Can Shampoo Be Used As A Hand Soap?

What do you do if you need to wash your hands but your hand soap has run out?

You can’t bring dirty hands and go buy a hand soap. The best you can do is find an alternative. Many people say that shampoo can be used as hand soap. Can shampoo be used as hand soap? We will give you the exact answer in this article!

Can shampoo be used as hand soap?

You can use shampoo to wash your hands in case of need
You can use shampoo to wash your hands in case of need

Yes, you can if it has sulfates inside. But shampoo is still not the best choice for you to wash your hands. You should just use it when hand soap is not available.

In fact, shampoo or hand soap both have the effect of cleaning the surface. They can be used to get rid of some bacteria on the skin. Many people think that the two types of products are exactly the same. This is not true!

Just because shampoo and hand soap has the ability to clean does not mean they are the same. You can use shampoo to wash your hands in case of need. But you can’t use hand soap to wash your hair. The reason is due to the ingredients in them and the purpose the manufacturer created them for.

To see more clearly about the replacement of two types of shampoo and hand soap products. Follow our sharing to see more clearly!

Why can shampoo be used instead of hand soap?

Shampoo can replace hand soap. Because their ingredients and effects are nearly the same. The purpose that we use shampoo and hand soap is to clean dirt on the skin. So in some cases where hand soap is not available, you can use shampoo instead.

Shampoos Hub x
Shampoos Hub

I’m sure many people have replaced hand soap with shampoo and found it to be effective.

You can use shampoo to gently wash your hands
You can use shampoo to gently wash your hands

Contains cleaning ingredients

Both of these products are intended for cleaning purposes. If you compare the ingredients list of a box of hand soap and a bottle of shampoo. There won’t be too many different ingredients among them. Some similar substances such as Sodium lauryl sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride,… The same ingredients will differ only in quantity and concentration.

Manufacturers concoct shampoos to remove oil from the scalp. It also removes all the dirt from the hair. So you can use shampoo to gently wash your hands.

Contains skincare ingredients

The shampoo and hand soap also contains many hair care ingredients. Some typical nutrients such as Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii,… However, when you use shampoo on your hands, your hands will feel softer and more moisturizing.


The irritation will rarely occur. In shampoo, there is almost no sulfate, because it is easy to irritate on the scalp of the user. So it will be safe to use in your hand.

However, if your shampoo contains sulfates, the cleaning level will be higher. Because the skin of the hands is not as sensitive as the scalp. So you won’t have to worry about skin irritation.

Can I use hand soap to wash my hair?

No! I strongly advise against using hand soap to wash your hair. In case you really can’t find a better product. You can use one-time hand soap to wash your hair.

Don’t use hand soap to wash your hair
Don’t use hand soap to wash your hair

There are many reasons why hand soap cannot replace shampoo for washing hair.

  • The first is that the pH in hand soap is too high compared to the pH that the hair can accept. Hair has a low pH and is acidic, its composition is mainly protein and amino acids. However, hand soap is alkaline with a high pH.

When washing hair with hand soap, the alkaline in the hand soap will break down the amino acids and remove the cuticle (the protective film of the hair). As a result, your hair will become increasingly dry, frizzy, and stiff. The surface of the hair will become rough, even broken.

The more you repeat washing your hair with hand soap, the more serious the damage will be. And in this case, the hair will be very difficult to recover.

  • Hand soap has a cleansing ability that is too strong for the sensitivity of the scalp. It can dry out the scalp and cause dandruff.
  • Some hand soaps contain a lot of sulfates, which can irritate the scalp. You may feel itchiness and discomfort after using it.

Ideally, you should never use hand soap to wash your hair!

What is the difference between shampoo and hand soap?

Although shampoo and hand soap both can clean your skin. You can also use shampoo instead of hand soap. But they are two different products and have many differences.


First, let’s talk about the difference and texture of shampoo and hand soap.

Shampoo is mostly in the form of a slightly viscous liquid. It is a mixture of detergents and conditioners for hair. The pH level in shampoo is also low with a pH < 7. Because hair is usually weakly acidic at pH 4.5 ~ 5.5. The acidity of the shampoo will better support the hair.

The pH of shampoo is lower than that of hand soap
The pH of shampoo is lower than that of hand soap

In contrast, hand soap is mostly solid, manufacturers often make them into bars. If shampoo is acidic, then hand soap is quite alkaline. The pH in hand soap is in the range of pH 8 ~ 9. They are composed of detergents, alkalis, and vegetable oils or animal fats. Hand soaps only dry the skin of your hands but they will harm your hair.

Your intended use

Needless to say, manufacturers make shampoo and hand soap for two different purposes.

Shampoo is used to clean the scalp and hair, providing nutrients to make hair softer. It can also cure some diseases on the scalp if specially formulated. Since scalps are quite sensitive, they are fairly mild cleansers and are sulfate-free.

Shampoo can lather like hand soap, but its purpose is not to remove and kill germs. Instead, it is for cleansing the scalp, removing accumulated dirt and excess oil. Shampoos often have the ability to soften and protect the hair. So they contain nutrients for the hair.

Manufacturers make shampoo and hand soap for two different purposes
Manufacturers make shampoo and hand soap for two different purposes

The main purpose of hand soap is to remove dirt, bacteria, and viruses from your hand. That’s why most hand soaps have a very strong cleaning ability. The skin of the hands is thicker and stronger than the scalp, so most hand soaps contain sulfates. But users rarely experience irritation.

Bottom line:

  • Shampoo is usually slightly liquid and viscous, hand soap is usually solid
  • The pH of shampoo is lower than that of hand soap
  • Hand soaps often contain sulfates, but shampoos do not
  • Hand soap has a stronger cleaning ability than shampoo

What can I use instead of hand soap?

If you feel the need to wash your hands but don’t have hand soap. You can use some highly effective substances below:

Body wash

Body wash is a product used to remove dirt on your skin every day. It’s really not that different from hand soap. They all have an effect on the skin. Even somebody washes have antibacterial effects.

The body wash also contains many ingredients that soften and moisturize the skin. So when you use body wash to wash your hands. Your skin will be softer.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice is acidic and has strong cleaning power. It can remove grease or some stains. If you don’t have hand soap and have a few lemons in the kitchen. You can use lemon for washing your hair.

Oil dishwashers

Dishwashing oil is a type of detergent with the ability to remove very strong stains. It can clean grease and even your dirty hands. If you have a lot of oily hands, dishwashing liquid is not a bad choice.

However, dish soap will dry out your hands. You may want to consider less use of this type of product.

Alcohol with a concentration of more than 60%

In case you don’t need to get rid of the stains but just want to wash your hands before eating. You can use high-strength medical alcohol.

Alcohol with high concentration is often used in medicine to kill bacteria, viruses as well as molds. The nature of this alcohol has very high antiseptic properties. So it can disinfect effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does washing hands with shampoo remove a lot of bacteria?

Have! Washing hands with shampoo does not kill all bacteria. But it can wash away bacteria and make your hands cleaner. Anyway, a little wash is better than no wash at all.

2. Can you use shampoo as a hand soap Coronavirus?

Because shampoo also contains surfactants that can clean and remove bacteria. In the absence of soap, you can use shampoo to clean and prevent Coronavirus.

However, shampoo can only remove some bacteria and viruses, less than using soap. So it’s hard to say whether your shampoo can get rid of the Coronavirus. For added peace of mind, you should not let your hands come into contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, or food before washing your hands again with soap.

And note: Always wash every finger thoroughly for at least 20 seconds to make sure to remove as many viruses as possible.

3. Can conditioner be used as hand soap?

Conditioner cannot be used as hand soap. Because conditioner is actually a product that provides moisture and nutrients to the hair. It does not have the ability to clean. Even the moisturizing layer on it can make your hands sticky or uncomfortable if you don’t wash it off.

4. Other uses for shampoo

Shampoo can have many other uses besides washing hair and washing hands:

  • Carpet cleaning
  • Clean hair comb
  • Wash some stains on delicate and soft fabrics vải
  • Polish shoes or leather wallets


Shampoo can replace hand soap to wash away bacteria on your hands. But shampoo is not the best choice for you to wash your hands. Both shampoo and hand soap has many differences. You need to consider when you want to use these two products interchangeably.

We have shared with you the most accurate and detailed answer. Hopefully, our sharing will help you use the products better!

Edna Feber

I’m Edna. I'm here to guide you about hair products and maintenance tips. You'll fine here product reviews regarding hair tools, hair color, hair care and more along with tips to keep your hair healthy!

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