We Asked 6 Food Pros to Pick Their Favorite Hand Soap — and There Was One Clear Winner

updated Jun 21, 2021
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We all have a bottle of hand soap on our kitchen counters, often in our favorite fragrance. According to the FDA, a good hand soap will kill off most of the germs on your skin, but a great hand soap goes a step further, leaving your hands luxuriantly soft, smooth, and with a slight hint of refreshing scent. Considering that food professionals wash their hands a lot in the kitchen, we asked them to tell us their all-time favorite hand soaps. And surprisingly, there was one clear winner.

“I love the Mrs. Meyer’s products,” says Virgina Willis, the James Beard Award-winning author of Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South. “My hands are always in rough shape — literally. So I need a soap that’s also a moisturizer. For simplicity in the kitchen, I’ll usually keep a squirt bottle and change my scent with the seasons, but Lemon Verbena is always a favorite.”

Chef and author Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club in Oakland, California, also picked Mrs. Meyer’s as a must-have for her home: “At work, we use the pink stuff from our distributor. At home, we use Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap because they are anti-bacterial and have larger refill jugs, so you don’t have to buy a new pump every time.” Shaquanda Will Feed You‘s Andre Springer, creator of Shaquanda’s Hot Pepper Sauce, echoed Willis and Mistry, adding, “Mrs. Meyer’s Basil! It is amazing, and I love that there is a refill option.”

We also turned to our own food experts, Kitchn editors Meghan, Kelli, and Lisa, for their take, and they also picked Mrs. Meyer’s as their favorite kitchen hand soap. Kitchn Food stylist Jesse agrees: “It’s affordable, natural, and, honestly, just works well,” he says. “It’s also available on most grocery delivery services, so food stylists seem to cling onto it (guilty!) as their soap of choice.” FYI, he picked the Basil scent too!

If you’re looking for a more multipurpose option, Dr. Bonner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap came in a close second. “I always scrub down with Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Liquid Soap after I cook,” says chef Arnold Myint, a 2010 Top Chef competitor. “I love it because the lavender gets rid of the lingering odor from garlic and onion aromatics.” Season four Top Chef contestant Josie Smith Malave adds, “It has many uses besides hand soap. It’s gentle enough and refreshing to use on my face as well! If you run out of cleaner for the kitchen, you can use it for that too!”

And if you’re seeking something more splurge-worthy, take a cue from Moonlynn Tsai, co-owner of New York hot spot Kopitiam, who swears by Le Labo’s Hinoki: “It’s definitely an extravagant soap, but being on my feet 16 hours a day and constantly working with meat (especially fish), it’s all about finding the small ways to treat and pamper myself throughout the day.”

So are you team Mrs. Meyer’s, Dr. Bonner’s, or Le Labo? Or do you have a totally different favorite you swear by? Let us know in the comments below!