Whether you’re off on a city break or embarking on a month-long trek, a good hand soap should be an essential piece of your travel kit.
From bars to gels and from beeswax to glycerine, hand soaps come in more shapes and sizes than ever. But if you’re travelling, your soap requirements will be more specific than a bog-standard bathroom soap. The best hand travel soaps combine high-quality ingredients, antibacterial properties, convenient size and a great smell. They should last at least the duration of your trip too. Based on these criteria, we’ve selected ten of our favourite hand soaps for travellers.
Aesop’s Resurrection rinse-free handwash
Leave it to Aesop to produce the perfect, pocket-sized product for keeping hands clean when water isn’t readily available. Rinse-free and alcohol-based, this hand wash effectively cleanses hands and combats contagions, without drying them out. The wash is available in 500 ml or a more convenient 50 ml bottle, which can be squeezed directly onto dry hands. Unlike other alcohol-based washes, it doesn’t smell like chemicals — in fact, its citrus and herbaceous scent smells delicious. It’s sustainable and cruelty-free too.
Friendly Travel Soap
Friendly Soap is exactly that — soap that’s friendly for skin, customers and the environment. There are a range of heavenly scented soaps to choose from, but the Travel Soap is our top choice due to its space saving qualities. As well as cleansing and moisturising your hands, you can also use it as a luxurious shampoo and bodywash. Packed with lavender, lemongrass, peppermint and tea tree oil essential oils, it’s naturally antiseptic and anti-fungal, as well as an insect repellent. Packaging is recycled and recyclable and the brand is also registered with The Vegan Society.
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Liquid Soap
This nifty multi-purpose soap is fantastic for hands, but it also works well as a shampoo, deodorant, laundry detergent, dishwashing soap and shaving cream. The liquid version is packed full of organic ingredients grown by fairly-paid smallholder farmers in Ecuador, with no synthetic preservatives, detergents or foaming agents. It claims to be three times more concentrated than most liquid shops too, which means less package waste too. The formula contains special moisturising properties, so you’ll never need to worry about dry hands on the run either.
Funky Soap Lemon and tea tree antiseptic handwash
If you prefer using liquid soaps to bars, Funky Soap’s travel-size antiseptic handwash is an excellent option. Another all-natural product, the formula is slightly thinner than standard liquid washes since there are no added thickening agents, but it still guarantees to leave hands freshly clean and free from germs. The lemon and tea tree scent is refreshing, without being overwhelming too. The wash is paraben and SLS free, so great for skin that’s easily irritated, and it helpfully comes in a 100ml clear plastic bottle.
Fomin Antibacterial Paper Soap Sheets
These compact portable soap sheets are ideal for those long car, train or bus journeys on your trip. Each pack contains 300 sing-use sheets, so they’re guaranteed to last you the length of your trip too. All you need to do is grab a sheet, add water and watch the paper turn to a light lather that dissolves quickly and prevents dry hands. There are three scents to choose from (lavender, tea tree and lemon), or you could opt for unscented sheets if your hands are a little more sensitive. The soaps come in lightweight biodegradable packaging for worry-free disposal too.
The Shower Bar
The Shower Bar looks like an ordinary — albeit stylish — bar of soap but once lathered it turns into a shower gel that cleans and softens skin. Designed as an affordable soap that satisfies modern requirements for sustainability, you can pick up your Baron guilt-free. All products are free from plastics and the packaging is made of recyclable paper. Small, light and compact, you’ll be able to take this in your carry-on luggage too. It lasts even longer than an average bar of soap due to its foaming qualities, which makes it a great option for longer trips. You can purchase a stylish travel pouch with a waterproof lining to fit your soap in too.
Sea To Summit Hand Wash
These TSA-approved palm-sized packets include 50 leaves of dry soap that are super-light and easy to use. Simply add water and they’re ready to use. The flipflop pack fits easily into cabin baggage or a rucksack and the dry formula means there’s no risk of leakage or airport confiscation either. While the formula is PH neutral, phosphate and paraben free, it is also highly concentrated so isn’t recommended for travellers with sensitive skin. The soap has a pleasant light green tea fragrance too.
Pyramid Travel Soap
This versatile, concentrated liquid soap is an excellent hand wash, but it can also be used for just about anything including your hair, body and clothes. An ideal one-stop soap solution for backpackers and outdoor adventurers, each 60ml bottle will last at least a week. It’s 100% biodegradable and can be used with either fresh or salt water too. It may not smell as appealing as some of our other recommendations, but Pyramid are experts in outdoor adventure so it’s guaranteed to do the job required.
Michel Design Works Travel Soap
Purveyors of posh soap Michel Design Works are famous for combining natural fragrances with beautiful designs. This handy foaming soap measures just 12.7 cm by 3.6 cm, making it the perfect companion for flights, train and bus journeys. This particular variety has a sophisticated earl grey scent with hints of bergamot and lemon, so you could even use it in place of your usual perfume. All soaps are formulated with shea butter and aloe vera to gently cleanse and leave hands moisturised and well-nourished.
Pears Transparent Amber Soap
Pears is a household name, having produced its iconic transparent soaps for more than 200 years. Cheap, moisturizing and travel-size, it’s still a hard-to-beat offering. Each bar is made with natural oils and filtered by eye for purity to create a gentle soap. The addition of glycerin makes it an excellent choice for those with delicate skin or who will need to wash their hands more frequently. The standard 125g size is still small enough for travelling, with the advantage of being suitable for body wash too.