Hand soap is one of those products that most people don't even think about. But it actually can have a big impact on health. If you think about how many times a day you wash your hands, you'll get an idea of how much toxic exposure that adds up to if you're using a chemical-laden hand soap.
First of all, beware of hand soap that is "antibacterial." That means it has some form of antibiotic in it. With the overuse of antibiotics today, many strains of bacteria are becoming resistant, and using "antibacterial" hand soap contributes to this problem. Not to mention it's yet another toxic chemical your body will have to detox.
Another thing to watch for is hand soap that is made in China! Almost every product made in China contains high levels of toxic chemicals. You definitely don't want to be washing your hands with toxic soap.
For the last several years I used baking soda exclusively for washing my hands. It's worked fine for me, though I realize many people prefer an actual soap. Several months ago I began looking for a natural bar or liquid soap that I could use instead of baking soda. I was shocked at some of the ingredients I found while reading soap labels. Here's just one example, a list of ingredients for a name brand hand soap (I didn't even include them all):
Sodium Laureth Sulfate,
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine,
Calcium Stearate, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, Isostearamidopropyl
Morpholine Lactate, Peg-18 Glyceryl Oleate/Cocoate, Fragrance (Parfum),
Cocamide Mea, Polyquaternium-7, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Guar
Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Dmdm Hydantoin, Tetrasodium Edta, Acrylates/Aminoacrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Peg-20 Itaconate
Copolymer, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140), Blue 1 (Ci 42090).
I'm not sure what happened to the soap industry that they can't just make plain soap anymore. It's sad. Thankfully, after much research I finally found two options that are completely natural. One is Olivella fragrance-free bar soap. The other is Fiji Coconut Oil bar soap, fragrance-free. My local health food store carries both brands, or you can find them online.
There are some other natural companies now making soaps with various essential oils. Some of those might be ok for most people. Personally I try to stick with the fewest ingredients possible, which is why I selected the two soaps above.
For those who prefer a liquid soap, I found a recipe online where you can turn your natural bar soap into a liquid. It sounds fairly simple and is very cost-effective.
Keeping hands clean is important for good health. But so is using a non-toxic soap. I hope this info is helpful. Let me know any comments or questions you have, or any suggestions of a non-toxic soap you have found. =)