Soap is one of those products that we really can’t live without. Who wants to walk around with an unpleasant body odor? Or worse, get sick due to a lack of proper hygiene?
That’s why humans use millions of tons of soap each and every year. Soap is integral to our daily life.
But what about the great outdoors? What of the soap that ends up in our sewer system, which in turn eventually ends up dumped outside?
And if you are planning on doing some overnight camping, you might wonder if the soap you are using is good for the environment.
Well depending on the soap that you’re using, you could be doing some harm to the environment. Soaps containing petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens, and more will take forever to break down.
As those chemicals leach into the soil and water, they could poison plant life and animal life. And since it’s hard for bacteria to break these soaps down, the impacts can be long-lasting.
And with that in mind, do you really want these same chemicals running all over your body? We know that we sure wouldn’t!
That’s why you can’t go wrong with biodegradable body soap. They are typically made of oils, fats, and water, all of which can be easily broken down by bacteria. Good brands will also be completely free of problematic chemicals.
That said, not all biodegradable body soaps are created equal. Some brands turn to “greenwashing” in order to make their product seem eco-friendly when it’s really not. It’s not uncommon for sneaky companies to keep the nasty stuff while highlighting some of the good factors.
So we decided to go ahead and make it easy for you by creating this list of the top 10 best biodegradable body soaps of 2021.
We also included a buyer’s guide at the bottom for people who want to know what to watch out for. It’s always good to be informed, after all.
With all of that said, let’s jump right in and get started!
Note: We are committed to extensively researching and recommending the best products on the market. We are partnered with Amazon’s affiliate program and may receive commissions from affiliate links within our content, which comes at no extra cost to you.
Top 10 Best Biodegradable Body Soaps of 2021
#1 – Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
- Made with organic + fair trade certified ingredients.
- All natural, vegan, and contains no synthetic ingredients.
- Strong peppermint scent.
- Packaged in 100% recycled materials.
- 3x more concentrated than traditional liquid soaps.
Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap is a staple among all biodegradable body soaps. If you are looking for excellence, quality, and a washing experience that will leave you invigorated, then you won’t be disappointed with this brand.
What makes this soap stand above others is the fact that it’s highly multi-functional and very long-lasting. Since the soap is made to be 3 times more concentrated than your usual liquid soap, you can squeeze much far less for the same result. This can rack up big savings over time.
We also enjoy the strong peppermint aroma (thanks to the main ingredient being peppermint oil), which is perfect for starting the day with a well-needed energy boost. For those of you who might find the smell to be a bit strong, you can dilute it until a more comfortable smell is achieved.
It’s also nice knowing and supporting a company that puts there workers first and strives to maintain an ethical working environment. Fair pay, respectable work hours, and other benefits are at the forefront of this company.
This isn’t just fluff, either. The proof is in the quality of the product and the fact that it’s packaged in 100% recycled materials. It’s clear that this company cares about both people and the environment.
So if you are interested in supporting a high-quality product and a company that matches it, then we highly recommend checking out Dr. Bronner’s – Pure-Castile Liquid Soap.
#2 – Joshua Tree 8 oz. Body Wash
- Safe to use indoors, outdoors, on hand-washed laundry, on pets, and on dishware.
- Handcrafted with the high-quality natural and organic ingredients.
- Infused with multiple oils designed to hydrate and sooth your skin.
- Lathers up similar to traditional body wash.
- Tea Tree + Mint scent.
Joshua Tree 8 oz. Body Wash is a plant-based eco-soap designed to keep your skin hydrated long after it’s used.
We particularly enjoy the fact that this soap is made of many oils, including coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, palm kernel oil, and more. These natural oils help keep your skin feeling smooth and moisturized.
It even contains a bit of vitamin E (antioxidant) in order to protect your skin cells from damage.
As for the smell, this soap is infused with a earthy and minty scent. This combination is both relaxing and refreshing, making it perfect after a long day at work or even in the woods. Nothing says relaxation like enjoying the scents of minty trees, right
This soap also lathers up pretty nicely, which can be uncommon among biodegradable body soaps. But don’t worry, this soap is still 100% biodegradable. So if you still want the fun of lathering yourself up, this soap has you covered!
It’s also worth noting that this soap can be used for multiple things in multiple places. This includes indoors, outdoors, on pets, and on dishware. This is especially useful if you plan to go camping outdoors, as it means that you only have to carry one brand of soap for multiple uses.
You can also use it to wash your clothes, but be warned that it won’t come out as pretty as a washer can do. And please, do not use this soap in a washer. Stick to hand-washing only, though you still may want to use dedicated outdoors laundry soaps for a quality wash.
If that sounds like a good deal to you, then we recommend checking out the Joshua Tree 8 oz. Body Wash.
#3 – Outdoor RX Biodegradable Soap
- Fragrance-free body soap.
- Small, travel-size container.
- Safe for cleaning hands, bodies, dishes, and more.
- Compatible with fresh, salt, hot, or cold water.
The best way to describe Outdoor RX Biodegradable Soap is with one word:
This body soap is just about as basic as it gets. No frills. It gets the job done quickly and efficiently without anything to distract or get in the way.
As a result, this soap is fragrance-free. For people who suffer from fragrance allergies, this is one of the best solutions out there.
Because while there isn’t much to the soap in terms of fancy add-ons, there is still a lot of quality to be found here. This soap is very good at keeping you clean and even better at being removed.
Since this soap does not stick to you (no suds or lather), it only takes a fraction of the normal amount of water to get yourself rinsed. This saves you the time and energy it takes to lug liters of water away from your water source.
That said, there have been a few issues that we feel we need to address.
Some users have noted that the container isn’t all that great at actually holding the soap. It may be better to transfer this soap into another container.
Others have noted that while the soap is advertised to be concentrated, it doesn’t seem to be actually be that concentrated. You probably won’t need to dilute it at all.
But don’t let these criticisms fool you. This is still a beloved product with hundreds of satisfied users. We wouldn’t have included it on this list if it sucked, after all.
So if you are looking for a biodegradable body soap that’s easy to travel with and great at washing/rinsing, then consider checking out the Outdoor RX Biodegradable Soap.
#4 – Coghlan’s Soap
- Good for keeping your hands (especially after using the bathroom) and dishes clean.
- Refillable travel-sized squeeze body makes for simple transport and use. Easily tucks into pockets, gearboxes, or packs.
- Features a mild coconut oil fragrance.
Coghlan’s Soap is another simple, biodegradable body soap featured on our list. Like the previous entry, it’s a product that offers utility over features, though there are a few key differences.
Unlike the previous entry, this soap embraces the tropical smell of coconut, which can be super soothing both indoors and outdoors. It also has an odor masking effect, making it good for cleaning out smelly places (toilets, anyone?).
This is thanks to the coconut oil featured in the ingredients list, which helps smooth your skin’s texture and can reduce signs of aging.
The bottle is only 2 fluid ounces (59mL). And since it’s not concentrated, it doesn’t have that many uses. According to the company, this bottle can support around 50+ washings. Keep in mind that this is entirely dependent on how much you use for your needs.
It may be wise to get more than one when camping or traveling a great distance from civilization. On the other hand, its small size makes it perfect to place in your pockets and gear pouches.
What we like most about this product is its reliability. There are users who have used this product for decades without any issue, which is a direct benefit to keeping the soap as simple as possible. No need to fix what isn’t broken, after all.
And let us tell you, tons of people adore using this soap.
So if you are looking for the perfect sudsy travel companion or just want to embrace biodegradable body soap at home, we recommend that you check out the time-tested Coghlan’s Soap,
#5 – Sierra Dawn Campsuds
- Concentrated formula – only need a few drops to last multiple uses.
- Tough on dirt, yet gentle on skin and clothes.
- Features a light lemon-lime fragrance.
- Works with hot, cold, fresh, or saltwater.
- Made from all-natural ingredients.
A bottle of Sierra Dawn Campsuds can last much longer than it seems. This brand of soap can give you the washing power you need with only a few drops.
So even with a small bottle, you’ll feel like you have a tub of the stuff. Some users have reported using the same bottle for years without being close to running out. Keep in mind that the bottle can still unexpectedly run out if used generously over multiple days.
The soap’s list of all-natural, vegetable-derived ingredients is specifically formulated to strongly attack dirt and grime. But while it’s tough on the filth, it’s also gentle on your skin and clothes.
You won’t have to worry about harsh chemicals negatively reacting with your body even if your skin is sensitive. Just lather up your washcloth of choice and start washing without a care in the world. It rinses off easily, too.
There is a hint of a lemon-lime fragrance in this soap, which is just enough to tickle your nose with the scents of the forest without being overbearing. While light, the scent is also invigorating and can start your day off on a high note.
The portable, lightweight nature of the bottle also makes it easy to transport for camping, hiking, backpacking, and other travel. It’s also a great eco-friendly addition to your home.
If you are looking for a concentrated, travel-size bottle of potent biodegradable body wash, then we recommend that you check out a bottle of Sierra Dawn Campsuds.
#6 – Cleancult Natural Soap Bar
- Gentle, non-irritating soap bar that’s perfect for all skin types.
- A restorative blend of coconut oil, olive oil, and vitamin E to keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.
- All-natural fragrance of lemongrass.
- 5 oz. soap bar is designed to effectively clean your face, hands, and body.
- Eco-friendly, paper-based packaging.
The Cleancult Natural Soap Bar is an excellent choice for enjoying an all natural cleaning experience with a soap bar rather than liquid soap.
What’s nice about soap bars is that they are very easy to both transport and use. All you need is water in order to start washing yourself. You can even use the bar itself to clean your body and cut down on using wash cloths, saving both time and money.
Soap bars also tend to last longer than liquid soap. For the same amount of soap bar vs. liquid soap in weight, a soap bar will generally last 6 times as long.
This is because people have a harder time measuring how much liquid soap they need, leading to excessive use. This soap bar eliminates that problem.
Even better, there is no need for a plastic bottle like liquid soap needs. This bar comes with paper-based, eco-friendly packaging that’s easy to recycle. It’s about as eco-friendly as it gets!
And that’s not all.
What we like most about this bar is its combination of a moisturizing, restorative blend of coconut oil, olive oil, and vitamin E. Despite this being included with other biodegradable body soaps, it’s nice to have this blend available in a soap bar.
The scent of lemongrass is both refreshing and uplifting. The smell is not too overpowering. Instead, it’s more mellow and subtle, making it perfect as a complimentary fragrance.
So if you are looking for a lemony smelling soap bar made with high-quality, all-natural ingredients, then we recommend that you check out the Cleancult Natural Soap Bar.
#7 – Stream2Sea Conditioning Shampoo & Body Wash
- 3 in 1 Body Wash – Shampoo – Conditioner that doesn’t compromise on quality for each function.
- Unique UV absorbent formula blocks harmful sun rays while also protecting hair fibers.
- Made with all-natural ingredients including green tea, tulsi, wakame, and olive leaf.
- Eco-friendly formula is claimed to be safe for fish and coral larvae.
- Features a tropical fragrance that will bring your senses to the beach in seconds.
- The container is easy to use, travel-friendly and is made from recycled materials.
Stream2Sea Conditioning Shampoo & Body Wash is a great eco-friendly choice for people who are looking for an all-in-one soap that’s also water-safe.
But even though the soap claims to be safe for fish and coral larvae, we still highly suggest that you practice good washing habits and stay away from washing directly in any body of water.
That said, the soap itself is pretty great. This brand makes sure that you aren’t compromising quality for any of the intended uses, though you shouldn’t expect it to work as perfectly as a standalone soap product.
The soap is made with natural ingredients like green tea, tulsi, wakame, and olive leaf. These will leave your skin and your hair feeling smooth and smelling tropical.
The formula is also UV absorbent (blocks sun rays) and protects your hair thanks to its Keratin/Panthenol infusions. You can start to repair damaged/broken hair even in the wild thanks to the container’s easy portability.
The container itself is made from 97% recyclable materials (mainly sugarcane resin), allowing you to recycle the bottle once more after you are finished with it.
So if you are looking for a convenient, easy-to-use biodegradable soap that can also double as shampoo/conditioner, then we recommend that you check out Stream2Sea Conditioning Shampoo & Body Wash.
#8 – Everyone 3-in-1 Soap
- Skin-nourishing blend of creamy coconut, other organic plant extracts, vitamin E, and lemon pure essential oil.
- No parabens, no phthalates, no fake fragrance, no dyes, no harsh detergents. This brand emphasizes natural ingredients.
- Cruelty-free, GMO-free, EWG (Environmental Working Group) verified, polysorbate-free, and disodium EDTA free.
Everyone 3-in-1 Soap is a good option for people who are looking for that thick, soapy combination found in traditional liquid soap while still being eco-friendly.
This soap is more simple than other ones, choosing instead to focus on the “less is more” idea. Creamy coconut is the main ingredient and is responsible for the thicker texture.
The fragrance of natural coconut and lemon is pretty strong, which is great for people who enjoy the robust scents of the Earth.
There is also vitamin E and other organic plant extracts, all of which help to complete the nourishing effects on the skin and hair.
Best of all, this soap can be diluted (which makes it biodegradable too) so that it lasts longer. It’s not a requirement, but it’s great for people who don’t want or need all of the suds.
This soap also comes with several accreditations. It’s been verified by the EWG, meaning that it’s proven to be free from the company’s list of problematic chemicals.
The company behind this soap is also partnered with the non-GMO Project, which verifies that all of the ingredients are 100% natural and not tampered with.
It’s also been certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to be gluten-free. The Leaping Bunny Organization has also verified that this soap has never been tested on animals.
So when the soap is claimed to be paraben-free, phthalates-free, have no fake fragrance, dyes-free, free from harsh detergents, you know it’s the truth.
We recommend that you check out Everyone 3-in-1 Soap if you want the sudsy feeling of traditional soap while practicing eco-friendly habits. Just make sure that you really like coconut!
#9 – Dead Down Wind Base Camp Biodegradable Camp Soap
- Fantastic odor killer – eliminates chemical and organic odors with ease.
- The small, travel-sized bottle makes transport simple and easy.
- Safe for sensitive skin as well as the outdoors.
- No antimicrobials, sulfates, or phosphates that can endanger wildlife.
- Certified “Climate Pledge Friendly” and Compact by Design.
Dead Down Wind Base Camp Biodegradable Camp Soap is a general, all-purpose biodegradable soap that emphasizes easy transport and effective odor removal.
This soap doesn’t produce as many suds as some other soaps and contains more “chemicals”. However, these chemicals are not dangerous to the environment nor to your skin.
The soap itself is pretty simple. You only have to use a small amount for each cleaning, making the bottle last deceptively long. Just know that you must apply the soap directly to whatever surface you wish to clean.
It’s fragrance-free, making it a good choice for people sensitive to smells. The soap is also pretty gentle on the skin, so you don’t have to worry about any unpleasant irritations even if you have sensitive skin.
What we noticed is that this soap really shines is on the go. The soap is certified by Amazon to be both Climate Pledge Friendly, and the bottle design is certified to be Compact by Design.
This just means that the product itself is eco-friendly while the bottle is designed in a way that reduces carbon emissions. The lack of sulfates, phosphates, and antimicrobial agents also help to support a better, healthier environment.
So if you are looking for an eco-friendly, certified, and easy-to-use bottle of biodegradable soap, then we recommend checking out Dead Down Wind Base Camp Biodegradable Camp Soap.
#10 – Ma’na Organix – All Natural Hemp Oil & Spearmint Soap Bar
- Moisturizing lather cleans your skin without removing natural oils.
- Rich in minerals like potassium and calcium – contains high levels of Vitamin A, C, and E, all of which greatly benefit your skin.
- Organic-certified ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.
- Spearmint-Infused Hemp Oil provides rejuvenating effects on the body, including healing burns and soothing inflammation caused acne, skin irritations, insect bites, etc.
Ma’na Organix – All Natural Hemp Oil & Spearmint Soap Bar is a one of the best biodegradable soaps for your skin and body health.
This is largely thanks to all of the natural ingredients stuffed into one big bar of soap. You will be exposed to vitamin A, C, E, spearmint, hemp oil, and other popular organic oils (olive, coconut, etc.).
These help to not only keep your skin clean and moisturized, but also provide healing effects for skin problems like acne, mosquito bites, and sun burns.
The spearmint infusion gives the soap a sweet, minty aroma that’s pleasant without being overbearing. You won’t smell like hemp at all since the concentration is only 1 ounce per bar. Don’t be fooled though, for this amount is more than enough to enjoy its medicinal benefits.
The soap’s eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging makes it a great choice for the planet as well. Its colorful appearance is thanks to the use of mica, a natural mineral that is safe for washing.
And don’t worry, this soap is 100% non-psychoactive. You won’t feel high or experience any other mental effects by using it. You’ll can just enjoy the feel of a soap that works best for your skin and the earth.
So if you are looking for an eco-friendly soap that focuses on treating your skin the way it deserves, then we recommend you check out the Ma’na Organix – All Natural Hemp Oil & Spearmint Soap Bar.
What to Look Out for When Picking Biodegradable Body Soaps – Buyer’s Guide
Going green with your body soap doesn’t have to be a challenge as long as you know what to look out for.
Here are a few things that you should keep an eye on when shopping around.
Make Sure There Are No Nasty Chemicals
Obviously, you don’t want to lather yourself (or your dishes) with suds that are steeped in questionable chemicals. And if those chemicals make it into the environment, they will do a whole lot of damage.
You are going to want to check and make sure that your soap is free from these chemicals.
True eco-friendly, green, and organic brands will often advertise what ISN’T in their soap. Here are a few keywords that you should look out for:
- Paraben(s)-free (parabens have been linked to promote breast cancer cells).
- Sulfate(s)-free (sulfates can damage your hair and has other toxic effects).
- Phthalate(s)-free (phthalates can damage your liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system).
These are the three most common chemicals that you should definitely try to avoid in your biodegradable soap.
You will also want to try and avoid these:
- Synthetic preservatives (prevents soap from breaking down organically).
- Thickeners (potential environmental contamination from chemicals or byproducts).
- Foaming agents (linked to cancer when applied topically on animals).
Now, that doesn’t mean that all synthetic preservatives, thickeners, or foaming agents are bad for you and the environment.
But unless you know exactly how these chemicals work, it’s probably best to not deal with them at all.
Check the Concentration of the Soap
You will want to keep an eye on the concentration of the soap. While most soaps can be used as is, the more concentrated ones work better when diluted.
Generally, the company will advertise just how concentrated their soap will be. It’s often 2x or 3x more concetration than traditional soaps.
It’s highly recommended that you dilute these soaps in particular, as these soaps feel more like syrup when left undiluted. Undiluted, concentrated body soap is also harder to remove and can cause you to waste more resources trying to get rid of it.
There are a couple of benefits to using concentrated soaps.
They tend to last much longer since you don’t need as much soap per use. You can also customize how concentrated you want your soap without worrying about over-dilution.
With that in mind, there’s something convenient about being able to use soap that hasn’t been concentrated. We won’t deny that maximizing the value of concentrated soaps takes a bit of effort, though it’s not much.
So before hitting the “buy” button, check and see if your body soap is the right concentration. You’ll avoid a lot of headaches with some prior research.
Try to Go for Eco-Friendly Packaging
What good is biodegradable soap if it comes in packaging that harms the environment? Eco-friendly packaging is the way to go!
When checking out biodegradable body soaps, we recommend supporting companies that packaging their products with the following materials (in order):
- Biodegradable material.
- Recycled materials.
- Partially recycled materials.
Biodegradable materials are the best. These can include biodegradable packing peanuts, corrugated bubble wrap, cornstarch, and even seaweed packaging.
These materials are designed to break down in the environment and leave no lasting negative impact.
Fully and partially recycled materials are the next best thing. These can include paper, cardboard, air pillows, and recycled plastics.
These materials can be easily recycled, renewing their purpose once more while keeping them out of landfills.
Sometimes, you can’t avoid packaging that isn’t very eco-conscious. This is common with companies that don’t sell directly to their consumers.
In those instances, all you can really do is reach out to third-party sellers are request that they consider switching to eco-friendly packaging materials instead.
Check and See What is in the Soap – Oils and Fragrances
It’s not just problematic chemicals you should watch out for. It’s very common for body soaps to use appealing fragrances and natural oils. Biodegradable body soaps are no different.
For many people, this won’t be a problem. If you can use traditional body soap without issues, then you’ll probably be fine with any biodegradable brand.
But it pays to do your diligence. If you know that you are allergic to a natural oil or chemical frequently used in a particular fragrance, then you should avoid soaps that contain them.
If you plan to use your biodegradable body soap outdoors, then you REALLY don’t want to get stuck in nature with an allergic rash or other symptoms.
If that sounds like a concern to you, there are definitely eco-friendly soap brands out there that are as “bare-bones” as possible. No oils, no fragrances, no suds, just the soap itself.
If you enjoy using natural oils and like the smell of a particular soap brand, then go ahead and give it a go!
We don’t want to limit you, but rather keep you aware of things that you might otherwise not consider. We enjoy our smells too (my wife and I are partial to vanilla ourselves)!
Portability of the Soap – And Stay Out of Water!
Planning a hike, a camping trip, or some other outdoor activity? If you are planning on bathing yourself in the great outdoors, then you’ll need to keep the portability of your soap in mind.
But before we talk about that, here’s a quick tip: do not wash yourself in any body of water. That includes rivers and lakes. Even if the soap claims to be safe for any body of water, it’s best not to take the chance.
Soap suds and other byproducts of a soapy wash can harm marine life, which in turn affects other wildlife too. Plus, water dramatically slows down the biodegradation process; biodegradable soap REQUIRES soil to properly decompose. This can cause negative impacts to worsen over time.
So instead of a river wash, try the ol’ trail wash instead. This involves washing yourself at least 200 feet away from the body of water. You can transport a few liters of water and use that as a rinse after washing with your biodegradable body soap.
Once you are done with your soapy wash, dig a hole that 6 to 8 inches and bury the leftovers in there. This will allow the soil to quickly begin the biodegradation process.
Just make sure to avoid fungi, as their spores can latch onto you and potentially make your day a rough one. You don’t want to contract something dangerous from a rouge mushroom, after all.
Now, back to soaps!
Some soaps are small and can fit in your pocket, making them perfect for travel no matter where you go. Other soaps may have nozzles and other attachments that are better left in an RV.
If you are travelling far, then you’ll likely have a backpack. Keep the design of the soap container in mind as you travel. Containers that have nozzles may be accidentally pushed, wasting precious soap.
If your clothing itself is holding your belongings, then you might want to go lighter and smaller.
While a larger bottle can last you longer, it may prove to be a hassle when you are tired and every bit of extra weight feels like an anvil. This applies somewhat to backpacks as well.
Overall, you’re going to want to go with the size that best suits your outdoor needs. Having biodegradable soap that’s easy to transport just makes the experience that much sweeter.
All right, that wraps up our list of the top 10 best biodegradable soaps of 2021 + buyer’s guide. We hope you enjoyed it and found it useful!
Questions, comments, concerns, or just wanna chat? Leave a comment below and we’ll get right back to you. We’d love to hear from you all.
As always, thanks for reading! We appreciate you stopping by!
Let’s continue to strive for a greener, better way of living!