Can You Use Body Wash As Hand Soap? A Comprehensive Guide

You have gone to wash your hands but noticed that your hand soap have run out. Well, if that is the case, Instead of going to the store again to buy a hand soap, you better start looking for alternatives. There may be a body wash available in your bathroom, but can you use body wash as hand soap?

Technically, both are cleansing soaps manufactured for different body areas. But they differ in their stain removal formulas. Though they are interchangeable, their interchangeability is not good for long-term use. Again, certain skin conditions make a body wash thousand times better than a hand soap.

Read this guideline to know why and when you can use body soap as hand wash.

Can You Use Body Wash as Hand Soap? A Comprehensive Guide

Can You Use Body Wash As Hand Soap?

Hand soap effectively cleanses bacteria, germs, and grease from hands. However, it has a bad reputation due to its harsh materials and high pH level.

Body wash is low in pH and has mild cleansing materials. It is usable as hand soap in emergencies and temporary situations, not always.

Is Hand Soap And Body Wash The Same?

Hand soap and body wash have the same objective – to wash skin without drying it out as much as possible. Both have surfactants that break down and remove dirt from the skin surface.

Again, they create bubbles to make cleaning easier and prevent harmful bacterias from thriving. Compared to solid hand soap and foaming hand wash, liquid hand soap and body wash are more similar in their properties.

Difference Between Hand Soap And Body Wash:


Hand soap can be solid and liquid, whereas body wash is always liquid.


Compared to other areas of our body, hand skin (palm) is thicker and receives more friction. This is why hand soap is for washing palms only. Body wash is for the entire body, including hands. It is good for every thick and thin skin of the body. I have also written about Hand Soap vs Dish Soap.


Hand soap contains natural oils and fats, sodium hydroxide, ethanolamine, ammonium hydroxide, triclosan, hydrogen peroxide, builders, fragrances, colors, and abrasives.

Body wash contains water, potassium hydroxide, Lauric Acid, glycerine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Alkyl glucosides, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, etc.

Both hand soap and body wash have builders, fragrances, alkalis, and colors. But the amount of these ingredients in body wash are less than hand soap. Moreover, ingredients like ethanolamines are carefully avoided in body washes, since it damages skin.

Body wash requires more preservatives to increase its shelf life. On the other hand, hand soap ingredients are already strong, they need comparatively less preservatives.

Washing Capacity

Hand soap is powerful enough to cleanse any type of dirt and debris from the skin. Its chemicals smoothly bind with soils, oils, and other clingy dirts and remove them.

Body wash also cleanses grease, dirt, germs, and other substances. However, it is not a strong and rude cleanser like hand soap due to its softness.

Effect On Skin

Hand soap is generally harsher. It contains sulfates and other rough chemicals which make skin squeaky clean but extremely dry. That’s why applying hand soap on the skin that is already sensitive is strictly forbidden.

To replenish the lost moisture, using body wash will be the best option. It is non-irritant and treats flaky skin, clogged pores, and winter skin conditions gently.


The natural ingredients and surfactants of hand soap create less foam. On the other hand, body wash’s synthetic ingredients and secondary surfactants make it more foamy than hand soap.

pH level

The pH level of hand soap mostly ranges between 8 to 10. Such a scale is quite dangerous for human skin. The pH level of our skin is 5 on average.

You know hand soap makes skin too dry, destroys the skin barrier, and invites various skin issues. Body wash has a comparatively lower pH scale (6-7) which does not irritate skin.

Breeding Place Of Germs

When used by many people, bar soap breeds harmful bacteria or mold on its surface. Even if used by only one person, germs still grow. 

A bottle of body wash or liquid hand soap is less open to skin contact. As a result, germs and bacteria cannot multiply themselves as they wish.


Take a hand soap, rub it for a few seconds, and rinse it off. Liquid hand soap is also usable on-the-go. Body wash is unusable unless you use a loofah to rub it.

Due to the high foaming level, body wash is a little bit hard to rinse off. But the lather amount it produces helps to shower quickly. However, hand soap produces lather slowly, followed by lengthy showers.


Both hand soap and body wash are portable. Hand soap (bar), a nonexplosive cleaner, is just a small cake that you can put anywhere inside your bag.

Liquid hand soap manufacturers provide travel-friendly pouches or bottles for the soap. Body wash also is available in travel-sized bottles.

If you carry your own hand-washing bar, you may have to pack it wet before travelling. A wet hand soap can wet your clothes. But body wash remains in a bottle and has less chances to soil your clothes.


Solid hand soap is affordable, but liquid hand soap is expensive. Body wash is more expensive than solid and liquid hand soaps or hand wash.


Solid hand soap melts faster and becomes so small that it is impossible to hold. A bottle of liquid hand soap and/or body wash runs for long. It takes only a drop in each pump to clean the respective skins. Besides, if the bottle is almost empty, you can flip it down or add water to get every last drop.

Effect On Environment

Hand soap is safe for the environment, but body wash cannot guarantee this safety. Solid hand soap is made of natural fats and oils. This is why it is biodegradable.

On the other hand, liquid hand soap sometimes contains environment-friendly ingredients, sometimes doesn’t. In a word, the ingredients of liquid hand soap take more time to biodegrade than solid hand soap.

Likewise, body wash has surfactants that are not gentle on the planet. Moreover, it comes with plastic containers and specialized loofah or scrubbing cloth. As a result, plastic production will keep increasing.

The same problem occurs with liquid hand soap, but not with solid hand soap. Because bar soap is a paper-wrapped product.

Is Body Wash Better Than Hand Soap?

When it comes to hydrating and moisturizing skin, body wash always defeats hand soap. Body wash has gentle ingredients while hand soap can be harsher or milder.

People with sensitive skin and skin issues (like psoriasis and eczema) often find hand soap fatal. Because the pH level of it is too high. Human skin pH level is 5.5-6 but soap pH level is around 8-10. Though body wash pH level varies, it generally contains lower pH than soaps.

High pH rips off the natural oil of skin and makes it dry and rough. On the contrary, due to having a low pH level, body wash is highly skin-friendly (especially for sensitive skin) and non-irritant. Also, it provides a soothing effect on the skin.

Why Can You Use Body Wash As Hand Soap?

Can You Use Body Wash as Hand Soap? A Comprehensive Guide

Since body wash has a low pH level, it is interchangeable with hand soap. Constant washing sessions with hand soap can make skin feel tight and dry. However, this picture is opposite when you use body wash as hand soap.

Pandemics like Covid-19 require frequent handwashing. Therefore, body wash would be a good option since it cleans germs just like hand soap.

Can You Use Foaming Hand Soap As Body Wash?

In most cases, foaming hand soap contains triclosan, detergent, artificial fragrances, and colors. Besides, it has antibacterial agents. Foaming hand soap binds with soils better than liquid or solid hand soap. It is manufactured for washing only dirty hands rather than the entire body. Due to the triclosan and other artificial properties, using foaming hand soap as body wash will be detrimental.


Can I Use Body Wash And Soap At The Same Time?

Though some people think that using both types of soap together is okay, it is better not to do such a thing. Body wash and soap are contradictory in terms of ingredients. Both require hands to apply them on the skin. Just think about the consequences when your hands will deal with both mild and harsh chemicals at the same time. Hence, use either body wash or soap, not both at the same time.

Can You Use Body Wash Instead Of Soap?

Of course you can. Soap chemicals proficiently cleanse dirt, germs, and bacteria from the skin surface but strip the natural moisture. For sensitive skin, soap is a curse. In contrast, body wash hydrates and moisturizes the skin, gently exfoliates, and treats acne. It is a great solution for all types of skin.

Can You Use Dove Body Wash As Hand Soap?

Yes, you can. Dove body wash contains antibacterial agents, Kaolin, Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate, and Tetrasodium etidronate. All these ingredients are safe and moisturize the overall body. Moreover, this white liquid is budget-friendly. Hence you can use Dove body wash for cleaning your face, hands, and body.

Does Body Wash Have Antibacterial?

Yes, body wash has antibacterial properties that can kill up to 99% bacteria without destroying the skin. Even if there is no ‘antibacterial’ label in the bottle or package, body wash will remove germs and bacteria. However, if not used properly, body wash fails to protect the skin from these unseen monsters.


The knowledge sharing on ‘can you use body wash as hand soap’ ends here. You must have understood the functionality of hand soap and body wash.

Before buying a body wash or hand soap, make sure it excludes harmful chemicals like triclosan, parabens, ethanolamine’s, etc. Try to buy soaps that have more moisturizing ingredients and less artificial colors and fragrances.

Lots of DIY hand soap and body wash recipes are available on the internet to save your money and skin. Would you like to try some?

Be alert and avoid these kinds of awful unwanted situations. Also read Why Does My Mouth Taste Like Soap?

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