whats a non detergent soap

What’s a Non Detergent Soap? Understanding Its Benefits and Uses

Have you ever heard of non-detergent soap? Or have you wondered what makes it different in comparison to conventional soaps? This type of soap does not contain synthetic chemicals or surfactants. Instead, it is made from natural ingredients like plant oils and fats. They’re so gentle on your skin and safe for delicate fabrics!

These types of soaps are pretty versatile, which is really surprising.. They can clean everything from your hands to household items without leaving harsh residues like other brands use because of the detergents. Brands like Dr. Bronner’s are popular choices because they’re both effective and kind to your skin. In fact, I often use Dr. Bronner’s as a body wash since it can be used for so many things!

Let’s look into non detergent soaps a little bit further as these can be cheaper to use around the house plus they’re eco-friendly.

This post is all about what’s a non detergent soap.

Understanding Non Detergent Soaps – Non Toxic Soap

These soaps are crafted from natural ingredients and intended to be non toxic rather than synthetic compounds. This means they usually contain oils, fats, and other natural elements. These soaps are gentler on the skin and environment compared to detergent-based soaps.

Below is an example list of ingredients you may find when you’re searching for non-detergent soaps.

Key Ingredients:

  • Natural oils (like olive oil or coconut oil)
  • Fats and butters (like shea butter)
  • Essential oils for fragrance
  • Tallow 

You can often identify them by checking the ingredient list. Look for terms like “saponified oils” or “natural oils.” Now there are certainly products that can have these ingredients listed but still have other harmful ones included as well. Always do your due diligence by looking at the full list and not just looking for keywords like the above listed.

Why You Might Consider Making the Switch to Non Toxic Soap

Personally, I made the switch to non detergent soaps because of all of the skin issues I was having. I was constantly breaking out in rashes and my skin was so dry. Part of the issue was because of gluten. But did you know that there can even be gluten in skin care products as well?!

Some issues that could arise from the detergents irritating your skin are:

  • Allergies – this doesn’t just encompass skin allergies, but you can actually be bothered by the fragrances in the soap. ‘Fragrance’ is an umbrella term for the scent which could contain any number of synthetic smells.
  • Dermatitis – an irritation of the skin which can be super itchy.
  • Eczema – another type of skin irritation. Although there isn’t just one thing that can be pinpointed that causes eczema, it could be caused by allergens in either food, the environment, or even products put on your skin. It tends to be a response from an overactive immune system by something the skin doesn’t like.

Another great reason for making the switch is that because they are so versatile, you may not have to buy all of the other products you’ve been buying. You may be able to reduce the amount of products you use. So that’s a major win!

Benefits of Using Non Detergent Soaps

There are benefits to using non-detergent soaps in comparison to other types of soaps that use detergents that can be harmful to the skin. Some of the benefits are:

  1. They’re gentle on the skin: They use harsh chemicals, so they’re less likely to cause irritation, as noted above.
  2. Eco-Friendly ingredients: Made from biodegradable ingredients, they are better for the environment.
  3. Moisturizing: They often contain ingredients that help maintain skin hydration.
  4. Less Soap Scum: These soaps produce less soap scum compared to detergent-based soaps. Soap scum forms when soap reacts with minerals in hard water. Since non detergent soaps react differently in hard water, you’ll have fewer deposits on your bathtub or sink, making cleaning easier.
  5. Versatile Uses: They’re versatile and can be used for different cleaning purposes. Whether washing your hands, body, or clothes, these soaps can do the job without relying on harsh chemicals. Remember to check the labels and ingredients to ensure you’re choosing a high-quality non-detergent soap for the best benefits!

Popular examples include Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap, which comes in both liquid and bar forms

Let’s do a quick comparison to summarize the difference between traditional detergent containing soaps to non detergent to get a good picture.


FeatureNon-Detergent SoapsDetergent Soaps
IngredientsNatural oils and fatsSynthetic chemicals
Skin ImpactGentle and moisturizingCan be harsh and drying
Environmental ImpactBiodegradable and eco-friendlyMay contain non-biodegradable components. May even be marked as biodegradable but actually aren’t.
ResidueMay leave soap scumUsually won’t leave residue

When choosing a soap, consider your skin type and environmental impact. Non detergent soaps are a great choice if you prefer natural products and have sensitive skin. They offer a gentle and eco-friendly alternative to commercial detergent-based soaps.

Types of Non-Detergent Soaps

There are various non detergent soaps available, each with different uses and benefits. Some popular types include Pure Soap Flakes, Castile Soap, and Glycerin Soap.

Pure Soap Flakes

Pure Soap Flakes are small, soft flakes made from pure vegetable oils or animal fats. These flakes dissolve easily in water and are gentle on your skin and fabrics. They are especially good for hand washing delicate clothes, as they do not contain any harsh chemicals.

Using pure soap flakes can help reduce skin irritation and prevent allergies. They also produce little to no suds, making them suitable for people with sensitive skin.

Castile Soap

Castile Soap is a versatile, biodegradable soap made from olive oil and other natural oils. It can be found in both liquid and bar forms. It’s known for its gentle cleansing properties and can be used for a variety of purposes, from washing your body to cleaning your home.

This soap is safe for children and pets, thanks to its lack of synthetic ingredients. It also works well with hard water, producing fewer residues compared to regular soaps.

Glycerin Soap

Glycerin soap is a clear or translucent soap made by adding glycerin to the soap mixture. It is a natural byproduct of the soap-making process and is known for its moisturizing properties. This type of soap is ideal if you have dry or sensitive skin, as it locks in moisture and keeps your skin hydrated.

Glycerin soap is gentle and soothing, and it can be used for everyday cleansing without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Its mild formula makes it suitable for all skin types and ages.

Common Uses for Non-Detergent Soaps

Non-detergent soaps can be really useful in a variety of ways. Here are some of the most common uses:

Cleaning Delicate Fabrics

Non-detergent soaps are great for washing delicate fabrics like wool, silk, and nylon. They are gentle and won’t damage these sensitive materials.

Personal Hygiene

Many people prefer non-detergent soaps for personal care. These soaps are made from natural ingredients and are less likely to irritate your skin.

Washing Pets

Non-detergent soaps are gentle on your pets. They help keep your furry friends clean without causing skin irritation.

Household Cleaning

You can use non-detergent soaps for general household cleaning. They are effective for cleaning surfaces, yet mild enough to avoid damage.

Gardening Tools

Non-detergent soaps are good for cleaning gardening tools. They remove dirt and grime without causing rust or damage to the tools.

Hand Washing Dishes

For those who wash dishes by hand, non-detergent soaps can be a good option. They clean effectively and are safe for your skin.

Maintaining Automobiles

You can use non-detergent soaps to wash your car. They don’t leave harsh residues, making them safe for your car’s paint and surfaces.

When using these types of soaps, it’s important to know that a little goes a long way. So use it sparingly! You can always adjust and add more if needed, but you can’t decrease the amount of soap once used.

These uses show how versatile non-detergent soaps can be in everyday life.

Ingredients in Non-Detergent Soaps

Non-detergent soaps are made from natural ingredients. They often use oils, lye, and sometimes additional additives and fragrances to enhance their properties.

Natural Oils

Non-detergent soaps primarily rely on oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. These oils help create a natural lather and effectively clean without harsh chemicals.

Coconut oil adds a rich lather and deep cleansing properties. Olive oil offers gentle moisturizing effects, making it great for sensitive skin. Palm oil provides a stable, creamy lather and hardness to the soap bar. A combination of these oils enhances your soap’s overall performance.


Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, is crucial for making soap. Mixed with oils, it causes a chemical reaction called saponification. This reaction transforms the oils and lye into soap and glycerin.

While it may sound harsh, there’s no lye left in the final soap product. It’s all converted. Proper handling is essential since lye is caustic before saponification.

Additives and Fragrances

Non-detergent soaps often include natural additives and essential oils. Additives like shea butter, oatmeal, or clay can enhance the soap’s moisturizing or exfoliating properties.

Shea butter adds extra moisturizing fat, oatmeal provides gentle exfoliation, and clay can help detoxify the skin. Essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil add pleasant scents and potentially beneficial properties. These additions make your soap unique and tailored to your needs.

Choosing the Right Non-Detergent Soap for You

When picking a non-detergent soap, consider a few things. The right choice can make a big difference.

Ingredients to Look For

Look for soaps made with natural and organic ingredients. Some common ones include:

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Aloe Vera
  • Shea Butter

Avoid soaps with synthetic chemicals or artificial fragrances.

Brand Reputation

Stick with reputable brands. Well-known names like Dr. Bronner’s are often trusted. They use high-quality ingredients and have positive reviews.

Product Reviews

Check reviews online. See what other users say about the soap’s effectiveness and feel on the skin. Honest feedback can be very helpful.

Skin Type

Consider your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, look for hypoallergenic options. These are less likely to cause irritation.


Think about how you plan to use the soap. Is it for your face, body, or both? Some non-detergent soaps are versatile, while others are best suited for specific uses.


Many of these soaps are eco-friendly. They break down easily and don’t harm the environment. If this is important to you, look for biodegradable packaging and environmentally friendly labels.


Finally, compare prices. Sometimes, the more expensive option offers better quality, but there are also many affordable and effective choices out there.

Choose what aligns with your needs and values.

Environmental Impact of Non Detergent Soaps

Non detergent soaps are often considered a greener alternative to conventional detergents. This is because of their biodegradable nature and eco-friendly packaging and production processes.


Non detergent soaps are typically made from natural oils and fats that break down easily in the environment. These natural ingredients decompose faster and more safely than synthetic chemicals found in many detergents. Because they are free from synthetic surfactants, they have a lower risk of causing water pollution.

When you use non detergent soap, it’s less likely to harm aquatic life. This is critical in protecting fish, plants, and other water organisms. Since non-detergent soaps degrade quickly, they also help reduce the overall pollution in our water systems.

Packaging and Production

The production of non detergent soaps often involves fewer harmful chemicals and less intensive industrial processes. Many non-detergent soaps use minimal packaging, which reduces waste. Brands that specialize in these eco-friendly soaps tend to focus on sustainable practices.

For instance, some companies use recycled or recyclable materials for their packaging. This reduction in plastic use helps minimize the environmental footprint. Non-detergent soaps also tend to be marketed in bar form, which requires less packaging than liquid soaps.

By opting for cleaner products, you’re not only using a product that’s gentle on your skin, but you’re also making an environmentally conscious choice. This impacts the planet less, from the production phase all the way to disposal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Non detergent soaps are often preferred for their natural ingredients and minimal chemical use. Below, you’ll find answers to some common questions about these types of soaps.

For sensitive skin, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap is a top pick. It comes in both liquid and bar form, and is made with organic materials. Another great option is Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap, known for its gentleness and moisturizing properties.

Which soap can be a substitute when I don’t have access to detergent?

When detergent isn’t available, you can use non detergent soaps like Pure Castile Soap. These soaps are effective in cleaning and can be used on various surfaces, including fabrics, without the harsh chemicals found in traditional detergents.

Popular liquid soaps include Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap and Green Earth Liquid Soap. Both are known for their versatility and natural ingredients, making them a favorite for many households.

How do I identify non detergent soaps suitable for washing clothes?

To find this type of non toxic soap for laundry, look for products labeled as “free of synthetic detergents” or containing only natural ingredients. Brand recommendations include Dr. Bronner’s and Fels-Naptha, which are known to be gentle on clothes and effective in cleaning.

Can non detergent soaps be used for cleaning cars without causing damage?

Yes, they can clean cars without harming the paint. Products like Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap are gentle yet effective. Just be sure to dilute the soap properly to avoid any potential residue.

For gardening, look for insecticidal soaps that contain no detergent and are eco-friendly. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap can be used to make a mild insecticidal spray. Just mix a small amount with water and spray on your plants to keep pests away without harming the plants.

This post was all about what’s a non detergent soap.

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