For anyone with a zero waste bathroom in mind, a good soap dish is a must have. Soap bars (and solid shampoo bars) are a fantastically zero waste way of washing yourself, as the omission of water from the bar means that their packaging is a simple cardboard box.
A practical soap dish is not only called for in a zero waste bathroom, but is also handy in the kitchen, the downstairs loo and anywhere else in the house that has a sink. Solid soap bars (and shampoo bars) will stay in shape best when left to drain off and dry out between uses. Not left in a sudsy puddle of water to turn into mush.
Bamboo vs ceramic soap dishes
Bamboo soap dishes are very utilitarian and relatively economical. Bamboo is a highly sustainable material (because bamboo is easily grown), however it's biodegradability means that will deteriorate slowly over time in the bathroom environment.
Ceramic soap dishes can be more hardy and as a result, last a lot longer. Made from clay, when ceramics do eventually break down into particles, they are eco friendly as they do not harm the environment or release any toxic gas into the atmosphere.
Compared to bamboo, handmade ceramic soap dishes are like a work of art to be cherished. They can make more of a statement by adding some colourful fun and prettiness to a zero waste bathroom.
6 of the best soap dishes from indie brands
Finding the perfect soap dish that's not only practical but also pretty will make a zero waste bathroom even more satisfying. Being eco friendly doesn't need to be boring. Luckily we know a few awesome indie makers, specifically ceramicists, who are making lovely, practical ceramic soap dishes by hand.
1. Hairy Jayne’s jesmonite soap holders
"But isn't this blog about ceramic soap dishes!" We hear you cry. And you would be right.
But we wouldn't be doing Hairy Jayne justice if we didn't shout about our range of handmade jesmonite soap holders first. A fantastic alternative to ceramic if you don't want the fear of your dish breaking if ever dropped.
Hairy Jayne's handmade jesmonite shampoo bar holder helps keep your shampoo bars in optimum condition. This is because they are square, like our shampoo and conditioner bars, and have little raised pyramids for the bars to sit on while they dry off - keeping your bar fresher for longer.
For larger bars or both a shampoo and conditioner bar, we recommend Hairy Jayne’s large soap dish. The soap dish’s gaps allow for maximum water drainage, perfect for two bars. The little feet keep the dish raised, meaning your bathroom surfaces won’t get marked. Each soap dish is unique, hand poured with concrete resin that we add vibrant colour to.
2. Beci Callow for playful shapes
Beci is a ceramicist based in Leigh-on-Sea who's work is playful and cute. We particularly love her confetti and wiggle handmade soap dishes, the colourful raised areas are part of the design as well as a place for the soap to sit. (We're fans of her coffee cups with lovely faces and different coloured hair, too.)
3. Beetles & Bones for dots and bright pastels
Beetles & Bones Ceramics is Sheffield-based Lou. Clearly a fan of colour (she has pink and blue hair), her ceramics are covered partly in small black dots and partly in bright pastel dots and colour blocks. The handmade soap dishes have drainage holes plus little feet underneath to raise them off bathroom surfaces.
4. Harriet Cheal for joyful graphic designs
As well a beautiful glazes, Harriet Cheal uses a lot of motifs in her work that we love - smiley faces, 60's style daisy flowers and checks. All in a dreamy colour palette of pale pinks, greens and royal blue. She makes ceramic soap dishes with large drainage holes as well as ones with raised geometric patterned sections, which can also be found at Glassette.
5. Hollie Cooper for colourful hand drawn shapes
Hollie Cooper Ceramics makes limited edition round soap dishes as part of her range of eye catching colourfully glazed hand thrown pottery. Based in Lancashire, Hollie has many stockists throughout the UK selling her handmade ceramic soap dishes, including Handmade Nottingham. Her soap dishes are a circular shape with raised ridges.
6. Megan Louise for simple and delicately coloured
Megan Louise Ceramics have a very dreamy pastel colour palette. Based in the New Forest, Megan hand builds her pottery and shapes it all by hand. The dishes are minimal and functional as soap dishes and shampoo bar holders, with eight drainage holes and delicate single-colour glazes.
Your zero waste bathroom needn't be focussed on function alone. There are plenty of jazzy bathroom accessories by indie makers that are made from natural materials like jesmonite and clay. Just like these beautifully perfect soap dishes or shampoo bar holders that are handmade with love, to be treasured for years to come.