We Tested 11 Brands: These Are the Best Hand Soap Options
What's the best hand soap for your kitchen? We tested 11 popular brands and found the best antibacterial, moisturizing, natural and foaming options.
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Taste of Home
Now more than ever, handwashing has become an important ritual. It means that we’re going through soap more quickly and we’re thinking about the sorts of hand soap we’re stocking at home a little more. After all, if you’re going to be washing up, you may as well use the best hand soap.
But more often than not, hand soaps can leave our hands overly fragranced, chapped (that’s when we reach for these hand creams) or just not quite clean enough.
How We Found the Best Hand Soap
To find the very best soaps, our Test Kitchen put a whopping 11 brands to the test over the course of several weeks.
Our testers scrubbed up after prepping recipes, working in the garden, cleaning the house and anytime they needed to freshen up. Testers took diligent notes for judging and kept these criteria in mind:
- Cleaning power: Does the soap suds up nicely? Do hands look and feel clean after washing? Are there any lingering odors? Even after chopping onions or mincing garlic?
- Scent: Is the fragrance pleasant? Overpowering?
- Notable features: Do any of the brands offer anything unusual or useful? Do they use natural scents? Are they antibacterial? Do any of the pumps just look extra nice next to the sink?
- Repeat washing: How do hands feel after repeat washings? Do any of the soaps leave hands feeling rough or dry? Are any moisturizing?
Our Test Kitchen-Preferred Hand Soaps
We scrubbed up over and over and over again to find the very best in soaps. We know that no one option is right for everyone, so we kept your needs in mind to find the best foaming, natural, antibacterial and moisturizing options.
Best Antibacterial Hand Soap: Dial Complete Liquid Hand Soap
If you’re looking to thoroughly sanitize your hands, you’ll want a soap with antibacterial power. In our tests, we found that Dial Complete was the best antibacterial hand soap.
This soap worked into a nice lather and easily washed away tough kitchen odors like onion and garlic after a good wash (about 30 seconds with warm water). And the germ-fighting properties are great for setting your mind at ease after handling meat or washing up after being out and about.
The Dial Spring Water scent was mild and refreshing. After washing up, hands looked and smelled clean—though the fragrance didn’t linger long so you can get right back into kitchen tasks.
- Available fragrances: Spring Water, Gold, Lemon & Sage, Lavender & Jasmine, White Tea and more
- Price: $1.97 for an 11-ounce bottle
Best Moisturizing Hand Soap: Dove Nourishing Hand Wash
These days we’re washing up more than ever, and that means we’re often left with dry, chapped hands. To keep dryness at bay while getting clean, you want the best moisturizing hand soap out there: Dove Nourishing Hand Wash.
A pump of this velvety soap leaves your hands feeling clean and soft thanks to five kinds of moisturizers, including almond oil. Wash after wash, our testers’ hands felt clean and moisturized. No chapping, no cracking; just supple, spotless hands.
You’ll find this moisturizing soap in a few scents, but the subtle coconut-almond milk variety was a Test Kitchen favorite.
- Available fragrances: Coconut & Almond Milk, Aloe & Eucalyptus and Lavender & Yogurt
- Price: $3.49 for a 10.1-ounce bottle
Best Natural Hand Soap: Seventh Generation Hand Wash
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If you prefer to fill your home with eco-friendly products, you’ll probably want a great natural hand soap to compliment your coterie of green gear. There are lots of options out there, but Seventh Generation Hand Wash is our Test Kitchen’s top pick.
This hypoallergenic formula is USDA certified to have 97% biobased ingredients. That means this wash is great for sensitive skin and is almost 100% natural. Seventh Generation hand soap is also dye-free, cruelty-free, paraben-free and made with no synthetic fragrances.
But how does it work? Well, this natural hand soap was definitely gentle on hands. It sudsed up nicely and didn’t leave our testers’ hands feeling dry after repeat washings. While many lavender soaps can be pretty potent, this blend of lavender and mint was very mild and fresh. It didn’t linger long so you could get right back into the kitchen prepping the next dish. And if scents aren’t for you, Seventh Generation also makes a fragrance-free option.
- Available fragrances: Lavender Flower & Mint, Mandarin Orange & Grapefruit and fragrance-free
- Price: $3.99 for a 12-ounce bottle
Best Foaming Hand Soap: Method Foaming Hand Wash
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Enjoy the frothy feeling of foaming hand soap but don’t know which brand to snag? Our testers recommend Method Foaming Hand Wash.
This hand soap left hands feeling so fresh and so clean. Even after repeated washings, hands weren’t cracked or chapped. As for the fragrance, Method does a great job at subtle scents that don’t overpower. The gentle Sea Minerals scent is crisp and refreshing. Method also has plenty of other perfectly understated fragrances that are ideal for the kitchen like Waterfall and Lemon Mint.
One other bonus: The bottle for our best foaming hand soap pick is sleek and stable. It looks nice perched on the edge of any sink and blends in easily with your decor.
- Available fragrances: Sea Minerals, Waterfall, Pink Grapefruit, Coconut Water, Orange Ginger, Lemon Mint and more
- Price: $2.99 for a 10-ounce bottle
Hand Washing Best Practices
Maggie Roethle/Taste of Home
With your favorite hand soap at the ready, you can take a little refresher course on hand washing. Remember to use hot water, suds up liberally and get into all the nooks and crannies. 20 seconds is just right for scrubbing away germs.