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7 hand soaps to fight germs, from cheap to luxury

The best unscented, moisturizing and foaming hand washes -- and ones to ward off germs.

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Tons of washing a day keeps the viruses away.

Getty Images

As cold and flu continue to proliferate through the cold months -- and coronavirus scares show no signs of dissipating -- washing your hands is more important than ever. Spending 20 seconds under the sink with soap is the best way to get rid of germs on your hands, and proper hand-washing still trumps hand sanitizer in terms of effectiveness.

I chose these soaps based on buyer reviews, ingredients and clinical testing, value for money and my personal experience with the brands. If you're looking to stock up on hand soap to fend off the flu, stay safe as the coronavirus spreads or simply keep your hands clean, these seven hand soaps can do the trick. 

Read more: Get a phone sanitizer to kill germs on your screen for $60 or less

All prices are accurate as of March 9, 2020.

Softsoap

Household names are household names for a reason -- they work and people like them. Softsoap Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap has been shown to reduce 99.9% of harmful germs, including Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). 

Reviewers on Amazon love that this soap lasts a long time (one buyer says the six-pack lasted longer than six months) and despite being an antibacterial soap, it doesn't leave your hands feeling dry, flaky or crusty. It's nice and affordable, too: A pack of six 11.25-ounce bottles is less than $20.

Dial

If you're a fan of foam and still want all the microbe-murdering power, try Dial Complete Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap. Another popular household brand name, Dial has also used clinical testing to prove its antibacterial hand soap kills up to 99.99% of germs, although the brand clarifies that the soap is tested on common household germs, as opposed to, say, a respiratory pathogen.

Grown Alchemist

I can't say I'd spend nearly $30 on a single bottle of hand soap, but it's available for those who want to. It comes in a fancy bottle, if that helps. And the scent -- sweet orange, cedarwood and sage -- sounds lovely. 

It's available on Dermstore, too, which is a brand founded by a dermatologist, so may be worth the price (especially if you want a plant-based soap that's gentle on skin). Beware of knock-offs on Amazon, though!

Dial

If luxury hand soap isn't your jam, pivot to the other end of the soap spectrum and check out Dial's basic liquid hand soap for just $1 per bottle.

 It's not the same as Dial Complete Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap, covered above: Plain Dial Liquid Hand Soap doesn't have the antimicrobial agent benzalkonium chloride, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibacterial soaps don't protect you more than regular soap if you wash for the recommended 20 seconds. So go ahead and get your soap for $1!

Seventh Generation

At just $3 per bottle, this Seventh Generation hand soap is free of dyes, fragrances or phthalates -- a steal for people with sensitive skin or those who just want a gentle, natural soap. Buyers on Amazon love the consistency of the soap (not too liquidy), that it lathers nicely and keeps skin clean but not dry or irritated. 

One buyer even settled on this hand soap after searching for an unscented, gentle hand soap for an entire year. Another loves it for her daughter who has eczema and can't tolerate scented soaps.

Puracy

Puracy uses a plant-based, organic formula developed by doctors. It doesn't contain alcohol or other antimicrobial agents, which can lead to dry skin if you wash your hands often. It also includes glycerin, aloe vera and essential oils to hydrate your skin while cleansing it. 

Buyers on Amazon praise the brand for helping with extremely dry hands, soothing eczema and keeping dermatitis at bay. One buyer who gets dry hands even credits Puracy with putting an end to bleeding and cracked skin.

Mrs. Meyer's

Mrs. Meyer's has become a popular brand for its subtle scents and effectiveness. I personally use Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day hand soap (as well as dish soap and household cleaners), and this brand has never failed me. 

The cruelty-free formula is made with mostly plant-based ingredients, including essential oils. It doesn't contain parabens or phthalates, although it does contain some surfactants -- but you can't really get away from surfactants if you want to get clean, and there's no evidence that they're harmful.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.