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Choosing the Best Liquid Hand Soap Refill: The Criteria That Matter

One of the best things we can do for the planet is to look for reusable, recyclable options and to implement them into our daily lives as often as possible. The world is full of single-use items but that doesn’t mean your life has to be. One way to reduce your consumption is to use refillable products like liquid hand soap refills

Why Use Hand Soap Refill Bottles

Choosing the Best Liquid Hand Soap Refill: The Criteria That Matter

Everyone uses hand soap (correction: everyone should use hand soap) but not everyone does so in a way that is environmentally friendly. Single-use plastics are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and the landfill issues our planet faces. Many liquid hand soaps come in plastic containers that may or may not be recyclable. Either way, they’re rarely re-used in the way that bottles intended to be refilled are. One way to lessen the load of our carbon footprint is to choose liquid hand soap that can go in refillable bottles. Rather than tossing one plastic bottle after another away once it has been used, liquid hand soap refills simply require users to finish the liquid product. Once that’s done, all you need to do is wash the bottle and refill it!

This environmentally friendly solution can help people save money and resources while improving their handwashing experience and preserving Earth’s natural resources. Plus, some refill bottles are simply beautiful. Just look at the ones we have at Malie. Our gorgeous glass apothecary bottles come with a golden charm made of rust-resistant zinc alloys featuring the product name and a Malie lotus. 

Now that you know why it’s a good idea to invest in refillable liquid hand soap bottles, it’s time to know what to look for in your refill hand soap liquids.

What to Look for When Choosing Liquid Hand Soap Refills

Choosing the Best Liquid Hand Soap Refill: The Criteria That Matter

Smart consumers know that major purchases require careful consideration. While liquid hand soap refills may not be the biggest purchase you’ll ever make, they are still investments, which means it’s important to consider a variety of factors before you settle on the right refill for you. Here’s what to look for when evaluating refill hand soap options.


This is arguably the most important aspect of a liquid hand soap refill. After all, what you’re putting inside the refillable bottle matters most. It is imperative that the hand soap solution be made of high quality ingredients that will effectively cleanse your hands without irritating them. The ingredient profile of your liquid hand soap refill therefore matters quite a lot. 

First and foremost, look for natural ingredients with names you recognize. It’s possible you won’t recognize every ingredient on the list, but nothing should stand out in a jarring or concerning way. Heavy chemicals are instant red flags. Look for ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut, vegetable glycerin, jojoba seed oil, and vitamin E. 

What’s Missing

Equally important to what is in the liquid hand soap refill is what is not in it, namely harsh chemicals and the like. Liquid hand soap that is cruelty-free, vegan, and free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, mineral oil, silicone, talc, and gluten will usually make this known. It’s always better to use a product that does not have these products and instead prioritizes natural ingredients that are as effective if not more at cleansing your hands.

It’s important to avoid these ingredients, but it’s also important to know why.

  • Parabens. These synthetic preservatives are commonly used in many personal care products, hand soaps included. While the FDA has concluded that parabens are safe for use in cosmetics at current exposure levels, there is cause for concern. The potential for these preservatives to accumulate in the body by getting absorbed into the skin could have detrimental health effects.  
  • Sulfates. Despite their effectiveness at creating lather and helping remove dirt and oil, sulfates are concerning for their potential to cause skin irritation, eye irritation, and disruption of the skin’s natural protective barrier.
  • Phthalates. Similar to the aforementioned chemicals, phthalates may also impact the body’s normal functions in a variety of ways. Phthalates are banned and restricted in certain countries and are heavily regulated by the FDA, therefore reinforcing the notion that it is a good idea to avoid liquid hand soaps with phthalates in them.
  • Petrochemicals. If learning that petrochemicals are chemical compounds derived from petroleum and natural gas doesn’t sit well with you, we don’t blame you.  Some personal care products like hand soaps contain petrochemicals, but their potential health concerns, bioaccumulation, contribution to plastic pollution, and dependence on y non-renewable resources makes them a red flag for those on the hunt for responsible hand soap refills. 
  • Mineral oil. Another petroleum- derived ingredient, mineral oil may compromise the skin’s ability to breathe, which could clog pores. Additionally, mineral oil is non-biodegradable, which negatively contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and the environmental pollution problem.
  • Silicone. Although it is generally considered safe for topical use on the skin (i.e., in hand soaps), the slippery residue that it leaves behind may be off putting for people and leave them feeling that their hands aren’t fully clean. Silicone is also non-biodegradable, making it a less than ideal choice for personal care products. 
  • Talc. Despite its frequent use in cosmetic and personal care products including hand soaps, talc may present certain health risks. Talc has been linked to contamination and health concerns, which has resulted in many manufacturers that abstain from using the substance to label their products as talc-free.
  • Gluten. Although typically not a cause for concern when not consumed through food, gluten may still present problems for people with extreme sensitivities. Even trace amounts in products like liquid hand soaps could be inadvertently ingested through mere exposure and cause negative reactions. It is therefore significantly safer to avoid including gluten in products all together and use alternatives instead.

Antimicrobial/Antibacterial Properties

While we’re on the subject of what to look for in liquid hand soap refills, one of the most important aspects is its effectiveness. How antibacterial and/or antimicrobial the liquid hand soap refill is matters given that its purpose is to cleanse your hands and eliminate dirt, debris. Some people think that strong chemicals are the only way to really get rid of bacteria but that is certainly not the case. In fact, many chemicals can have ultra drying effects. The right liquid hand soap refill will be made from ingredients that are naturally effective. Coconut oil, for example, has natural antibacterial properties, making it the perfect addition to any liquid hand soap. Not only is it nourishing but it’s also cleansing – talk about a win-win!


The size of the product matters quite a lot when you’re purchasing in bulk, as you will for refillable liquid hand soap bottles. While more is not always better, in this case it is important to look for a large hand soap refill solution. You’ll want to purchase about a gallon of hand soap at a time. One gallon jugs of Malie organic hand soap are equivalent to 8 of the 16 oz bottles. This makes it perfect for using with a refill bottle (ours or any container you choose). Our liquid hand soap refills have a 2-year shelf life, which should be more than enough to keep you covered for the entirety of your product’s use.


Another key factor when choosing the right liquid hand soap refill is how environmentally friendly the ingredients and the manufacturing processes are. People who care about the environment and the preservation of natural resources need to prioritize using sustainable products made in a responsible manner. Recyclable packaging and ingredients that are naturally biodegradable are smart choices. These should be considerations when thinking about what type of liquid hand soap refill to purchase. 


The final element to examine when choosing liquid hand soap refills is compatibility, both with the refill bottle and with your skin. The consistency of the liquid must be the right thickness so it can easily go through the pump bottle and get dispensed without getting stuck. It is therefore a good idea to purchase liquid hand soap refills and bottles from the same manufacturer, as this gives you the best chance of optimal compatibility.

Also necessary to consider when it comes to compatibility is your skin type. Everyone’s hands are different, so what they need in terms of moisturization and hydration will differ. It is important to evaluate your skin needs and then determine if the ingredients in the hand soap will help or hinder your goals. Looking for soothing elements? Aloe vera is probably the way to go. For deep moisturization and rejuvenation, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E should do the trick. 

If you’re looking for a high quality liquid hand soap refill made with natural ingredients you can trust, Malie is here to provide. Powered by plant science and inspired by paradise, Malie offers an eco-friendly refill solution to keep your hands and the planet safe and clean. For questions about our products, we encourage you to contact us today.

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