Safer Swap: Hand Soap

The kids are back to school and colder temperatures are right around the corner. Both of those things – either together or separately – can mean more germs and the need for more hand washing.

Hand soap, especially scented hand soap, often contain ingredients that we should not be using. Think about the number of times a day you wash your hands. Three times? Five times? Ten times? Day in and day out…that’s a lot of exposure to the ingredients.

Here are the harmful chemicals I avoid in the hand soap:

  • Fragrance: These sweet-smelling ingredients seem innocent (especially if they’re “natural” fragrances), but they’re not as innocuous as they seem. Fragrances are linked to allergies and respiratory irritation, but, even worse, manufacturers can hide hundreds of toxic chemicals behind the 1 word “fragrance” because fragrances are considered to be “trade secrets”. Fragrances are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream where they pose health risks including endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, allergies, asthma, neurotoxicity and cancer. They also typically contain phthalates (which won’t be listed on labels), and these are associated with hormone disruption, birth defects and developmental toxicity. 
  • Preservatives: Designed to help your soap last longer, preservatives like parabensmethylisothiazolinone (MIT) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (CMIT) are used to inhibit bacterial growth and can cause skin irritation, lung and respiratory issues and neurotoxicity.
  • Triclosan. Triclosan and other antimicrobials, added to many soaps and other everyday products – and found in the bodies of more than three-fourths of Americans – likely harm people’s health and the environment, while providing no benefit to consumers, said more than 200 scientists and medical professionals in a consensus statement published in 2017.

Safer Options:

  • Everyone Hand Soap. I like a number of products by this brand. I love their use of essential oils and the price of their products. The lavendar + coconut scent is lovely. So is the meyer lemon + mandarinAmazonTarget and Walmart carry this brand.
  • DIY – make your own hand soap with 3 ingredients! 
    • 3/4 cup of distilled water
    • 1/4 cup of Castile soap (choose unscented or a scent you like! Dr. Bronner’s brand uses essential oils!)
    • 20 drops of lemon essential oil 
      • I enjoy Revive. Great quality and cheaper than other high-quality brands. Click here to get a $10 gift card after your first order and use code NEWCUSTOMER10 to save 10%. They offer free shipping on every order and free returns.
    • I highly recommend glass dispensers over plastic. Amazon has some cute ones here!


Step 1 – Pour 3/4 cup of water into the soap dispenser.
Step 2 – Add 1/4 cup of Castile soap.
Step 3 – Add 20 drops of essential oils
Step 4 – Shake well and replace soap dispenser lid