Health & Beauty, Life & Style

The Best Eco-Friendly Shower Gel To Get Squeaky Clean

Green your showering regime, with our guide to the best natural and eco-friendly shower gel. From plastic-free shower gel to refill shower gel and more – here’s how you can get squeaky clean the green way.

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. We may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links.

While I’m a fan of using super sustainable bars of soap in the shower, I know that some people are not a fan of soap bars. Even though it has been proven that communal soap bars cannot transmit germs, I know more than a few people who won’t entertain the idea of using a bar of soap in the shower.

If washing yourself with a bar of soap in the shower isn’t your thing then don’t worry, I’m not here to preach or pour shame on you. Instead, let me show you some eco-friendly shower gel options. This includes those in plastic-free packaging, as well as clever refill options so that you can still shower sustainably.

The Best Natural & Eco-Friendly Shower Gel

Natural bathing products, with a blue text box that says the best eco-friendly shower gel to get squeaky clean with.

Here are my top natural and eco-friendly shower gel recommendations:

Beauty Kitchen Vegan Shower Gel

Beauty Kitchen plastic-free organic and vegan shower gel and body wash

Beauty Kitchen’s organic, vegan and plastic-free body* wash ticks a lot of the eco-friendly shower gel boxes.

This B-Corp certified beauty product brand makes its shower gel with all-natural and sustainably sourced ingredients. This includes ingredients such as organic coconut and organic sunflower oils. When it comes to the scent there’s nothing artificial here either – essential oils provide the scent.

Beauty Kitchen’s shower gel is available in a range of scents – from minty fresh to zingy citrus, to a relaxing botanical blend. For sensitive skin, there’s a fragrance-free option too.

Packaged in aluminium bottles, you can reuse this durable packaging yourself at your local refill shop. Beauty Kitchen has thought carefully about the reuse potential of their bottles, so the labels adhere with ultra-low tack adhesive so they can be easily removed.

Alternatively, you can send your bottle back to Beauty Kitchen for free and they will wash and reuse the bottles in their next batch. You can do so by post, or if you have a Holland & Barrett store near you, they can be returned here.

Buy direct from Beauty Kitchen* from £8. You can also get 25% off your first order when you sign up for the Beauty Kitchen mailing list. Other retailers include Big Green Smile*, Planet Organic* and Feel Unique*.

Faith In Nature Refill Body Wash

Faith In Nature offers eco-friendly shower gel that you can refill in zero-waste shops across the country. If you don’t have access to a zero-waste shop near you then you can also buy the 5-litre cartons, to refill your own bottles at home.

Whether you refill at a shop or at home, you can even get a pretty and plastic-free Faith In Nature branded aluminium refill bottle* to help you avoid plastic.

As well as the refill potential, there are lots of reasons to love Faith In Nature’s range of body wash. For a start, it’s made right here in the UK from natural ingredients. This means it contains no parabens or SLS/SLES. Secondly, their entire range is vegetarian and vegan-friendly and free from animal testing. And thirdly, their shower gels are free from artificial colours and fragrances.

With heaps of different fragrance options, there’s something to suit every taste.

Buy Faith In Nature from refill shops across the country. 5L bottles to refill at home can be bought from Ethical Superstore* or Big Green Smile*.

Bower Collective Refillable Body Wash

bower collective refillable shower gel cartons

Bower Collective’s range of own-brand sustainable body washes* are made in the UK using naturally derived, ethically sourced and environmentally responsible ingredients.

Free from ingredients such as SLS and parabens, their eco-friendly shower gel is also vegan and cruelty-free.

Bower Collective’s clever refill and return service help lessen the environmental impact of your shower. Simply decant your pouch into any old shower gel bottle. Once the pouch is empty – you don’t even need to wash it out – simply pop the pouches in the pre-paid returns envelope that comes with your Bower Collective order.

To make the returns process as environmentally friendly as possible, Bower Collective advise collecting around 4 pouches in the returns envelope before sending it back. Once the envelope is ready to send, you just pop it straight into a postbox. Or, if it’s easier for you, you can take it to your nearest Post Office for free return.

Once returned to Bower Collective, it’s then refilled with the same product at their refill centre, ready to be used again. Each pouch can be reused up to 10 times, and at the end of life, it is responsibly recycled with Bower Collective’s specialist partner. 

Buy eco-friendly shower gel directly from Bower Collective*, from £6.99.

Miniml Body Wash

Miniml eco-friendly body wash in a glass bottle

Looking for shower gel in a glass bottle? Miniml’s deliciously scented pink grapefruit and aloe vera shower gel is the one you are looking for.

This richly foaming yet gentle, sulphate free body wash naturally keeps even sensitive skin smooth and moisturised.

As well as being made in the UK, the vegan formulation is cruelty-free. What’s more, it’s free from chlorine bleaches, solvents, lanoline, sulphates, parabens and phosphates.

Refill the glass bottle in refill shops. Or if that isn’t practical for you, you can buy a 5L or even 20L refill carton to refill at home.

Shop Miniml eco-friendly shower gel at Wearth* for £5.50 for 500 ml, or buy a bulk refill carton from £34.95*.

Looking to make your bathing habits even more sustainable? Let me help – I’ve got guides to plastic-free bubble bath, eco-friendly shampoo, and the best shampoo bars.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Reusable Sanitary Pads: A Beginners Guide To Getting Started

Looking to switch to reusable period products? Here’s almost everything you need to know about using reusable sanitary pads, to help you make that switch.

To help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. We may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links.

When it comes to periods, there are a host of eco-friendly period products out there. From period pants to moon cups, to organic tampons and sanitary towels. If you are starting out looking into greener options for your period, it can be bewildering knowing where to start.

To help you decide if reusable sanitary pads are for you, here’s my full guide. From how to use washable menstrual pads, to how to wash them and how often you should change them.

How to Use Reusable Sanitary Pads

Image of a reusable sanitary pad and other bathroom essentials, with a blue text box that says everything you need to know about using reusable sanitary pads.

I’ve used washable menstrual towels for quite some years now. Although I mostly use period pants now – do see my full beginners guide to period pants for more info on that – I started out by using reusable sanitary towels. To help out anyone new to reusable period products, I wanted to share my experience by discussing almost everything you need to know about the world of washable pads:

Just What Are Reusable Sanitary Towels?

First, you might be wondering what reusable sanitary towels are exactly. Reusable sanitary towels are much the same as their disposable counterpart. You wear them in your pants, and they work by locking blood away in an absorbent core. The main difference is that reusable pads are made using materials such as cotton or bamboo, and are designed to be washed and used again, rather than disposed of after just one wear.

How Do They Work?

Reusable sanitary pads work by drawing blood and moisture away and locking it between layers of fabric. Many, but not all, reusable sanitary towels use a fabric called Zorb as their middle layer. This is an incredibly absorbent fabric, that according to Zorb, soaks up liquids 20 times faster than other materials and absorbs 10 times its weight in under 2 seconds.

Zorb is made from a blend of bamboo viscose, cotton, organic cotton, and polyester. The use of polyester means many reusable sanitary pads are not strictly plastic-free. However, given that one pad can be used many times means that washable pads can be an integral pad for living with reduced reliance on plastic.

Other pads may use bamboo fleece, whilst other brands may use a blend of polyamide, polyester and lycra, or polyurethane laminate – a breathable yet waterproof fabric.

Rather than adhering to your pants with sticky plastic, most winged reusable pads secure to your pants with a button.

How Many Pads Do I Need?

How many pads you need depends on quite a few factors. It depends on how often you need to change your pads, how often you run your washing machine, or how quickly you can dry hand-washed pads, and whether you intend reusable period pads to be your main method of period protection or not.

If you want to use reusable pads as your main method of period protection, then you might expect to need anywhere between 12 and 16 pads. As it can work out expensive to buy that many pads in one go, I built up my collection slowly, buying a few pads at a time to help spread the cost. I’d recommend supplementing with disposable period products until you have enough reusables to see you comfortably through your whole period.

Is It Easy To Change Pads?

It’s really easy to change your pad. Simply unfasten your reusable sanitary pad, and swap it over for a new one – making sure that you secure the button. Unlike with period pants, you don’t have to remove your trousers or tights. And unlike with standard sanitary pads, there is no rustling of plastic. It’s altogether a much more discreet method of period protection.

How Often Do You Change Reusable Sanitary Pads?

Similar to standard sanitary towels, how often you need to change your pad depends on a few factors. It depends on the absorbency of the pad you are using, and how heavy your flow is. I personally find I need to change my pad every four hours or so on heavy days, and around every eight hours on lighter days. Within one or two cycles you’ll work out what’s best for you.

You’ll know when it’s time to change your pad when you notice a wet, heavy, or full feeling. I’d suggest wearing them for no more than 12 hours, for hygiene reasons.

Do They Work For A Very Heavy Flow?

If you have very heavy periods then I would recommend buying a pad specifically designed for a very heavy flow*. I would then suggest trying the pad out for the first time when you know you are going to be at home for a while, to see how it handles your flow, before buying any more.

The other option for very heavy periods is to consider supplementing your pad with a menstrual cup or a tampon – depending on your preferences. It could offer you extra peace of mind, and allow you get to get on with your day without worrying about leakages.

Do Reusable Sanitary Towels Smell?

If you change your sanitary towels regularly then they won’t smell. The absorbent core locks everything away, which means you don’t have to worry about bad odours.

Are They Comfortable, Or Do They Feel Bulky?

I personally find reusable sanitary pads comfortable – more so than conventional sanitary pads. There’s no sticky plastic to get caught anywhere, and I find that because they are made from cotton or soft fleece, then they are less inclined to chafe or rub. I would also say that reusable pads are much more breathable.

In terms of bulkiness, I wouldn’t say that they feel bulky. I can wear leggings and you wouldn’t be able to tell that I was wearing a sanitary towel. In short, personally, I find reusables an all-round better experience compared to plastic-based disposable pads.

Can You Exercise In Washable Sanitary Towels?

You can exercise in washable sanitary towels. They don’t move around too much and stand up to the most vigorous of activities. If you have minor bladder incontinence when running or jumping, then your pad will also help absorb any leakage – however, I would recommend a specialist product if this is a more major problem for you.

The only issue I’ve had with reusable sanitary towels is when cycling. Sometimes the button can feel uncomfortable when you’re in the saddle. I don’t do horse-riding, so I don’t know if this would cause a similar issue. Opt for reusable pads without wings, or period pants to avoid this.

Can You Use Them Overnight?

image of reusable sanitary towels

You can use washable menstrual pads overnight. I would use a heavy flow pad at nighttime. In the main, I haven’t experienced many leaks overnight. Occasionally, the pad has moved about in the night, and it has caused leakage. For that reason, I do prefer to wear period pants overnight – which don’t move about. I also personally think period pants are a more comfortable option for overnight use, but others may disagree.

How Do I Wash Reusable Menstrual Pads?

With reusable sanitary pads, you have a few options when it comes to washing them:

In The Washing Machine

Washing your sanitary towels is really easy. When you change pads, simply rinse the used one with cold water, then toss it right into the washing machine with all your other laundry.

Alternatively, rinse the pad in cold water and then store the used pads in a wet bag until it’s time to put the washing machine on. You can wash them on your standard wash cycle (30°C or less), with your usual laundry detergent, and then dry them outdoors on your washing line or by hanging them to dry indoors.

There are just a couple of care points to bear in mind Don’t use a conventional fabric conditioner, as this can negatively affect the absorbency of your pads. And never tumble dry them, as heat doesn’t agree with them. Putting them in the tumble dryer will shorten their lifespan and affect their performance.

By Hand

If you don’t run your washing machine very often, then you can hand wash your pads. Simply add some warm water to your sink and wash them with a little bit of laundry detergent or soap, before rinsing, wringing, and hanging them up to dry.

Should You Soak Pads?

Some people like to soak their pads in cold water until they wash them. This is known as wet-pailing. I wouldn’t recommend this method, as pads left soaking in water for more than 24 hours can develop a bad smell that is hard to wash out, and they can grow mould on them.

Soaking your pads isn’t necessary. A quick rinse in cold water and then popping them into your washing machine ready for the next load, or into a wet bag is more than enough to get them clean.

What About Stains?

Many reusable sanitary pads are made using a dark lining fabric that does not show stains. If you are worried about stains, then make sure you opt for pads that have a dark fabric top layer. This means you don’t have to worry about tackling stains.

If you have pads with a light coloured top layer, then you have two options. You can take a relaxed approach and not let stains bother you. Personally, stains don’t bother me, as it’s only me that sees the top layer, and a stain that doesn’t wash out doesn’t mean your pads are dirty.

The other approach you can take is a proactive one. You can tackle stains, by soaking your pads for a few hours in a sodium percarbonate solution before washing them. You can also hang them up to dry outside in the sunshine. The sun acts as a natural bleaching agent, helping to remove stains.

How Long Do Reusable Pads Last For?

There’s no exact science as to how long each pad will last. Some brands say to expect your pad to last anywhere between 100 to 200 washes, whilst others say to expect anywhere between 2 and 6 years. It all depends on how well you look after your pads – making sure you follow the care instructions – and how many reusable pads you have.

My oldest pads are four years old and still going strong. However, I have gradually switched to using period pants most of the time, relying on pads as a backup when my period pants are in the wash, or when I am going to be out of the house for longer periods of time.

Which Are The Best Reusable Sanitary Pads?

I’ve built up a collection of pads over the years:

  • DAME Reusable Pads (from £9.99 via Content Beauty* or Naturisimo*) offer comfortable reusable pads with a dark lining. I only recently added a couple of their pads to my collection, so I’ll be sure to update later on how they perform in the long run.
  • Cheeky Wipes (from £3.99 directly from Cheeky Wipes*) offer a more budget-friendly introduction to reusable sanitary pads. I bought four dark fleece pads from Cheeky Wipes about three years ago, and they are still looking as good as new, without any deterioration in performance.
  • Lilah Pads (from £8 via Etsy*). These were the first pads I bought on my reusable period products journey, and I’m still using the same pads now. Unlike my fleece pads, the cotton top layer has got stiffer with time – we’re talking about four years here – but there is no impact on absorbency or protection. The top layer is a little stained, but the bottom floral layer still looks as good as ever.

Have you tried washable sanitary pads? If so, what are your favourites? And if not, would you give them a go? And if I’ve missed any key questions, do let me know and I’ll do my best to answer them.