The Best Liquid Hand Soaps

Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Body & Hand Wash
Molton Brown Lime & Patchouli Hand Wash
Kiehl’s Liquid Hand Soap “Coriander”
Philip B. Lavender Hand Wash
Aesope Reverence and Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash
Eau D’Italie Verbena & Sage Liquid Soap
8 bubbles

We’re moving into a new office in a few weeks, one equipped with our very own bathroom—how glamorous! This means many things: the possibility for us to create a dream space something along the lines of these, maybe one day installing a tub (allowing us to bathe on the clock), and, perhaps the most exciting of them all: we no longer need to use communal-bathroom hand soap!

You know which I’m talking about—those wall-mounted pumps that smell vaguely like your pediatrician’s office. They’re not terrible, but there's definitely room for improvement. While it would be nice to have dishes of artisan-carved soap bars, when it comes to even semi-public restrooms, liquid soap is essential—it’s a bathroom, after all; you know exactly where those hands have been (TMI? Eh? Sorry…). So in preparation for our new digs, we’ve sought out the best of the liquid soaps the world has to offer:

If you want to be that weird person sniffing their hands for hours after they’re washed: try Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Body & Hand Wash or Molton Brown Lime & Patchouli Hand Wash. Both soaps lather quickly into a very fragrant—in a sophisticated/posh lady type of way—and sudsy wash. The aroma sticks around on your hands for a while, so long utensils are your best bet if you plan on eating a meal shortly after.

If perfumed hands aren't your thing: pick up Kiehl’s Coriander Liquid Hand Soap. With a very light and sweet scent, this wash will get your hands clean (and hydrated, thanks to the inclusion of aloe and vitamin E), without competing against the fragrance you’re already wearing.

For your powder room: turn to Philip B. Lavender Hand Wash. This aromatic and relaxing soap will leave you smelling of the pure Provençal lavender used as a natural antiseptic to keep your hands (so) fresh and (so) clean (clean).

If you’re looking for a bit of exfoliation while you cleanse: Aesop’s Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash is what you need. Using “finely milled pumice,” your hands will not only be clean, but will be baby-bottom soft après sink.

For those who count packaging as equally important to actual product: try Eau D’Italie Verbena & Sage Liquid Soap. Let’s all come out and admit it, sometimes it is all about the looks. When soap is taking up valuable sink space, shouldn’t it be pretty too? It’s merely an added benefit that your hands will smell like a combination of citrus, sage, and pine after your wash.

Did we miss anything? Let me know down below!

—Elizabeth Brockway

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Alyssa Gapske

    Also on the subject of "that weird person sniffing their hands for hours after they’re washed", Mrs. Meyers Clean Day hand soap. All the scents are amazing but I love radish, lavender and basil. (Their countertop sprays too!)

    • Hanna

      I second that! The packaging is less sexy than some of these, but it's way less expensive, too.

    • Hope

      Oh, and Mrs. Meyers lavender surface scrub even makes cleaning the bathroom tolerable!

      • ikillplants

        Hope: try their lemon verbena scrub! I always wonder why I took so long to clean things whenever I break it out. Arcade Fire and Mrs. Meyers. Now that's a spring cleaning party.

      • Alyssa Gapske

        Love the lavender surface scrub for my kitchen sink!

    • mamavalveeta03

      Radish is the best! Who woulda' thought?!?

    • Veronica

      Totally agree and am obsessed with the Rhubarb hand soap!

  • Jane T.

    I love Caldrea soaps, and they have really fun scents like vanilla quince santal, basil blue sage, and sea salt neroli. Highly recommended!

  • andee

    a la Maison Rosemary Mint and Cucina Coriandre Olive. Love the scents.

  • lizzyville

    Further Products out of SF is the best hand soap on the planet The smell is so luxurious but clean. They have candles and stuff too!

  • Firn

    Savon Marseille's Rose soap hands down. The freshest most true-to-life rose scent and the formula isn't drying. And it's not so girly that even my boyfriend doesn't mind using it.

  • Rachel

    Amazing list! My two-cents: Antica Farmacista's Lavender + Lime Blossom hand soap is to die for!

  • Hope

    My go-to at home is C.O. Bigelow Lemon Hand Wash - smells great, the guys in the house don't say it's too girly & doesn't dry out my hands during the winter like some do. Love the hilarious pediatrician's office comparison! It reminded me of when my daughter refused to wash her hands at the library because the citrus-scented dispenser soap smelled like "that stuff you make me take so I don't throw up in the car!" Smells have such power to affect our emotions. So does this mean the new office bathroom will be getting its own Top Shelf?

    • ikillplants

      Oh my god. I would LOVE to see a literal Gloffice Top Shelf! Excellent idea.

    • bijoux

      I am so surprised ITG doesn't have its own bathroom? How do you test products? It seems essential! By the way, I always am on the lookout for absolutely fragrance free soaps if you can believe it, I hate anything interfering with my food OR my perfume.

  • inyocara

    i've tried several of the ones that are mentioned. my personal fav remains Trader Joe's "Trader Jacques French Liquid Orange Blossom Honey Hand and Body Soap." Hella cheap (like 4 bux), smells nice, doesn't dry out skin (especially since I've been on Accutane for several months), and cleans well. Ahh.

    • Layla Corcoran

      Yes! Word to the tenth power

  • Maria

    you'll love Honest hand soap, it's cheap and smells good. I love Molton Brown soap the best.

  • Bridgey

    L'Occitane Lavender Liquid Soap is divine and makes my very retro bathroom look a teensy tiny bit fancy.

  • Steevy

    Obsessed with Molton Brown's Rok Radish & Basil. Great unisex scent that we get tons of compliments on.

  • Jennifer Monforton

    One day I will splurge on the Aesop hand soaps- the scents are heavenly :)

  • Josef Šlaich

    Resurrection Aromatique hnad wash is the only way to go for me. (plus their hand cream is the best hand cream I've ever tried)

  • Lea_Ta

    The Aesop exfoliating soap makes me so excited to wash my hands at home, ha ha ! Not only is it good for your skin, it's also makes hand washing fun. Oh and the smell, makes me sniff my hands for a good ten minutes after washing them. The best !
    Oh and I also like the fig-scented Compagnie De Provence, makes your hands smell like the Dyptique Figue candle :) And it's quite cheap compared to the Aesop hand soaps.

  • pamb

    Ha! I have that CD (little girl dressed in purple on the case. right?) I played it all the time, until my kids we old enough to ask what Patti Labelle was saying in French in 'Lady Marmalade' ;)

  • Alyssa Gapske

    Need to try rhubarb!

  • Amanda Raponi

    Compagnie de Provence's Olive Lavande soap is my favourite! Not gross and goopy, just feels really clean.

  • Kate

    juniper ridge soaps. amazing smells all around.

  • Alix

    Dr. Bronner's (I prefer the lavender scent), heavily diluted.


Jo Malone London
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Body & Hand Wash
Molton Brown
Molton Brown Lime & Patchouli Hand Wash
Kiehl's Since 1851
Kiehl’s Liquid Hand Soap “Coriander”
Philip B. Lavender Hand Wash
Aesop Reverence Aromatique Hand Wash
Eau D'Italie
Eau D’Italie Verbena & Sage Liquid Soap