Best Soap for You and the Environment: How to Successfully Clean Up Your Act!

Liquid Soap v. Bar Soap

Check out the amount of plastic bottles in your bathroom – I bet quite a few contain liquid soap or shower gel.

You may like the convenience of using liquid soap but if you want to reduce your use of plastic packaging, this is a good place to start.

Yes, you can chuck the empty liquid soap bottle in your recycling bin but bar soaps use less packaging in the first place.

In addition, liquid soap bottles are heavier and bulkier to transport than bar soap, so the transportation of liquid soap will result in a higher carbon footprint.

So how can you stay clean and find the best environmentally friendly soap?

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On the downside, most bar soaps are still wrapped in thin plastic and often sold in bulk buy packets encased in an additional layer of plastic.

Why not sign Greenpeace’s petition calling for UK supermarkets to go plastic free?

liquid soap dispenser on basin
Photo by Pixabay on

What’s in Your Soap?

However, packaging is only one facet in the struggle to use soap that is friendly to the environment and to you.

Have you looked at the ingredients on your soap?

Here’s some examples:

Liquid Example

Aqua, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Lauric Acid, Sodium Lauroyl Glycinate, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sodium Chloride, Helianthus Annuus Hybrid Oil, Glycerin, Parfum, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Sodium Isethionate, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Tetrasodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Sodium Benzoate, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Zinc Oxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool.

Bar Example

Aqua, Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Talc, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Parfum, Pentasodium Pentetate, Pentaerithrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Olea Europeae Fruit Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Sine Adipe Lac, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Coumarin, Limonene, Linalool, CI 77891, CI 475, CI 6157

Check Out the Ingredients

Research the palm oil

Ingredients to avoid include palm oil and palm oil derivatives because of their effect on the environment. It’s a complex subject and you might decide to opt for responsibly sourced palm oil or try to avoid it altogether.

Avoid triclosan

You may want to avoid triclosan.  (I certainly do!) Triclosan has an anti-bacterial action and has been added to some toothpastes, soaps, hand washes and gels.  It is an irritant to the skin and eyes and has an effect on the endocrine system.  A recent study has now linked high levels of the chemical to osteoporosis.

Avoid parabens

Parabens are linked to hormone disruption, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity.  Look at the ingredients and avoid anything that ends in ‘paraben’.

Avoid phthalates

Phthalates have also been linked to hormone disruption. 

Avoid artificial fragrances which often contain phthalates.  Apart from smelling fake and disgusting, artificial fragrances can damage your immune system, trigger breathing problems, are toxic to aquatic life and may be a neurotoxin.

Avoid foaming agents

Avoid the foaming agents: sodium laurel sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate which make a rich lather but may cause skin irritation.

In fact at this rate it maybe it is best to avoid soap altogether!

Make Your Own

You could always try making your own soap. There are lots of soap making recipes for beginners to be found, although they all seem to involve caustic soda and eye protectors so making your own soap may not be for the faint hearted!

Photo by Tabitha Mort on

Where Can I Buy Natural Soap?

However, there are companies that produce more natural soap and their soap also comes wrapped in eco packaging! So it’s a win win, if you put in a little effort.

Here’s just a few:

Little Soap Company Soap Bar in with English Peppermint & Poppyseed – Natural, Vegan & Organic (110g)
Faith in Nature Natural Orange Hand Soap Bar, Detoxifying Vegan & Cruelty Free, Parabens and SLS Free, 100 g
Friendly Soap Natural Handmade Peppermint & Poppy Seed Soap

O Naturals 6 Piece Citrus Bar Soap Collection

So that’s soap all washed up for now; next on the list – SHAMPOO.

© Michelle Le Grand
Out of the Office
Le Grand Art Blog
My Zazzle Store


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