When you work in construction you need the best hand cleaner and the best hand soaps you can get your, um, hands on… Working with dirty tools and machinery all day long means your hands are going to get messy. Your hands get greasy, grimy, and just flat out filthy sometimes. You need a hand soap that can remove things like resin, paint, tar, concrete powder, carbon, adhesives and asphalt, to name a few things you might encounter.
And while you should clean your hands with a powerful hand cleaner or hand soap to remove the dirt and grime, you don’t want to remove all of your skin at the same time. Sure, you could plunge your hands into a bucket of acetone and risk burning any open cuts (not to mention the exposure to a dangerous chemical), or you can look at some of the best hand soaps or hand cleaners on the market for workers. It’s your choice, we know you’ll make a wise one.
Table of Contents
The Best Hand Soaps for Workers
The best hand soaps made for workers can sometimes be a little harsh on your skin. Now, companies are trying to add moisturizing emollients and oils to help cut down on the harshness of these hand soaps.
Some of the best hand soaps even include aloe and shea butter to help heal your hands after washing them. But, overall industrial hand soaps are always going to be a little more harsh than regular hand soaps. So be aware that your skin will always be a little more rough and dry using these industrial soaps.
Looking for the best soap bars for your hands and for the shower? Look here instead.
Effective Hand Cleaners for Workers
The most effective hand cleaners are very similar to the best hand soaps. In fact, they contain many of the exact same ingredients. The only difference between hand soaps and hand cleaners is that hand soap has to be used with water. On the other hand, hand cleaners can be used with or without water.
Although hand soaps and hand cleaners can be used in exactly the same way, the advantage you get over a hand cleaner is that it’s portable. You can take it to the exact site you need it or keep it in your work vehicle for easy access. Hand cleaners will generally be a lot more convenient for workers who move around a lot to use.
The Best Heavy Duty Hand Cleaners and Hand Soaps
Heavy duty hand cleaners and hand soaps generally contain solvents. While you won’t find all of the industrial hand cleaners that work well to have solvents, if you really want to remove the most stubborn grime, you’re going to want to have a solvent-based hand cleaner. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to have it.
In the vast majority of cases a non-solvent based hand cleaner or hand soap will work just fine. We recommended testing both out and seeing which you like better. The advantage to solvents is potentially more powerful scrubbing and cleaner hands, but you risk dry skin. If you got with a solvent-free hand soap or hand cleaner, you’re going to keep your hands soft and moist.
Ingredients in the Best Hand Soaps and Hand Soaps for Workers
We’ve already discussed the fact that there are moisturizers, oil, aloe and even shear butter in the best hand soaps, but it’s amazing the list of ingredients you’ll find these days in hand soap. Some of the additives are as old as time and have been used since the introduction of hand soaps, but there are a lot of really interesting additives that have come out in the last several years. Let’s take a look.
Ingredients you’ll find in the top hand soaps for workers:
- Pumice: This ingredient has been around a while and is basically just ground up pumice stone. Pumice is a volcanic rock that is very lightweight and porous. In can even float on water. It’s ground up in soap to make soap more abrasive so it cleans and exfoliates the skin better.
- Walnut Shells: Walnut shells are used as a less expensive version of pumice. They act in the same way as pumice (more abrasion/exfoliation) and are considered to be more environmentally friendly.
- Sand: Everyone knows what sand is. The technical name of it is silica. It’s used in the same way as walnut shells and pumice. The only difference with sand is that it’s often ground into a much finer powered so it can be a little less harsh on your skin.
- Coffee Grounds: You thought coffee was just for drinking? Well, it’s in soap now and helps add a little extra grit like sand, pumice, and walnut. It also makes the soap smell good.
- Oatmeal: Since we just mentioned coffee, might as well mention oatmeal too. Oatmeal is used as an exfoliate also but it’s a lot less harsh and great for sensitive skin. It gives soap a nice texture without feeling rough and adds a slight smell to soap.
- Clay: You won’t usually see clay in most men’s hand soap (especially hand soaps for workers) because clay dries hands out. However, you may see kaolin clay which has unique properties which makes it so that it does not dry out the skin. It can also give hand soaps a better lather when washing.
- Solvents: Industrial hand soaps contain a lot of different types of solvents. Many of these solvents may be harmful, many are not. So, it’s important to know what you’re buying. Some of the most common solvents are various types of petroleum distillates, which may be harmful too. We do feature many solvent-free soaps if solvents are a concern though.
- Glycerin: One of the most common ingredients you’ll see in almost all soaps. Glycerin is use to attract water and gives your hands some extra moisture. Sometimes companies will actually take glycerin out of there soaps to use in other products because it’s more cost-effective. But, if you suffer from dry skin, you’ll want to see glycerin in the soap you use.
Below are the best hand soaps and hand cleaners for construction workers. We tried to choose the cleaners and soaps of the best brands as well as those of the highest quality. We also favored made in the USA products over those made elsewhere. Lastly, we included bulk orders for added cost savings. If you have a favorite brand not listed below please leave it in the comments.
11 Best Hand Cleaners and Soaps for Workers
Most guys want their hands cleaned quickly but they don’t want to deal with the harsh chemicals that dry out their hands. That’s why construction workers rely on Fast Orange as one of the best hands cleaners for cleaning dirty hands.
For those who don’t know Permatex, they’ve been making quality products for over 100 years. Some of these products include cleaners, gasket makers, sealants, hand soaps, thread lockers, repair kits, adhesives and lubricants. They’re known primarily for their innovation and putting their customers first.
With Fast Orange, you can be sure you’re getting a hand soap that’s safe for you. First off, it’s made in the USA so it’s quality you can trust. Second, it’s petroleum solvent-free so you don’t have the use of harsh chemicals that’ll make your hands all crackly. Third, it’s biodegradable, so it’s safe for the environment. Did we mention it smells of sweet citrus, like juicy, ripe oranges?
What it does use it glycerin, aloe, pumice and lanolin. Glycerin moisturizes your skin while aloe heals your skin. Pumice gets the grime off your hands with its scrubbing power.
Now, we mentioned aloe and glycerin above but we didn’t discuss lanolin. Lanolin comes from sheep’s wool, and helps give the soap extra creaminess. What this does is replace the oils that are usually lost during hand washing. This keeps your skin smooth as a new hard hat.
As for cleaning, it does that and does it in spades. Mechanics and machinists love it for removing grease and oil from their hands. Concrete guys love it for removing off all the junk that’s left over after mixing concrete. Builders love it because it gets rid of grime like glues and sawdust. And construction workers love it because it gets rid of dirt and resin that other soaps just don’t seem to get off.
And it does all this cleaning without the use of water. Sure, you can use water if you want to but you don’t have to. This makes this hand cleaner really portable. You can take it with you and keep it where you work. Or, you can just keep it in your work vehicle. It also has a nice handle for moving it from place to place.
The only downside to this soap is that the pump sometimes stops working. That said, it doesn’t do this too often and all you have to do is put it into another container or just take the top off.
This soap also comes in a large gallons container, so you don’t run out after only a few days worth of pumps, like some soaps. And, if you need a few containers to keep the whole crew supplied, you can buy it in bulk in a 4-pack or a 6-pack for additional savings.
Overall, this is an excellent soap that’s safe for you and safe for your crew. And every time you use it you get that blast of citrus which puts a little bit of pep in your step. It’s also dirt cheap (forgive the pun).
Although we prefer the citrus scent, Permatex makes a cherry scented and fresh scented pumice hand soap as well. These hand soaps are part of Permatex’s “Xtreme” version of soaps which have superior cleaning power and extra odor elimination (for gasoline). These are good soaps for mechanics and machinists.
Ask most construction workers which hand soap they use and they’re going to say Gojo. Gojo Pumice Hand Soap is one of the go-to hand cleaners for most workers in general too. Like Fast Orange, it’s not made using any harsh solvents either. It also have a refreshing orange scent like Fast Orange too. And Gojo’s been around for 70 years so it’s no wonder it’s so popular.
So why wouldn’t you just choose this over Fast Orange? Well, most people will tell you that they don’t think it has as much pumice. This means it tends to slide off the hands a little bit more easily. Is it that big of a difference? Probably not, but if you’re a penny-pincher you might want to reconsider Gojo. It also costs a little bit more than Fast Orange.
As for cleaning power, it’s right on par with Fast Orange but you’re not going to get the same scrubbing power due to the slight lack of pumice. It’s a great hand soap for grease, dirt and oil. However, it’s also not as good for hands caked with paint, tar/asphalt, or adhesives. You’ll have to buy Gojo’s scrubbing towels if you need to remove more stick substances like that. But, it is a good soap and gets rid of most of the normal dirt and grime you encounter on the construction site.
This industrial hand soap comes in one-gallon containers, enough to last you quite a while. And if it excels in any way to Fast Orange, the pump is definitely better and feels a lot sturdier.
Great hand cleaner for construction workers and you can expect to see this stuff on job sites all across America for years to come. It’s also made in the USA so you’re supporting an American company.
3. Zep Cherry Bomb Industrial Hand Soap (4-Pack)
Want the most powerful hand soap and don’t care about harsh solvents or any of that? Then Zep Cherry Bomb is going to blow you away. This industrial strength hand cleaner knocks away dirt, grease, tar, asphalt, paint, oil, carbon, resins, inks, you name it.
The first thing to note about this industrial hand soap is that it’s super strong. You want something off your hands? Use Cherry Bomb and blast it off. It’s not free of solvents but the solvent is mild and low odor as well. Also, although solvents can dry out your hands, this hand soap contains emollients that bring back the oil to your skin so it doesn’t dry out.
The scrubbing power isn’t just in the solvent though, there’s also pumice added to this soap. This really enhances this soap’s ability to get in the crooks and crevices of your hand. It’s also good for removing dirt and grime that gets stuck inside your fingernails.
The cherry scent is really nice too. Some even prefer this cherry scent to the common citrus scent you’ll usually find in the best industrial hand soaps. It also is designed to get rid of the smell of diesel, gas and other fuels.
The only downside to this soap is that it doesn’t come with a pump. However, you can wall-mount the soap with Zep’s D-4000 Dispenser. Or you can buy a separate bottle of Zep Cherry Bomb soap that comes with the pump and reuse the pump. However, you do get the best savings by buying this in the 4-pack.
One of the top industrial hand cleaners on the market with a great scent, it’s hard to go wrong with Zep Cherry Bomb. This hand soap comes in four, one-gallon jugs.
4. Zep Heavy-Duty TKO Professional Hand Cleaner (4-Pack)
Zep makes our “best-of” list again with their TKO Professional Hand Cleaner. This cleaner is a better choice for workers who are looking for an industrial strength hand cleaner that doesn’t contain any solvents. Let’s take a look at this hand soap’s best features.
The highlight on this hand soap is the fact that it contains lanolin. Lanolin is designed to keep your hands silky smooth. Using industrial soaps like these your hands can dry out easy. Lanolin prevents your hands from drying out.
Another fight against dry skin is the fact that no solvents are used in this soap. This means that your hands won’t get all cracked and dry, even if you have to use the soap often. The only downside is that while this hand soap cuts through grease, grime and dirt well, since it contains no solvent it doesn’t work as well for removing glues and paints as well.
One thing you’ll notice when using this soap is what a rich lather you get. It’s hard to say whether that’s because of the lanolin or some other ingredient. However, it foams up nicely and because of the pumice stone you’ll easily remove anything gunking up your hands.
The lemon-lime scent is also a nice change from the other scents you usually see on the market and is quite nice. Another thing is that the pump is nice and sturdy. Also, just the fact that this soap comes with a pump is nice, whereas the Zep’s other hand soap does not.
You’ll pay slightly more for this than Zep’s Cherry Bomb, but if you’re looking for the best industrial hand soap with lotion, this is definitely the one to get.
5. Zep Shell Shock All-Natural Pro Hand Soap (4-Pack)
Zep does it again with their Shell Shock Hand Soap. This all-natural soap is made from the shells of walnuts and provides excellent scrubbing power. It’s also safe for the environment and is Zep’s most environmentally-friendly industrial hand soaps.
Using walnut shells instead of pumice is a nice change. Pumice can sometimes be a little too rough and walnut shells don’t feel as harsh on your skin. In fact, pumice can even cause microabrasions to your skin which may cause skin irritation after using it for a long periods of time.
The walnut shells (combined with the soap) do an excellent job removing the grime off your hands too. In fact, this soap does well with just about any type of substance, including grease, grime, carbon, tar, asphalt, paint, inks and resins. Walnut shells also don’t clog up your drain the way pumice sometimes can.
Another highlight on this hand soap is its soy base. This is not only environmentally-friendly but doesn’t take as big of a toll on your skin. In fact, your hands won’t dry out the same way as they would with a solvent-based hand soap.
The apple spice scent is really nice but sort of strange at the same time. It’s hard not to smell apple spice scent and get a little bit hungry. The best thing about the scent of the soap is the walnut actually comes through fairly strong and is especially pleasant.
Overall, one of the best all-natural hand soaps for workers you’ll find on the market. It’s slightly more expensive than Zep’s TKO and much more expensive compared to the Cherry Bomb, but you get the added benefit of helping the environment.
This made in the USA industrial hand cleaner by Stockhausen is a great choice for those who are serious about protecting their skin. Made from ultra-pulverized walnut shells, this soap does an excellent job cleaning away dirt and grime all while leaving your skin in perfect shape.
Free of any solvents, this hand soap does a great job of cleaning your hands while keeping your skin from drying out. The walnut shells add some extra scrubbing power and won’t clog your pipes or drain.
This soap features a decent a hand pump and comes in a half gallon size. While this soap offers superior safety for your hands and the environment, it’s only downside is the price, costing almost double that of Zep.
This hand cleaner by Stockhausen is one of the best on the market for those who want to protect their hands and still get solid cleaning power. If you can cough up the dough for it, it’s a great choice.
7. Eagle Grit Heavy Duty Industrial Hand Soap for Grease (1 Gallon)
Made in the USA, Eagle Grit’s Heavy Duty Hand Soap offers a unique hand soap for workers looking for something a little bit different. Instead of pumice and walnut shells, Eagle Grit uses sand as the scrubbing agent. This offers superior scrubbing power without compromising your skin’s health.
The scrubbing power of this sand (silica) hand cleaner is incredible. It works on the widest variety of hand-gunking substances so far. In fact, it works well to remove grease, grime, paint, ink, oil, diesel, resins, rubber cement, glue, epoxy, stains, and anything else you throw at it! Not only that, it’s easy on your hands and doesn’t clog your drain.
For those with nut allergies, this sand hand soap comes as a welcome change. This is an especially good hand soap for those who are looking for something other than pumice but couldn’t find any options. It’s also solvent-free and there’s also an added moisturizer to keep your hands soft and smooth.
The refreshing clean scent is a welcome change too. It’s not going to stick around with you for too long and smells nice while cleaning your hands. It also helps neutralize the odors you might have from diesel, gas or oil on your hands too.
The price is slightly expensive but Eagle Grit comes in a nice one gallon contain with a wall mount. The dispenser is excellent and it’s easy to use. Just push down on the top level and out comes the hand soap. It also comes with all the hardware for mounting.
The hand soap is excellent and it’s particularly good for mechanics and machinists, and other workers who deal with a lot of grease and grime. Also, the fact that it comes with such a high quality hand pump is nice too.
The first thing you should know about Grandpa Gus is that he’s a real guy and he makes all his products in the USA. He looks just like the guy you see on the hand soap’s label. The second thing you should know is that he makes a darn good hand soap for workers, the Super Hand Scrub.
So, we won’t lie to you, Grandpa Gus’ hand soap is expensive. But, you’ll be supporting Grandpa Gus so you might not feel so bad about ponying up the extra dough. One of the top features of his hand soap is that is contains super emollients, like castor oil (keeps hands super moist). This helps to keep your hands from drying out, and if there’s anyone who knows anything about dry hands it’s Grandpa Gus.
Grandpa Gus’s Super Hand Scrub uses walnut scrubbers to provide scrubbing power and his soap is free of solvents as well as phosphate. It’s safe on your drain and it’s safe for your hands. It does however need to be kept from 40-100 degrees, so something to keep in mind if you work in an area that’s especially hot or especially cold.
This soap does an excellent job removing almost all types of grime and gunk. It’s especially effective at removing adhesives, paint, tar, wax and grease. You can also use it as a cleaner to remove these same substances, just put a dab of it on a rag and scrub away. It even removes paint scratches.
This hand scrub is also safe for the environment (biodegradable) and safe for your hands. It’s also mildly safe if you inhale it, just don’t go eating the stuff or you might get an upset stomach.
So, what are you waiting for? Drop it in the cart and support Grandpa Gus.
Tub O Scrub is another made in the USA walnut hand cleaner with several distinct advantages over some of the other walnut hand cleaners on the market. It’s also a great product for guys who are looking for a good portable hand cleaner.
The first thing to note about this hand cleaner is the packaging. It comes with an excellent carrying handle and so you can easily take it anywhere. Secondly, this hand soap has a great pump. And since it doesn’t require water, you can take it with you wherever you go.
Another great thing about this hand cleaner is that it contains lanolin and aloe. Lanolin keeps your hands from drying out, and aloe helps rehydrate and heal your skin. Allow is especially good for people who have callouses as well. So say goodbye to dry skin.
In addition to aloe and lanolin, this hand cleaner also contains vitamin E. Vitamin E is well-known as one of the most important vitamins for keeping your skin healthy. It also helps protect your skin against UV light, so you get an added benefit you might not have even wanted.
The walnut scrubbers do an excellent job in this hand cleaner. It’s a great hand cleaner for removing grease and grime, all without the use of water. However, if your hands are especially greasy, this product can be used with water too. The only downside to this hand cleaner is that it feels a little thin compared to some others you might find on the market. However, for the price it really can’t be beat.
All in all, a solid hand cleaner and one you should keep in your work vehicle at all times. It’s especially good on the go and does a fantastic job cleaning your hands.