaps in scents ranging from soothing to fruity to invigorating. Try their Satin Soap in Rosewater, Apricot, Tea Tree, Aloe Vera, and Lavender varieties.
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day is one of the most popular liquid hand soaps on the market, and comes in ten unique scents including Parsley, Lemon Verbena, Honeysuckle, and Rhubarb, among others. The company sells regular pump bottles as well as larger, eco-friendly refill pouches and jugs.
Did we miss your favorite natural hand soap brand? Tell us about it in the comments section below!