One Small Thing: Soap

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I think about the environment and sustainability often. It’s such an overwhelming, huge topic, I’m not sure where to begin making changes. My stress level about the state of our wildlife, food supply and general planet health is something I try to make better decisions about in the future. I might not be doing things perfect, but it’s worth a try!

I asked a group of my friends on social and from the blogging community to try something with me: each month we change one small thing. One small habit. It takes a very long time to change behavior we’ve had our entire life. Think about it: will it take one or two generations to change how much and what we consume? I hope this topic inspires you to see what changes the group is making.

One Small Thing
Deeply Southern Home
Domicile 37
House 214 Design
House of Brinson
Park and Division
Room for Tuesday
Up to Date Interiors
Vestige Home

Let’s get to it! This month, I’m thinking about soap and changing my purchasing habits. I was using the liquid soap in our kitchen the other day and was looking at the plastic bottle, thinking I’ve had this for about 60 days and I’m going to throw it out. Can I not use liquid soap in the whole house and switch to bar soap? I got the jitters. I don’t know why, it seems so posh to have a nice bottle of liquid soap in your bathroom. When I think about all the plastic I used throughout the year on soap bottles, it really adds up. Maybe 25+ plastic bottles – this house has 4 bathrooms in use! For most bar soap, it’s wrapped in paper. A little sheet of paper – way less packaging. I found this article which talks about recycling plastic vs glass. It’s very detailed and had some interesting points. I might consider phasing out to bar soap completely. I’ll pay attention to how many glass bottles of soap I used a year. I suspect it might only be one or two if I only put it out when we have company.

Moving forward, I’m not buying liquid soap in plastic bottles.

  • I’ll change all the bathrooms and kitchen to bar soap.
  • Only use liquid soap in a glass bottle in our downstairs guest bathroom. I’ll try sourcing a luxury brand that provides refills. (These glass bottles will get recycled.)
Soap environment and sustainability

My Plan for Change

When I first started thinking about this challenge, I began looking around. I’ve always used bar soap in the bath tub/shower areas, liquid soap just doesn’t do it for me. But by a sink? IDK why it seemed so… strange. I bought some new soap dishes, vintage, of course. Then my friend Moka gave me the MOST BEAUTIFUL gift, and it was bar soap. That made me realize there’s a whole beautiful world of bar soap I’ve been missing. I’m personally not a big ‘consumer’ but wanted to share some of my shopping finds to inspire you when thinking about making change.

Soap environment and sustainability
French Soap Gift Set from Christophe Pourny

Bar Soap Roundup, Under $15

  1. Dr. Bonner’s Soap
  2. Olivia Care Sea Mud Bar Soap
  3. Barr-Co. Reserve Bar
  4. Method Body Deep Detox Bar Soap
  5. Apotheke Bar Soap
  6. Carol’s Daughter Bar Soap
  7. Fresh Savon, Freesia

Shop Local

My favorite local soap company, Hudson Naturals, makes beautiful soap right in the next town! They have a store in Newburgh NY called Field Trip.

  1. Hudson Naturals Bergamont & Rosemary Soap
  2. Hudson Naturals Rosemary Mint Soap
  3. Hudson Naturals Honey Oatmeal Soap
Soap environment and sustainability
Soap from Patch NYC

Posh Bar Soaps and Gift-y Soaps

  1. Claus Porto Mini Soap Collection
  2. Buly 1803 Savon Superfin Soap, Makassar
  3. Creed ‘Acqua Fiorentina’ Soap
  4. L’Ombre dans L’Eau Soap
  5. Gucci Bloom Perfumed Soap Trio
  6. Le Labo Rose 31 Bar Soap
  7. Claus Porto Orange Amber Soap on a Rope
  8. Claus Porto, Guest Soap Box
  9. Buly 1803 Savon Superfin Soap, Peruvian Heliotrope

Liquid Soap in Glass Bottles

  1. L’Objet Rose Noire Hand & Body Liquid Soap
  2. Olive Wood Soap
  3. Lavender Liquid Soap
  4. Rum Vert Hand Soap (My Personal Favorite and what we have in the house.)
  5. Shea Liquid Soap
  6. Provence Sante PS Liquid Soap Vervain

Soap Dishes

Vintage Soap Dishes

I normally don’t do a lot of linking to vintage items, because there is one to buy – once these are sold, they’re gone! But these were too good not to link! And some of the prices are pretty good!

Looking for more ideas? See what one small change everyone is making for the environment and sustainability.

One Small Thing
Deeply Southern Home
Domicile 37
House 214 Design
House of Brinson
Park and Division
Room for Tuesday
Up to Date Interiors
Vestige Home

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  1. Sue D. says:

    my favorite bar soap company is Osmia Organics. I would highly recommend. Here are the reasons why:
    1. The soaps are beautiful to look at so you don’t mind having them out
    2. its a women owned/run business out of CO and all the women there are incredible humans
    3. the soaps are clean and ethically sourced and come with minimal packaging
    4. they last FOREVER
    5. They also carry a ton of other clean and ethical skincare products for face and body and more.
    6. the instagram/owners instagram is hilarious and uplifting and impressive

    I’d recommend!

  2. Emily R says:

    I’m all about the fancy soap and the beautiful soap dishes!

  3. Mudrick says:

    I love bar soap but I’ve never left it out for guests. You may have a zero waste store in your area where you can bring in your own container for refilling liquid soap.

  4. Emma says:

    I love this! I have never thought about how wasteful my bottle soaps are! I personally don’t like bar soap, but I can definitely switch to refillable bottle soap. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Ruth says:

    One beautiful soap suggestion is Pre de Provence. Pretty widely available and beautifully made scented soaps milled in France. The large bars are huge so I cut them in half. I currently have a beautiful green one that is linden flower fragrance. Just gorgeous. Half is in the bathroom and the other half is scenting the linen closet while it waits its turn to be used.
    My mother and grandmother always said to unwrap milled soap to let it dry out and harden so that it would last longer. I don’t know whether that’s a folk tradition/myth or has some basis in fact but our linen closet at home was always home to multiple unwrapped bars of Ivory.

  6. Jenn says:

    Hi Susan!
    Did you know that you can make your own liquid soap from bar soap (loads of tutorials on pinterest) – just get a pretty dispenser and refill it. Best of both worlds!
    Greetings from Germany

  7. Ryan says:

    I never thought about using bar soap in the kitchen until recently and I’d like to try it but I feel like the soap dish style is vital since it is holding the soap while use the brush to soap up (although I guess you could also hold the soap at this point). I know it will be an adjustment from having a sink full of soapy water to just a sink full of water, soap on the brush but it’s probably more a mental shift. Also can’t wait until we have a dishwasher so we’re not doing all of them by hand in the sink – it might be the perfect time to transition.

  8. Susie H. says:

    Check out the Beekman 1802 goat milk soap. I love it!! Never thought I could love a soap so much.

  9. Kathy says:

    There are so many beautiful options to reduce plastic containers. This is a great idea! Thanks so much for organizing this group.

  10. Pat says:

    I loathe bar soap. I’d rather not wash my hands than use bar soap. Hard pass for me.

  11. Linda says:

    We just came back from our cabin (in a mining ghost town in Colorado, was built in 1888) and my mom had the nicest bar soaps in pretty dishes! Lol she’s so old school she never switched from bar soap, all that’s old us new again.

    I’d already been using bar soap in the shower, plus refilling my bathroom liquid soap but I’m really curious about the dish soap, how does that work and I didn’t see any specific bar dish soaps in your list, do you just use like an unscented bath soap?

    Thanks 🙂 ~ Linda

  12. Heather says:

    Love this! I was gifted a bar of Etta + Billie soap in Earl Gray and I absolutely love it. I’m not a huge bar soap person but Etta + Billie has converted me. It smells gorgeous, feels great on my skin and bonus points for being a local, Bay Area company:

    Horchata soap, anyone?

  13. […] “One Small Thing” you can do for the environment? Consider packaging waste with liquid soap vs. bar. […]

  14. […] “One Small Thing” you can do for the environment? Consider packaging waste with liquid soap vs. bar. […]

  15. […] “One Small Thing” you can do for the environment? Consider packaging waste with liquid soap vs. bar. […]

  16. Ryan says:

    This is such a great collection… Thanks for posting. Love it!

  17. Roxanne says:

    Thank you for bringing attention to nature & our beautiful plant earth. I love the brand “Good Soap” that can be found at Whole Foods. Here is the website; I love them all.
    I try each day to be green and not leave a human footprint. My biggest step is supporting our local meat market & having my purchase wrapped in paper. All my best.

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