Start with Soap :: 5 Sustainable Soap Swaps

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Several types of soaps in different bottles.For every area of environmental concern, there are numerous suggested ways people can make a difference. While it’s great to have so many opportunities, the whole thing can get overwhelming at times, particularly for parents suffering from decision fatigue! Parents end up choosing to do nothing by default!

As my kids have gotten older and my brain space has cleared (a little), I have been paying more and more attention to where my family can make changes. Weirdly enough, it’s been easiest for me to start mainly with soaps.

We use lots of different types of soap around the house, and they used to almost always be packaged in single-use plastic. By making swaps for each, we have cut down on a lot of plastic waste.

Laundry Detergent

Heaven knows the laundry grows exponentially with every child, so this is a place where you can make one swap for a decent amount of impact. We switched from using your standard laundry detergent to choosing detergent sheets, with no noticeable decrease in quality.

In case you are thinking your laundry is stinkier than mine, I have three active boys who are outside and playing sports all year round, in addition to a husband who likes to bike on trails and myself who runs in the Texas heat five days a week. I promise, we have stinky laundry, and the sheets work.

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Bath Soaps

The whole family recently made the switch to bars for body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. The bar soap was a hard one for me because I love the lather of a loofa, so I found these great scrub bags to solve that problem.

It also took a bit to find shampoo and conditioner bars that worked for textured hair, but we are happy with the results. I also switched my own face wash to a charcoal bar that I keep in this handy dandy little case. Highly recommend!

Shaving Cream

The canisters for shaving creams can really add up, not to mention they’re kind of a pain when it comes to traveling.

I started off using these shaving cream sheets for travel, but then I found a few shave bars with an excellent lather and switched to those for both travel and home use.

Dish Soap

The bar dish soap was a bit harder for me, and if I’m honest, I’m still not 100 percent sold. I miss the bubbles of the liquid dish soap, not to mention how handy a drop or two of that is when it comes to making your own bubble solution or cleaners.

However, I’m persevering, buying the brushes and scrubbers as well, and taking recommendations if you have one you love.

Hand Soap

There’s a lot of hand washing that goes on at our house (and probably still not enough), so we go through quite a bit of hand soap. I invested in a couple of reusable soap dispensers and bought soap tabs where I just add water to make the soap. Easier to store, and my kids like to watch the tablet dissolve, so I’ll take it.

A dad helps his daughter wash her hands at the kitchen sink.I know these swaps seem small, but the power of little steps can make a difference, particularly if we all do them.

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I’d like to switch out my hair styling products as part of the next round, so if you have suggestions for eco-friendly, curly hair products, please let me know! My boys and I would both appreciate the recommendations!

Emily Harrison
Although born in Austin, Emily grew up on the Eastside of Fort Worth. After marrying her high school sweetheart, and following the military's whims for a few years, the lovebirds wound up back in the Fort, with their three children in tow. Currently, Emily shares her love of books and writing with both her children and her middle school students. On the weekends, you'll find her outside running local streets and trails, as well as being her kids' biggest fan at whatever sport may be in season.