Safe Baby Wash & Soap Guide

Written by:

Maia James

Looking for a different guide? Browse them all HERE.

Best Baby Washes New Web Size

1. Babo Botanicals Sensitive Newborn Foam Wash / 2. MADE OF Foaming Organic Baby Wash  / 3. Carina Organics Baby Shampoo & Wash / 4. healthybaby Shampoo & Body Wash / 5. esembly Wipe Up Wash & Foamer Kit / 6. Tandi’s Naturals Gentle Herb Bar / 7. Green Goo Aloe Baby Wash / 8. Poofy Baby Everything Soap

Organic baby wash was one of the very first product rabbit holes I fell into when I was pregnant with Felix. That first bath was a big milestone!

I hope this updated guide helps you avoid this rabbit hole. Read on for my favorite brands of organic baby wash and soap–and the (long) list of brands I think you’re better off avoiding.

Oh, and most baby washes can be used as shampoo–many brands have combined shampoo and body wash for babies into a single product.

felix and wolfie in bubble bath

Ingredients to Avoid in Baby Wash

When it comes to soap for your baby’s body, the biggies to stay away from are fragrance, anything ending in “paraben,” and PEG-40 or other PEG chemicals.

Adult soaps and shower gels often include harsh petroleum-based detergents, but baby wash does tend to be gentler.

Ideally, you should choose a baby wash or bubble bath that specifies 100% natural ingredients; choosing an organic baby wash is an even bigger plus.

In this update, a few brands that we used to call Good Stuff have been demoted to Okay Stuff or even Sneaky Stuff. Here is what will land a product there:

The Okay Stuff tends to contain sodium benzoate, a food-grade synthetic preservative that I feel fine about in products for grown-ups, but prefer to avoid in baby stuff. Phenoxyethanol is another somewhat controversial preservative that will bump a baby wash to at least Okay Stuff, if not Sneaky Stuff.

I consider any baby wash that contains benzyl alcohol or cocamidopropyl betaine to be Sneaky Stuff, as each of these scores as high as 5/6 on the EWG toxicity scale. These two ingredients are in most baby washes, including ones marketed as natural.

I am most picky about ingredients used on the very youngest humans, and especially products that are used often and on the entire body. Thus, we’ve kept our Good Stuff list to only 13 brands because these ones are the cleanest of the clean.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Is Ok…Sort of

One foaming ingredient that has stirred a lot of controversy is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). After lots of research, I’ve decided that while I’m okay using products that contain SLS to wash clothing or dishes, I don’t want it in anything that I rub directly onto my kids’ skin because it can be irritating. Fortunately, most natural or organic baby wash doesn’t contain SLS. Note that sodium laureth sulfate–which can be found in organic baby wash–is a different ingredient all together, and one that should always be avoided as it is often contaminated with carcinogenic 1-4, dioxane. (Here’s more on the differences between these two ingredients.)

What to Look for in Organic Baby Wash

Now that you know some important ingredients to avoid, I will list a few of my favorite ingredients in organic baby washes and shampoos. Seeing any of the following on a label is a clue that it’s more likely to be Good Stuff:

  • Castille soap
  • Saponofied oils of coconut, olive, and sunflower
  • Decyl glucoside, which is a sulfate-free surfactant made from sugar
  • Organic glycerin
  • 100% natural essential oils

Keep reading to see the brands that meet our criteria to be considered Good Stuff, but first, a note on my favorite favorite…

Good Stuff

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Newborn Foam Wash

Babo’s Fragrance-Free Baby Wash is EWG-verified, moisturizing, and extra gentle.

My kids enjoy bubble baths in Babo’s lavender formula, which doubles as a shampoo and is also toxin-free.

Cost per ounce: $1.66.

Baja Baby Bubble Bath, Shampoo & Body Wash

Baja gets extra points for no icky preservatives and for being organic. I haven’t tried it, so I can’t speak to how it performs, but Baja’s organic baby wash has a short list of safe ingredients and is EWG verified.

Cost per ounce: $1.91

California Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

California Baby products are widely available and one of the first brands of baby wash I used when I became a mom. They’ve removed the sodium benzoate, so California Baby’s shampoo/wash is being upgraded to Good Stuff!

Cost per ounce: $2.26

Carina Organics Baby Wash & Bubble Bath

Scented with the essence of the sweet pea flower, this is an extra gentle and tear-free bubble bath formulated with certified organic plant, vegetable, flower and tree extracts. This formula lathers less, rinses easily, and leaves no irritating residue, making it gentle enough for even a newborn’s delicate skin. Perfect for infants, babies, and children.

Cost per ounce: $1.31.

Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Pure Castile Liquid Soap

This very basic soap contains only a few organic ingredients, but one of them is potassium hydroxide, which some readers have been concerned about (it gets a 3 from Skin Deep). Otherwise known as lye, potassium hydroxide is a caustic agent used to turn the coconut oil in Bronner’s soap into, well, soap. Fortunately, none remains in the finished product, and therefore, I consider this Good Stuff.

Cost per ounce: $0.48.

Earth Mama Baby Wash

With a short, natural list of organic ingredients–including glycerin and coconut oil–Earth Mama’s organic baby wash is one of the very best options out there.

Cost per ounce: $2.94.

Esembly Wipe Up Wash Kit

This organic foaming cleanser works for diaper changes as well as during bath time. It features a clean list of ingredients, including organic castile soap, and is produced in the USA.

Cost per ounce: $4.63.

Green Goo Unscented Aloe Baby Castile Soap

Green Goo’s Unscented Aloe Castile Soap is a gentle, soothing cleanser for young ones and those with sensitive skin. This formula is fragrance free and made with all-natural oils and aloe.

Cost per ounce: $0.99

Farmaesthetics Fine Herbal Cleanser & Natural Baby Wash

I originally bought it to use as a facial cleanser for myself, and then began using it on my babies as well. (Parenting.com calls it one of only three cleansers they “…would ever recommend using on a child.”)

The simple ingredients list includes witch hazel, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils of geranium and lavender.

Cost per ounce: $5.62.

Farmaesthetics Homemade Bath Bars

If you love bar soaps, these rainwater bars are gentle enough for babies.

The soap ingredients are basic: just purified rain water, organic olive, palm, and coconut oils, and various herbs, flowers, and essential oils.

Cost per ounce: $3.75.

Healthybaby

I mentioned above that this is my top pick for liquid organic baby wash. Healthybaby’s Shampoo & Body Wash system contains 100% plant-based ingredients selected to protect your baby’s microbiome (like prebiotics and probiotics), meets food quality standards, and is EWG-verified. My whole family is using this wash at the moment, and I am grateful for an opportunity to partner with this game-changing brand!

Cost per ounce: $1.91.

Use code GIMME15 for 15% off, including subscriptions.

Hello Bello Shampoo & Body Wash

While marketed for kids, this body wash would be totally safe for a baby, and is EWG-verified, which means no ingredient scores more than a 2 in their Skin Deep database. Still, this one has many more ingredients than my top top picks.

Cost per ounce: $0.75.

Lafe’s Organic Baby Foaming Shampoo & Body Wash

If you want a very pure, basic fragrance-free liquid soap/shampoo for your baby, this is a good bet, although I don’t love the way it smells (it has sort of a sharp soapy smell).

Lafe’s wash is 100% organic, with hydrating saponified oils of sunflower seed, coconut, olive, and palm.

Cost per ounce: $1.21.

MADE OF Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

Made Of’s Baby Shampoo & Body Wash is a great gentle soap option for kids– it’s free of synthetic fragrances and problematic surfactants.

Cost per ounce: $1.30.

Poofy Baby Everything Soap

I like Poofy’s wash for it’s super simple list of 5 safe ingredients, including organic vegetable glycerin and organic apple cider vinegar.

Use code: MAIAJAMES for 10% off

Cost per ounce: $1.88.

Tandi’s Gentle Herb Soap for Babies

This mild unscented bar soap is made with a variety of seasonal herbs, which are gathered in the wild or grown by the soapmaker herself.

This soap is beef-tallow-based, which means it yields a rich, moisturizing lather and lasts longer than vegetable-based soaps.

If you’re looking for the most environmentally friendly, natural baby wash on this list, Tandi’s Gentle Herb tallow soap is for you.

Cost per ounce: $2.22.

Okay Stuff

Pipette Baby Shampoo & Wash

Despite the small amount of sodium benzoate it contains, I would feel comfortable using this wash on my own kids. Pipette is EWG-vertified, which is great, but I won’t give the Good Stuff categorization to baby products with sodium benzoate. Pipette is also not organic. Discount code: THEGOODSTUFF

Cost per ounce: $0.53.

Weleda Calendula Cream Bath

Weleda is one of those companies whose ingredients are all natural, just as they claim; unfortunately, some of the essential oils (limonene, geraniol, etc.) that make up Weleda’s fragrance are rated poorly by EWG. So I can’t call Weleda Good Stuff when it comes to products being used on infants.

Cost per ounce: $2.49.

Bad Stuff

Aquaphor’s Gentle Wash & Shampoo throws chamomile in their formula and perhaps hopes you won’t notice the PEG chemicals and cocamidopropyl betaine.

Cetaphil Baby Body Wash now boasts the addition of “organic calendula,” which almost makes this Sneaky Stuff rather than just straight Bad Stuff. Anyway, I would avoid this one, as its foaming agents include sodium laureth sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine

Dove Baby Nightime Wash contains zero actual lavender, instead being scented with a synthetic fragance. It also contains sodium benzoate and cocamidopropyl betaine

Johnson’s tops the gross list, since all of their baby washes and soaps include fragrance, cocamidopropyl betaine, PEG chemicals, and/or artificial coloring.

Sneaky Stuff

Alaffia Baby Wash & Shampoo contains safer surfactants, but their use of benzyl alcohol is disappointing. These ingredients would be fine for an adult, but when we are talking about babies I am extra uptight.

Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath contains synthetic fragrance and immunotoxic cocamidopropyl betaine, plus a range of PEG chemicals.

BabyGanics Baby Shampoo & Wash is not the worst brand out there, but anything with phenoxyethanol is in the Sneaky Stuff category when it comes to products for baby.

Baby Mantra Natural Baby Wash, Shampoo & Bubble Bath has been moved from Good Stuff to Sneaky Stuff, because they’ve added benzyl alcohol.

Burt’s Bee’s Baby Shampoo & Wash is super close to being Okay Stuff, but as I keep saying, I am super extra picky with products that are used on newborns. The phenoxyethanol knocks this one down to Sneaky Stuff.

Dr. Brown’s Foaming Baby Wash claims to be a natural baby wash but definitely is not, and includes “fragrance” as an ingredient.

Everyone 3-in-1 Kids Soap I generally like this brand, and wanted to be able to call this brand Good Stuff or at least Okay Stuff. Unfortunately, the inclusion of phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol make this Sneaky Stuff. 

Gaia Natural Baby Bath & Body Wash contains the scary formaldehyde-releasing sodium hydroxymethylglycinate. I don’t know how they get away with calling this a “natural baby wash” (other than the total lack of regulation over the term “natural.”) It also contains cocamidopropyl betaine

Gentle Naturals Eczema Baby Wash is not particularly gentle nor natural, with phenoxyethanol and several PEG chemicals among its ingredients.

Honest Baby Shampoo & Wash is almost Okay Stuff–with sodium benzoate being the only real problematic ingredient–but their scented formulas also contain limonene and linalool.

So many of you have asked about Just Hatched brand, but it’s decidedly sneaky, with fragrance, cocamidopropyl betaine, and PEG chemicals.

Little Twig Baby Wash contains suspected immunotoxin cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium benzoate.

Mustela, a high-end but Sneaky baby line, makes several formulations of baby wash that contain cocamidopropyl betaine, PEG chemicals, and synthetic fragrance.

Noodle & Boo is a Sneaky brand has phenoxyethanol, synthetic fragrance, and other questionable ingredients.

Original Sprout also contains cocamidopropyl betaine, making is Sneaky Stuff.

Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash has cleaned up their ingredients, so EWG’s rating is no longer accurate (they still have “fragrance” listed). It does still contain sodium benzoate, though, so it’s staying in Sneaky Stuff.

Shea Moisture Baby Wash & Shampoo contains synthetic fragrance, phenoxyethanol, sodium benzoate, and cocamidopropyl betaine–so this one is Sneaky Stuff a few times over!

Tubby Todd products used to claim they were 100% natural, which was a total lie. They’ve changed the language on the front of the bottle, but still use cocamidopropyl betaine and therefore are Sneaky Stuff.

Baby Soap & Bubble Bath

Maia, Founder & CEO

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

216 responses to “Safe Baby Wash & Soap Guide”

  1. pncrowe31 Avatar
    pncrowe31

    Hi! What are your thoughts on Dove hypoallergenic wash, fragrance free, the honest products, and mustela?

  2. pncrowe31 Avatar
    pncrowe31

    What are your thoughts on Dove hypoallergenic wash, fragrance free, the honest products, and mustela?

  3. Mell Avatar
    Mell

    Alaffia ingredients don’t list alcohol. Maybe it changed since u wrote this?

  4. Vasu Dev Avatar

    These tips are full of insights and somehow these will gonna improve the babycare routine. One thing that is a must regarding baby wash that is one must have the best natural baby wash products to attain the best results. At last natural is the best a baby can have.
    Thank you.

  5. Vasu Dev Avatar

    I was searching for such a piece of good advice here and there now I am satisfied with your tips, thank you so much for sharing such good knowledge and helping me with the baby body wash.

  6. Amy Smith Avatar

    Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me.