What's the best hand soap?
August 17, 2021 9:23 AM   Subscribe

We used to use Milk & Golden Honey Softsoap here at home, for years, refilling the little dispensers when they went empty. The scent was fine, not overpowering. Then during the pandemic, Softsoap changed the formula - and now Milk & Golden Honey smells like Triple Floral Blast. So we need to change hand soap brands...

Preferably the new soap would come in a pump-dispenser and be:

- very lightly scented, and not floral
- not too expensive (i.e., no super expensive handmade artisanal batches)
- available outside of Amazon, as we do not shop there
- if possible, made with non-toxic ingredients

Any suggestions?
posted by mark7570 to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Method Sweet Water is pretty great for a "neutral"/non-floral scent, though I can't totally remember how light or heavy the scent is.
posted by mosst at 9:25 AM on August 17, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I like a lot of the Method scents, as well. Maybe they will be too strong for you, I'm not sure, but a lot of them aren't floral at all, which I like. Sea Minerals is my favourite.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:29 AM on August 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Check out Seventh Generation's hand soaps. Their scents are light and pleasant. And Seventh Generation is a truly green company, unlike some of their greenwashing peers.
posted by cursed at 9:31 AM on August 17, 2021

I like the Softsoap Aloe Vera Soothing Clean – I find it to be very lightly scented. Second choice is Method brand as mentioned above, their scents are not as overpowering as other soaps and cleansers to me as well.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 9:46 AM on August 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love Seventh Generation. I use the fragrance free.
posted by SageTrail at 9:55 AM on August 17, 2021

Method Sweet Water is great - the scent is extraordinarily light.
posted by brainmouse at 9:59 AM on August 17, 2021

Method also makes an unscented variety.
posted by XtineHutch at 10:11 AM on August 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thirding Method Sweet Water. It’s just pleasant and inoffensive without the undertones of Car Wash Musk that seem to be a requirement of every scented product right now.
posted by corey flood at 10:19 AM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: I took a big pandemic chance and ordered 4 64-oz refills from Puracy last year (via their own website) and I liked them all. I am also extremely sensitive to floral scents and soap smells generally. I got "Cucumber & Mint" and "Citrus & Sea Salt".

Edit to add: I did that because Method Sweet Water & Unscented were sold out for a while. Now I do not plan to switch back.
posted by Emmy Rae at 10:21 AM on August 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

I also really like Method’s Sea Minerals and Sweet Water varieties.
posted by General Malaise at 10:22 AM on August 17, 2021

I like the Puracy Citrus and Sea Salt (which I get from my local no-waste store - if you have something like this nearby you can try out just a taste!), other faves are the Trader Joe's (Trader Jacque's) French orange blossom and honey (subtle and natural-smelling, but it's actual soap not detergent and doesn't give you as squeaky-clean of a feeling, which I generally like) and Everyone Apricot and Vanilla.

Sweet Water is a little too sweet for me.
posted by mskyle at 10:33 AM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: In addition to the Method varieties listed above (of the two I prefer Sea Minerals), Target's "Smartly" brand has one called "Summertime" that smells vaguely of citrus and honeysuckle that also does a good job disappearing after your hands are dried. It has tended to go out of stock for long stretches during the pandemic, but it's only 99¢ when they have it so it's a much better deal than Method.

We have Mrs. Meyer's lemon verbena at our kitchen sink. The fragrance is much longer lasting than the others mentioned and isn't a great solution if you only want something that disappears, but it does a really good job neutralizing garlic so it's good for that use and I don't mind the fragrance when I do notice it.
posted by fedward at 10:39 AM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: I use my body wash as hand soap. So you can expand beyond “hand soap” if you can’t find anything. Body wash is sometimes less scented.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:35 AM on August 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I prefer the method unscented, but we've had the trader joes lemon hand soap at our kitchen sink for a while, and it's fine. Not overly scented. I just prefer the feel of the method soap.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 11:36 AM on August 17, 2021

Nthing Method. For a long time, I purchased the grapefruit scent for handsoap but have had difficulty finding it during the pandemic. I've used other Method scents and found them all tolerable to good.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:48 PM on August 17, 2021

I get the Softsoap Liquid Hand Soap Refill - Aquarium Series at Target because it comes in a big bottle (so I don't have to buy it very often), works fine, and is barely scented.
posted by dreamyshade at 2:00 PM on August 17, 2021

As someone with a super sensitive nose, I am a big believer in Method Sweet Water but the other one that I'll put up with is Jason's Glowing Apricot.
posted by machine at 2:37 PM on August 17, 2021

I prefer Method's Sweet Water over Sea Minerals (am struggling to use up Sea Minerals right now, it feels too strong for me).
Seconding Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena. Lemon Verbena is a pretty common scent but I feel like they do it well and it meets your non-floral requirement. It's available everywhere, cheapest at Target. In my opinion, the Lemon Verbena scent is less intense than Sea Minerals.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 3:17 PM on August 17, 2021

The softsoap refills sold at costco in "soothing aloe vera" are very lightly scented. I tend to buy unscented products, but these don't bother me.
posted by ice-cream forever at 6:30 PM on August 17, 2021

Target has a "milk and golden honey" soft soap variety, where I bought a giant refill container. I also felt the Softsoap milk and golden honey version was the least harsh and least offensive variety, and the Target substitute has been just fine. It dries out my hands less than alternatives I've tried, and the scent dissipates quickly.
posted by citygirl at 6:45 PM on August 17, 2021

I happened to buy a Kroger store brand Honey Citrus and Shea Butter refill that smells similar to the old Softsoap formula.
posted by doift at 8:34 PM on August 17, 2021

Best answer: One more to add to the mix: I use Dr. Bronner's diluted with water (1:1 more or less) in a foaming pump dispenser. I use citrus in the kitchen and lavender in the bathroom. I buy a large Bronner's and distilled water and refill the pumps with those.

I love the clarity and mildness of their scents (straightforward, fresh), the refillability/low waste, and the low price point. Highly recommend!
posted by marlys at 9:21 AM on August 18, 2021

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