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Everything You Need to Know About Biodegradable Soap

From protecting marine life to serving your skin, here's what you need to know about the benefits of biodegradable soap—and why you should make the switch.

biodegradable soap
Written by
Diana Kurzeja
Sometimes, developing a more eco-conscious lifestyle is as simple as a sustainable swap—and this goes double when it comes to your
soap, for example, is an easy and affordable way to help protect the environment without sacrificing in skincare or cleansing.
Many big brand soaps are packaged in plastic and contain chemicals that are harmful to your skin throughout use, and the planet once the suds wash down the drain. If you're not in the mood for a
handmade soap DIY
, consider trading your soap for a biodegradable bar.

What Is Biodegradable Soap?

biodegradable soap
Biodegradable soap is a cleanser comprised of natural ingredients that can be easily decomposed or broken down by the environment, all without polluting it.
Regular soap often contains surfactants, phosphate, triclosan, and other
antibacterial ingredients
that can harm soil biomes and threaten marine life.
studies have shown
that even chemical-laden soap degrades rapidly, opting for a more sustainable solution is your best bet when looking to leave no trace. Whether you’re planning a camping trip into the backcountry or are trying to develop more mindful habits, the switch to biodegradable soap is a natural step forward.

Why You Should Use Biodegradable Soap

1. Limit Your Plastic Waste

Most regular soaps come in plastic bottles or plastic wrapping, which is harmful to the environment and takes
up to 1,000 years
to degrade. Almost
60% of the 8.3 billion tons
of plastic we’ve made are still on the planet today. Biodegradable soap is plastic-free and comes in compostable packaging that’s free of potentially harmful materials.

2. Protect Your Skin

If you use regular soaps, you could be exposing your skin to ingredients and chemicals that’ll do more harm than good. Formaldehyde, a preservative found in many soaps can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes, while
, an anti-bacterial chemical found in soaps can also cause skin irritation. Biodegradable soap, on the other hand, relies on natural additives to nourish and protect your largest organ.

3. Help Protect Marine Life

When soap is washed down the drain, it ends up in our oceans, lakes, and rivers. The synthetic chemicals in regular soaps pollute our waters and can be
damaging to marine life
. The chemicals in soap work to erode the mucus membranes and waxy layers that protect fish and other aquatics while lowering the surface tension of water and making it more difficult for insects to move about.

4. Support Sustainability 

Large soap brands usually contain
palm oil
, which accounts for 36 percent of the world's oil and is responsible for a significant percentage of global deforestation. Palm oil is often grown illegally, destroying forests
and their inhabitants
including rhinos, elephants, orangutans, and tigers—not to mention the amount of
carbon released
when a forest is cleared.
Convinced? Here, five biodegradable soaps to help you make the switch.

5 Sustainable Biodegradable Soaps to Shop

1. Leaf Shave Soap Bar, $11

The Leaf Shave Soap Bar is vegan, cruelty-free, and free from parabens, petroleums, sulfates, and phthalates. The handmade option hydrates and moisturizes, all sans unnecessary pollution.
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2. Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Honey, Oats, & Cocoa Soap, $8

This biodegradable soap from Rocky Mountain Soap Co. is a beautiful blend of honey, oats, and cocoa that works to hydrate, exfoliate and nourish dry skin, naturally.
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3. Saje Peaceful Warrior Soap Bar, $8

Enjoy the earthy and herbaceous scent of the Saje peaceful warrior soap bar. Natural ingredients like patchouli, fennel, and coconut oil combine to leave skin smooth and revitalized.
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biodegradable soap

4. Counter+ Charcoal Cleansing Bar, $18

Cleanse your skin with this detoxifying charcoal cleansing bar. Made from Bintochan charcoal powder, this biodegradable soap will keep your skin bright and luminous.
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biodegradable soap

5. Dr. Bronner's Clear-Castille Liquid Soap, $17

This unscented soap works for everything—your face, body, hair, food, dishes, laundry, and beyond. Made with organic and biodegradable ingredients, it's safe for both you and the planet. It's also packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled bottle.
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