Is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap Natural?

posted in: Personal Care/Cosmetics | 19

This post may contain "affiliate links." This means if you click on the affiliate link and purchase the item, I'll receive a commission. I disclose this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. I only recommend products that passed my strict criteria. Read about my research methods in the Start Here page.

Last updated on December 15th, 2016

natural Soap mrs meyers clean day liquid hand soap

A lot of my friends and family are into eating organic food and living a healthy lifestyle. I have noticed when I’ve visited over the years that a lot of them seem to be using Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap. You can buy Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap in almost any grocery store and it is something I used when I first started reading labels… Mrs. Meyer’s claims that 98% of its ingredients are naturally derived. Hmm. What does that even mean? Does that mean that the ingredients are derived from natural things or that the process of derivation is natural? Let’s look at the actual ingredients.

 

Yay! Unlike a lot of products, the ingredients for Mrs. Meyer’s soap are readily available on its website. Here is what you can find there.

 

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap

You may be thinking, “There is no way I can understand what this all means.” Actually you can and let me walk through the process.

 

I think that it is helpful here to understand how hand soaps are made in general. Let me give you a digest version of the liquid hand soap industry.

 

There are two types of hand soaps.

 

Hand Washing Detergents: These hand “soaps” are made with synthetic surfactants often derived either from petroleum or coconut oil. Coconut oil is a step in the right direction! However, keep in mind that surfactants are made in a multi-step derivation process with many other chemicals added along the way.

 

For example, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) can be made from coconut oil. First, coconut oil is turned into fatty acids that are used to derive lauryl alcohol. Then lauryl alcohol is treated with sulfur trioxide gas or chlorosulfuric acid to produce Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.  And finally, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is treated with carcinogenic ethylene oxide to make Sodium Laureth Sulfate.  This process is called ethoxylation.  As a result of the ethoxylation reaction, carcinogenic 1,4-dioxane is produced and can be left in the final product.  You won’t find 1,4-dioxane disclosed on the label, because it is not an ingredient but an impurity that does not legally have to be disclosed.

 

Another example is that Cocamide DEA, a surfactant derived from coconut oil, is a carcinogen. Not all surfactants are known to be harmful but almost all surfactants do not have sufficient health data or environmental data from which we can know if they are safe or harmful.

 

Saponified Oil Soap: The second type of soap is called saponified oil soap. Saponification is how soap has been made traditionally. It is a one-step process where an alkali is reacted with plant oil. The alkali is called potassium hydroxide (if the soap is liquid) and does not remain in the final product. This liquid hand soap is safe for people and the environment.

 

So which one is Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap?

 

There are three surfactants in Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap, which are

 

  1. Cocamidopyl Hydroxysultaine
  2. Sodium Methyl 2-Sufolaurate
  3. Disodium 2-Sulfolaurate

 

Cocamidopyl Hydroxysultaine: For all intents and purposes, there is really only one study about this surfactant. We also do not know much about its derivation. From Wikipedia, we know that it is a mixture of cocamide and lauric acid. And cocamide is present in other surfactants such as cocamide DEA (a carcinogen), cocamide MEA, and cocamidopropyl betaine (a common allergen). The point is that Cocamidopyl Hydroxysultaine has chemical similarities with surfactants that we know are harmful.

 

Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate: The Skin Deep database indicates no data on this one.   There is virtually no information on it. The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning rates it C.

 

Disodium 2-Sulfolaurate: The same story with Disodium 2-Sulfolaurate – no data.

 

I do not mean to imply that surfactants used in Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap are harmful, but in my opinion, synthetic surfactants cannot be considered to be “naturally derived,” especially because that term has no legal definition.

 

Fragrance in Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap

 

The other ingredients I wanted to talk to you about in Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap are fragrance. Fragrance is often a mixture of undisclosed ingredients. So we as consumers can’t even begin to understand its safety because we do not know what is in those mixtures. Generally, fragrance mixtures have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential harms to the reproductive system (source). I am glad to see that most fragrance ingredients in Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap are essential oils, which is a much safer way to make a product smell nice. However, if you read carefully, Mrs. Meyer’s states that their fragrance is a “mixture of high-quality essential oils and safe synthetic fragrance ingredients.” Hmm… They tell us it is safe but how do we know? How can we know that they are safe when they do not even name them?

 

The other ingredients are good. Anyway, while Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap is one of the better hand soaps, it might not be as natural as it is claimed to be.

 

What hand soap do you use?

 

To read about hand soaps you might like:

Liquid Hand Soap

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Bar Soap over Liquid

mrs meyers clean day liquid hand soap

 

Let's start creating a healthy home today!

I read labels for you

When you join the I Read Labels For You community, you'll receive weekly emails with inspiration, exclusive content and coupons to gain clarity and confidence to create a healthy home. Plus, you'll get the FREE guide: "5 Powerful Steps to a Non-Toxic Home You Can Take Today!"

"I find your knowledge so helpful, to the point and like a gold mine. You have saved me so much time and have taught me so much. Toni

Powered by ConvertKit

19 Responses

    • Irina Webb

      Alina, you are the third person who asked me about Honest company. I got their product samples and reviewing them right now. Thank you for your comment!

  1. Joan Miller

    I’m so glad I found your blog…thanks for making sense of these crazy labels. So regarding the article I read about Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day hand soap…I too am using cute liquid soap dispensers in my home and want to find large refills of a safe soap. Did you ever end up finding one? I don’t even know where to begin with this one…
    Thanks,
    Joan Miller

    • Irina Webb

      Thank you for the nice comment, Joan. It is funny that you asked because I knew that I have not completed my hand soap series but I thought since nobody asked for it I can work on something else. Anyway, all the liquid soaps I’ve looked at have synthetic surfactants and preservatives and I am not a big fan of either. My all time favorite is Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap. But you have to use foaming dispensers with it; otherwise, it is too thin. I hope it helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

  2. Kathy Anderson-Scott

    Please think also of all the extra energy requirements of liquid soaps – you are essentially moving water around just so you can use a dispenser and perhaps save a little ‘mess’. Definitely on the ‘unnecessary’ list of products for a sustainable planet. This was pointed out to me many years ago and I went straight back to good old-fashioned bars of soap (easy to find without any nasties) and unquestionably environmentally superior too. WIN WIN 🙂

    • Irina Webb

      I actually recently came to the same conclusion. Thank you for pointing it out. My next week post is going to be on bar soap.

  3. Amy

    On my quest to find completely honest natural products in store has been hard .I turn to the back and find a list of unnatural ingredients one that pops up on almost all us sls it is also understand a list indifferent names but same thing basically .so I have been using 1/4 Dr.bonners Castile soap peppermint mixed with distilled water and 5 drops tea tree oil for killing terms as a hand soap in a old foaming hand pump.kids and I love it but my dad hates it 😂.you can add any of your fav essential oils I suppose .so far this works great for us but that’s just for hand soap .I sure would love to find honest natural products !!!!!

  4. My

    I am so happy that I found You! I have a small boy with many allergies and sensitivities. Along with that he has autism so it can be difficult to know if something is bothering him so I chose to know what I’m using before hand just in case. Label reading is very hard to understand. Thank you!

  5. Karen

    I don’t know what you guys are looking at But my bottle of meyers hand soap says it has formaldehyde in it,, since when it that natural?

  6. shirley redford

    I have chemical reactions to lots soaps, cleaning supplies etc. I usually buy free of all dyes, chemicals and perfumes. Is ur products free of these

  7. Sarah

    I used Mrs Meyers body wash one time and my skin has never been the same ever since. I’ve never had dry skin before the day I used it… I’ve always had very fair skin, but also very soft. Every area of my skin, where I used the body wash, became dry, irritated and tight. Like a burning feeling. Very very dry. It’s never recovered since I tried it the one time. At least I didn’t use it on my face, so its still soft and not painfully dry and damaged like the rest… Maybe it burned my skin? Idk… My skin has never been in this condition before I tried this product. I thought I’d try a different type of body cleanser after seeing all the ads and positive reviews for this brand. …Foolish blind trust… 🙁 Hope this coment helps someone at least…

  8. Jenny

    Hi Irina,

    I recently watched a documentary on the chemicals that are not disclosed on the products we use everyday. It freaked me out and now I want to ditch all my cleaners, body products and even my kids clothing! I have been looking into young living essential oils and their cleaning products. Any thoughts on whether these essential oils are safe? Thank you!

    • Donna Marie

      Jenny, could you post the name of the documentary and where to view it. Thank you

  9. Gina pepe

    Hello and thank you for the very important work you are doing. Do you have a preference for an essential oil company ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.