Get supple and clean hands with the best hand soap

·11 min read

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Brown hand soap bottle
Brown hand soap bottle

Are you struggling with rough hands despite regular moisturizing? Maybe it’s nothing more than just a bad-quality hand soap that could use an upgrade. Especially if you spend lots of time washing dishes or out and about, leading to lots of wear on your precious hands, choosing the right-hand soap can have many positive impacts.

Hand soaps are designed to clean your hands from germs and dirt while leaving them nicely scented and moisturized. You can find the perfect blend of essential oil and natural scents with soothing properties or go for a strictly antibacterial formula for a thorough clean. Nevertheless, since almost every sink has a bottle next to it, it’s important to find a formula, texture, scent, and lathering content that’ll suit everyone in the house. Since this can be difficult, we want to make the process a little simpler. We researched and reviewed the optimal hand soaps of 2022 for every room, preference, and occasion.

Top Picks

Best overall: Softsoap Moisturizing Liquid Hand Soap

Moisturizing hand soap formula that leaves hands feeling smooth and soft
Moisturizing hand soap formula that leaves hands feeling smooth and soft

With the enriching and soothing effects of aloe vera, this liquid hand soap tops our list. It is aimed at mild and gentle yet thorough cleaning to remove bacteria and dirt from your hands. This moisturizing formula has been tested by dermatologists to be safe for use by adults and kids. It is a pH-balanced hand wash that can retain your skin’s natural moisture to keep it soft and supple. It’s formulated without any harmful parabens or phthalates and creates a rich lather. This hand soap can be used in the bathroom or kitchen for everyday use. The eco-friendly formula, recyclable bottle, and biodegradable cleaning ingredients make it the best overall choice at this time.

Key Features:

  • Softening and moisturizing effect

  • Fresh and light scent

  • 7.5 fluid ounces per bottle

  • Comes in a pack of six

Best cruelty-free option: Mrs. Meyer’s Liquid Hand Soap

Liquid hand soap made with essential oils, aloe vera, olive oil, and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients
Liquid hand soap made with essential oils, aloe vera, olive oil, and other thoughtfully chosen ingredients

This liquid hand soap formula is made from a blend of aloe vera, olive oil, essential oils of lemon verbena, and other moisturizing agents to keep your hands soft and supple even after a day full of hand washing. In addition to the thoughtfully chosen ingredients, this soap comes with a mild citrus, lemon verbena scent that is refreshing and light. This gentle smell of a tender herb like lemon verbena is especially soothing in the early summertime. It is made without any potentially harmful parabens, phthalates, or artificial colors, so it will clean and refresh your hands without drying them out. The liquid soap is also cruelty-free and involved no testing on animals.

Key Features:

  • Non-drying formula

  • All plant-derived ingredients

  • 12.5 fluid ounces per bottle

  • Sold in a pack of three

Best natural ingredients and formula: Everyone Liquid Hand Soap

Everyone Lavender and Coconut hand soap is the perfect blend of relaxing lavender pure essential oil and tropical sweet coconut essence
Everyone Lavender and Coconut hand soap is the perfect blend of relaxing lavender pure essential oil and tropical sweet coconut essence

With all nourishing ingredients from natural sources, this liquid hand soap offers gentle yet thorough cleaning. The lavender essential oil and coconut tropical sweet essence combine for a mesmerizing scent, perfect for the kitchen or bathroom. In addition to the calming scents, this hand soap won’t leave your hands dry due to no use of parabens, dyes, phthalates, or harsh chemicals. It’s designed for daily use with softening and soothing ingredients that will keep your hands soft no matter how many times you wash them in a day. The soap is EWG verified and cruelty-free as well as GMO, gluten, and triclosan-free to keep you and your loved ones safe. It comes in 100% recyclable packaging, making it a sustainable option as well.

Key Features:

  • Plant-based, gluten-free cleansing formula

  • Dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic ingredients

  • Comes in a pack of three bottles or larger refill options

  • 12.75 fluid ounces per bottle

Best antibacterial option: Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap

Moisturizing as it cleans, this soothing liquid keeps even hard-working hands soft as well as delightfully scented
Moisturizing as it cleans, this soothing liquid keeps even hard-working hands soft as well as delightfully scented

This option keeps your hands clean and disinfected while leaving them smelling great. It is designed with antibacterial ingredients to kill the most commonly encountered household germs and contaminants. The gentle cleansing blend is designed to moisturize and clean your hands, all while thoroughly conditioning them. You can work it up into a rich lather in just 20 seconds and finish with healthy-looking, clean hands. The antibacterial properties are balanced with natural soothing agents to make sure it doesn’t dry out your skin. It is designed for frequent use by any member of your home.

Key Features:

  • Kills 99.9% of household bacteria

  • Mild, daily use formula

  • Comes in a pack of four

  • 11 fluid ounces per bottle

Best foaming lather: Method Foaming Hand Soap

Foaming hand wash with plant-based cleansers
Foaming hand wash with plant-based cleansers

With a rich and foamy lather that will make your hands feel clean and soft, the Method Foaming Hand Soap is sublimely scented in a rich sea mineral smell with crisp notes and a blend of lemon, rosemary, and bergamot. The bottle and complete packaging are made with 100% recyclable material to make sure that the planet stays as safe as your hands. The soap is aluminum-free and boasts a biodegradable formula as well which is made without the use of any phthalates or parabens. It is also cruelty-free, so you can trust that it’s tested by people and not on animals.

Key Features:

  • Plant-based cleansers

  • Available in ten fragrances

  • Comes in a pack of six bottles

  • 10 fluid ounces per bottle

Buyer’s Guide: Finding your ideal hand soap

Hand soaps play a major role in how your hands look and feel. We often tend to overlook the ingredients and are lured by the strongest fragrances, when in fact, there’s a lot more you need to consider in a hand soap. Choosing from a variety of formulae, sizes, properties, and scents can be tricky, though. To help, we put together a detailed buying guide in which we review everything from ingredients to measuring the effectiveness of hand soap.

Ingredients to look for in a good hand soap

You must examine the ingredients list carefully according to the function you desire from them. Here’s a rundown on some to keep an eye out for:


Short form for surface-active agents, surfactants are an essential ingredient in hand soaps. These agents are responsible for foam and lather formulation and contain both hydrophobic (water-hating) and hydrophilic (water-loving) sides. This ingredient is important for the cleaning process surfactants remove non-polar oil and dirt from the skin that water and other ingredients cannot. Moreover, surfactants can disrupt the cell wall structure which is a useful quality for destroying microbes. In short, they are used for lathering, cleaning, and disinfecting.


Antibacterial agents in antibacterial labeled hand soaps are alcohol, triclosan, and benzalkonium chloride. Triclosan is the most common ingredient, found in about 75% of liquid hand soaps. These agents are designed to kill microorganisms by diffusing water from the cells of bacteria and disrupting the outer cell layer. This reduces the metabolic activity of bacteria which leads to inactivation.

Other chemicals

Other chemicals that make up a good quality hand soap include sodium hydroxide (NaOH) which is also referred to as lye or caustic soda. Another strong base is potassium hydroxide (KOH). These two bases are essential for the creation of any soap. Potassium hydroxide is used for the formulation of liquid soap in calculated doses for safety and maintenance of pH.

There are other pH adjusters in soaps that raise or lower the pH of the solution by either making it more basic or acidic. Preservatives like methylisothiazolinone are essential to regulate the functionality and effectiveness of soap. Such ingredients keep the formula safe from bacterial growth and microbes. They also increase the shelf life of the product.

Another common ingredient for soaps is Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) which is a synthetic surfactant. It improves the lathering properties of soap. Other than these, there are many other chemicals added for color and scents that do not affect the cleaning properties of the soap.

What are the different types of hand soaps?

Hand soaps can be categorized roughly into the following types:

Vegan or eco-friendly hand soaps

Eco-friendly soaps or vegan soaps are made from non-toxic and natural ingredients. The natural-origin ingredients include fragrances from plants and essential oils. These soaps are also biodegradable which means no harm to the earth at any stage of their use; they won’t cause water toxicity when going down the drain, and instead break down naturally to keep the aquatic life and ecosystem safe.

Vegan soaps are made without animal derivatives like gelatin, milk, or animal fat. Ensure that they are cruelty-free to make sure no animal was harmed or tested upon in their manufacturing process.

Hand soap for sensitive skin

Some soaps can have an adverse reaction on sensitive skin, causing red patches, irritated skin, breakouts, or itching. Some soaps can even remove the outer moisture and waxy lipid layer of the skin that prevents penetration of outside particles through the skin to keep it hydrated. Hand soaps formulated for people with sensitive skin or children are designed to address these issues. They contain skin-friendly and safe ingredients to keep the skin supple and moisturized after cleaning.

Hand soaps for sensitive skins do not have triclosan in their ingredients list as it can kill all kinds of bacteria including those that are beneficial for our skin. These soaps are also free from synthetic scents. You will also often find natural ingredients like aloe vera or olive oil, which are added to maintain the skin’s moisture.

Bar hand soap

Bar soap and water have been an effective way of cleaning the hands, feet, and body for centuries. They are great for removing odors, oils, and dirt. Soap bars for the body have recently been losing ground in the market due to their high pH levels which can cause dryness. To tackle that, hand soap bars have improved formulas with lower pH levels and soothing agents added to make them gentler on the skin. Most of them contain glycerin which is perfect for sensitive skin.

Choosing the right-hand soap

Here are a few important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for your ideal hand soap:

1. Ingredients

The ingredients or the formulation determine how the soap will feel in your hands, the effectiveness, and the kind of lather it creates. There are plenty of synthetic ingredients in our home and beauty products that will do more harm than good, so a little attention to the ingredients list goes a long way.

As a rule of thumb, you can consider it safe to choose hand soaps that say they are free from parabens, triclosan, or phthalates. Generally, all-natural or plant-based products are safer to use.

2. Scent

This is an important consideration if you’re sensitive to scents and smells around you, or of course, if you’re allergic to essential oils. Even if you’re not sensitive to fragrances, it’s advised to choose a neutral or light scent so everyone in the house, or guests can use it safely. If you frequently experience migraines, you should get a scent-free hand soap. If you’re looking for a safer or healthier alternative to artificial or chemical-based fragrances, go for essential oils such as mandarin peel oil or lavender oil.

3. Cleanliness

Hand soaps work hard to clean your hands of bacteria, dirt, and germs. But some soaps are formulated with harsher ingredients that can break down the moisture barrier of your skin in the process of cleaning and disinfecting. This is why oftentimes you end up with dry skin after frequent hand-washing.

The effectiveness of soap is measured by how well it cleans and how soft or moisturized it leaves your hands. Ideally, it should be gentle on the skin. Look for hydrating additions in the ingredients list like shea butter, glycerin, or a hydrating oil like jojoba, coconut, or olive oil.


This guide is designed to help you find the perfect hand soap, liquid, or bar, for your skin type that will leave your hands soft, supple, and clean. With details about the ingredients to look for and ones you should steer clear of, we hope this information helps you choose the right soap for your and your family’s needs.

People also asked

Q: Do hand soaps have expiration dates?

A: Yes, most hand soaps come with an expiration date which is usually two or three years after the date of manufacturing. All-natural or homemade soaps with essential oils expire quicker than this as the oils can become rancid or develop mold.

Q: Are all hand soaps antibacterial?

A: No, not all hand soaps are formulated with antibacterial ingredients. You will need to check the label to make sure.

Q: Is sharing a bar of hand soap unsanitary?

A: There are increased chances of germ transmission if you are sharing a hand soap bar, especially for those with compromised immunity.