The best hand soap


The best hand soap overall

The best hand soap overall
If you want to avoid harsh chemicals, then a bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Basil Scented Hand Soap is the way to wash.

Alright, let's be clear here: Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Basil Scented Hand Soap is not actually an organic or even a 100% natural product. But it's made using 98% naturally derived ingredients, and that's pretty darn close. Also, if you want truly clean hands, as in hands free of dirt and grime as well as microbes, you really do want to allow a bit of chemical cleaning.

The unique, refreshing scent of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Basil Scented Hand Soap will invigorate you even as the soap lifts away dirt and kills off germs, and the aloe vera and olive oil used in the formula will leave your fresh-smelling skin hydrated and nourished, too.

What you won't find here are parabens, phthalates, artificial colors, or animal testing. Also, the bottle is partially made with recycled plastics, so that's nice, too.

Mrs. Meyer's liquid hand soaps lather up quickly, and the scent left behind is mild but lingering. How do I know all that? Well, you'll hear later in the article about how we use Method in one of our bathrooms. Guess what brand you'll find in another? Yeah, you guessed right: This one.

A product reviewer from TreeHugger loved that Mrs. Meyer's soaps manage to be effective while still being "biodegradable," also noting that they "do not contain ammonia, chlorine or phosphates.

Pros: 98% naturally derived ingredients, great scent, earth-friendly brand

Cons: Can leave skin feeling dry


The best hand soap on a budget

The best hand soap on a budget
Softsoap Coconut and Warm Ginger Liquid Hand Soap smells good and cleans well, but what really counts here is the low price.

The first thing you'll notice about a bottle of Softsoap Coconut and Warm Ginger Liquid Hand Soap is that it's larger than most other hand soap dispensers. While a common size is 7.5 ounces, these bottles hold 11.25 fluid ounces of soap. Second, you'll notice that when you order a six-pack of these soaps, you pay about three bucks per unit, a common price for pre-filled soap dispensers. So do the math, and you'll realize that you're effectively getting 22.5 ounces of soap for free thanks to the large bottle size.

In case that was confusing, let me be clear: This is cheap hand soap. But it's cheap in price only. Softsoap is trusted by families, schools, offices, and other locations all around America not only because of its price but also because it works well. That claim is backed up by dermatologist testing.

As for the sweet coconut and warm ginger aroma, some people find it a bit too intense, but most people love it. I know I do — I've used this stuff countless times.

Pros: Low price, does not leave a residue, trusted brand

Cons: Scent too cloying for some people


The best moisturizing hand soap

The best moisturizing hand soap
Every time you use Jergens Extra Moisturizing Cherry-Almond Hand Wash, your hands will enjoy the cleanliness and moisturizing you get from this soap.

I'm not a huge fan of lotions, to be honest. In fact, I kind of hate the way creams feel on my hands, and I avoid using them as much as possible. But I'm also no fan of dry skin. Thus you can imagine my pleasant surprise when my wife introduced me to Jergens Extra Moisturizing Cherry-Almond Hand Wash. And by "introduced" I mean that's the stuff that happened to be in her bathroom all those years back when we were dating.

This stuff is hand soap first and foremost: It cleans the grease or grime off your hands and kills off germs in the process. But it is infused with Jergens moisturizing lotion and leaves your hands feeling supple and nourished, yet without that vaguely oily, clammy feeling that lotion leaves behind when used on its own.

So whether you hate applying lotion to your hands after washing or if you don't much mind it but would just as soon save time and make cleaning and moisturizing a one-step process, this stuff a great go-to.

Truth be told, I'm not a fan of the scent, but I love the hydrated skin without the need for lotion application.

Pros: Highly moisturizing, gentle cleansing, good price point

Cons: Smell off-putting to some

The best antimicrobial hand soap

The best antimicrobial hand soap
Whether you work in a hospital, school, or you want to keep your home reliably germ-free, Dial Original Gold Antimicrobial Soap will eliminate 99.9% of the microbes it contacts during a washing.

If you've spent much time in hospitals, medical clinics, schools, daycare centers, and other areas prone to heavy concentrations of germs, you've probably already washed your hands with Dial Original Gold Antimicrobial Soap hundreds of times. Each time you used it, you killed off millions of potentially dangerous microbes.

Using this time-tested soap to keep your hands clean may just be the single best way to prevent contraction or spreading of bacterial or viral illnesses, short of moving into a clean room for the cold and flu season.

If you associate Dial soap with dry hands, then don't worry: The brand has addressed that. While still the essentially made using the same old germ-killing formula, Dial Original Gold Antimicrobial Soap is now also infused with moisturizers.

For the record, not only will this low-cost soap kill off microbes, but it also cuts through grease, lifts dirt, and cleans out cuts and scrapes. In fact, many tattoo artists will recommend it as the gentle soap you should use while healing.

Pros: Kills 99.9% of germs, light and pleasant scent, very low cost

Cons: Consumer complaints about packaging are common


The best foaming hand soap

The best foaming hand soap
One pump of Method Foaming Lemon Mint Hand Soap is all you'll need to quickly work up a rich, cleansing lather that will leave your hands refreshed and smelling great.

In my house, we use Method dish soap, we've used Method laundry detergent, and in one of the bathrooms, we use Method Foaming Lemon Mint Hand Soap. Why only in one? Because our son loves the smell of some soaps and hates others.

Frankly, I'm not a huge fan of foaming hand soaps — I prefer the good old liquid kind — but I readily admit that a big dollop of foamy soap lathers up quickly, and I certainly like the fresh, crisp scent of this soap.

I also appreciate the fact that Method Foaming Lemon Mint Hand Soap is absent of alcohol, aluminum, parabens, and phthalates, and that the formula includes aloe and vitamin E. Also, there's an elegant simplicity to the design of Method hand soap dispensers that looks good there in the bathroom or beside the kitchen sink.

Pros: Lathers up quickly, great scent, handsome and effective dispenser

Cons: Bottle does not last as long as traditional liquid soap

The best luxury hand soap

The best luxury hand soap
Using Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash leaves hands feeling moisturized and supple but genuinely imparts nutrients into the skin.

Alright, let's address the elephant in the room right away: Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash is expensive. It sells for about $39 a bottle, in fact. But one 17-ounce bottle will last a single user for many weeks or even months depending on the frequency of use.

The rich, potent, but never cloying aroma of this soap, a scent blending mandarin orange, rosemary, and cedar, will delight you every time you smell it. As for how your hands will feel after washing with this pricey elixir?

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash is formulated with skin-suppling ingredients that can rejuvenate hands dried out by climate, work, or age, leaving skin feeling better and better the more often it's used. And again, that scent.

A writer with InStyle said Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash smells "divine" and "makes your hands soft and smooth."

Pros: Wonderful scent, nourishing formula, handsome bottle design

Cons: Very expensive


Check out our other skincare guides

Check out our other skincare guides
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