Camping in nature is one of life's simple pleasures, but smelling or looking like the Sasquatch after a few days outdoors can be off-putting.
Dirty fingernails, muddy feet and smoky hair are all part of the camping experience, but if you want to keep yourself or your kiddos clean (and stress levels down), it's good to know you have options.
Our portable camp showers are perfect for quick weekend strike missions or multi-month trips, and when paired with biodegradable soaps that won't harm Mother Nature, you'll have clean skin and a clean conscience.
After trawling camping forums and talking to hardcore journeymen and women, we think we’ve discovered the top eco-friendly soaps for outdoor lovers.
Here are the best biodegradable soaps on the market as of February 2024.
What are biodegradable or natural soaps?
Biodegradable soaps are environmentally-friendly alternatives to conventional soaps.
They consist of natural ingredients that break down and decompose once disposed into the environment.
Unlike traditional soaps, they don't contain harsh chemicals that can harm natural ecosystems, making them an ideal choice for outdoor activities like camping.
Why should we use them?
- They preserve our natural landscapes
- They prevent harmful chemicals from entering and disrupting water bodies and soil, which can significantly impact local flora and fauna
- Using these soaps when camping demonstrates respect for the environment
- They're often hypoallergenic and suitable for sensitive skin, making them a safe choice for the whole family
- Some soaps are multi-purpose, which means they can be used as all-in-one cleaners for skin, dishes and clothing
The best biodegradable and natural outdoor soaps
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap
Dr. Bronner's is considered the GOAT when it comes to outdoor soaps.
Made of organic and vegan ingredients, usable in salt and freshwater and gentle on the skin while being tough on dirt, it's got practically all you could really ask for in outdoor camping soap.
It's also concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
This makes it a reliable travel companion for your camping essentials, whether you're tripping around Australia, backpacking through Europe or exploring the great outdoors closer to home.
Koala Eco Hand Soap
An Australia-based company, Koala Eco focuses on creating safe, natural products that are also eco-friendly. Sounds reasonable enough.
Where they really excel though is by ensuring all of the ingredients sourced in their products are both sustainable and non-toxic.
This means there are ZERO nasty chemicals contained within like in other cleaning and soap products - a big win if you plan on scrubbing around in rivers and streams while camping.
What's more, all of their bottles are made from recycled plastic, keeping 1 million fewer plastic containers out in the environment.
Onya, Koala Eco!
Like your outdoor soaps to be powerful, compact and citrus scented?
Sea to Summit Wilderness Wash is another fantastic biodegradable option for campers.
This 100% natural soap is highly effective in removing sweat, dirt and other grime that comes with camping, ensuring you feel comfortable in your own skin no matter where you roam.
It's suitable for dishes and presented in a transparent bottle to ensure you won't run out when you need it most.
Better yet, Wilderness Wash is also a concentrate, which means you can use it generously and still get multiple cleans from it.
Just a cap a day keeps that Yeti-level funk away!
Campsuds Biodegradable Concentrated Soap
For over 50 years, Campsuds has been a favourite among backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts.
This multi-purpose soap is biodegradable, concentrated and perfect for all outdoor cleaning tasks.
All it takes is a few drops to wash dishes, laundry, hair and your body. This means less waste in the environment and more time enjoying the great outdoors.
It's also safe for children and eco-friendly. Simply dig a hole 6 inches deep and bury water used for washing with Campsuds.
Within minutes, the soap will start to biodegrade leaving behind no harmful residue.
Marketed as the original all-purpose outdoor cleaner, Campsuds can be used in hot or cold water and is even effective in saltwater.
Take note, beach lovers!
Soap Era Outdoor Soap
Made with 100% coconut oil that's great for skin, laundry and dishwashing, Soap Era Outdoor Soap is another Australian brand that's environmentally friendly and completely biodegradable.
It boasts eucalyptus oil to provide antibacterial properties and a pleasant scent, and it's free from petrochemicals while being safe for septic and grey water systems.
As a Castile-style soap, you can expect a very rich lather that works in saltwater. It also doesn't contain animal fats, so vegans will love it.
Suitable for normal to oily skin.
Uralba Homemade Soap
Combine natural ingredients, essential oils and organic extracts in soap form and what do you get? Uralba Homemade Soap.
It's 100% biodegradable and suitable for sensitive skin with SLS-free, parabens-free, palm oil-free, cruelty-free, plastic-free, vegan-friendly properties.
Your Uralba soap comes in a recyclable, waterproof aluminium tin too, which makes it a great alternative to throw-away packages.
Besides, less trash and less stinky armpits in the world is something we can get behind.
Staying clean when you're on the road, on the beach or in the bush has never been easier.
Simply pick up one of these soaps before you leave and pair them with our portable Beach Showers.
Not only will you be doing your part to protect the environment, but you'll also have a great camping experience without worrying about getting too uncomfortable or the kids going full feral mode.