Can i use blackmarket refills with my own bottle?

Technically you can use your own bottle, but we recommend you use our bottle. We have performed extensive testing to ensure that both the bottle and the pump we use are compatible with the hand wash, for legal compliance, but also because we want you to have the best possible experience. A line on the bottle indicates how much water you need to use. If too much water is added, your soap solution will be very watery; if too little water is used, the soap solution will be very goopy. We also designed the bottle hoping it is something you would be proud to have in your home.

how much soap does one refill make?

1 refill (16g) + 240ml of warm water = 250ml liquid soap

how do I make the handwash?

You make the hand wash by mixing it yourself. We provide you with the concentrate refill stick, which you dilute at home with warm water. To make your handwash, fill the bottle with warm water to the indicated line, then insert the sachet, and close the bottle with the pump. Shake the bottle vigorously for 1 minute. Although you can use the soap after 10–15 min, it takes some time for concentrated soap powder to completely absorb the water and develop the gel-like consistency. It is best to allow the soap to become fully mixed overnight, and give the bottle one last good shake before using it.  

how long does it take for the handwash to mix?

It can take up to 48 hours for the handwash to fully mix. For best results, make your soap before going to bed to give it time to mix overnight. Inside the bottle is a pebble that helps to agitate the mixture when you shake it and reduces mixing times. To make the soap, the concentrate has to absorb the water, like a sponge, and develop the gel texture. If your soap looks clumpy after mixing it, don’t worry – this is completely normal. The clumps will disappear as the powder absorbs the water and will not affect the performance of the handwash.

how long will one refill last?

This depends on how much soap you use :) Typically, 1 refill lasts about 3 months for one person, and naturally, a family will probably use more.

where is blackmarket made?

Blackmarket is made in London, United Kingdom.

why is your refill material dissolvable?

This depends on how much soap you use :) Typically, 1 refill lasts about 2 months for one person, and naturally, a family will probably use more.

Does Blackmarket work as well as traditional hand soaps?

Blackmarket is made of the same ingredients as natural liquid soap, the only difference is that we don’t add the water, you do.

What are the benefits of using Blackmarket rather than a liquid hand soap in a plastic bottle?

Excellent question! First of all, you are preventing single-use plastic from being incinerated (burned) or buried in landfills. Although landfill is generally considered the worst possible outcome in the waste hierarchy – aside from littering, of course – burying plastic in landfill is better than incinerating it, because burning plastic releases harmful gasses that can be partially captured via a filtering system. Plastic fumes are not something we want to be breathing. Another (but equally important) point is that the Blackmarket refill system weighs 95% less than the premixed products of competitors, because the concentrate contains no water. This means that, rather than shipping water around the world, we simply send you the essential ingredient and you add the rest. Not shipping water means that we generate fewer carbon emissions when transporting our product to you.

why are you called Blackmarket?

It sounds a bit sketchy doesn’t it?! We are glad you asked! We are called Blackmarket because we want to redefine our category. We want to create an alternative path to the status quo by designing more sustainable products. We are taking this negative-sounding word and spinning it to make positive change.

what is the sachet made of? is it plastic?

The sachet is made of polyvinyl alcohol, a material that is biodegradable, non-toxic, and dissolves in contact with warm water. Polyvinyl alcohol is often abbreviated as PVOH or PVA. The material, which was discovered in 1924 by German Nobel Laureate Dr. Hermann Staudinger, has been in commercial use since the 1960s. It’s the same material used in dishwasher tablets and laundry detergent capsules. PVOH is safe enough to be used in contact lens solutions, peel-off facial masks, as well as a coating for vitamins and supplements to protect the active ingredients and keep them from being oxidized. 

The synthesis of polyvinyl alcohol starts with ethylene, a gas given off by plants that causes fruit to ripen. Although the ethylene used to synthesize polyvinyl alcohol is synthetically produced, is chemically identical to the gas emitted by ripening fruit. Ethylene is then converted into vinyl acetate by reaction with oxygen and acetic acid; the latter is the acid present in diluted form in vinegar. Several molecules of vinyl acetate become linked via the process of polymerization to form polyvinyl acetate, which is then dissolved in ethanol – the alcohol in alcoholic beverages – to become water-soluble polyvinyl alcohol. 

In our hand wash, the polyvinyl alcohol sachet dissolves when mixed with warm water. Essentially the packaging becomes part of the soap and acts as a thickener. When you wash your hands, the soap goes down the drain and into the waste-water system. Polyvinyl alcohol does not break down into microplastics; it dissolves and, over time, degrades in water to form non-toxic products, mainly carbon dioxide and water. The biodegradation process can take a few weeks, depending on which microbes are present in the sludge used by your waste-water treatment plant to clean up the waste-water. 

If you want to know more about the biodegradability of polyvinyl alcohol, we recommend that you read this article: Byrne, D., Boeije, G., Croft, I., Hüttmann, G., Luijkx, G., Meier, F., Parulekar, Y. & Stijntjes, G. (2021). Biodegradability of Polyvinyl Alcohol Based Film Used for Liquid Detergent Capsules: Biologische Abbaubarkeit der für Flüssigwaschmittelkapseln verwendeten Folie auf Polyvinylalkoholbasis. Tenside Surfactants Detergents, 58(2), 88-96.

Why not use a bar of soap which is completely zero waste?

If you are already using bar soap, we absolutely support you! A bar of soap is the best choice eco-wise you can make – bar soap lasts a long time and uses minimal if any packaging. Unfortunately, not everyone likes to use bar soap. Some people don’t like how their skin feels after using soap, that it leaves a “sticky” residue. Others dislike using a bar of soap that others have used. Blackmarket aims to make progress in reducing packaging waste by creating solutions for people who cannot see themselves using a bar of soap. We are making it possible for many people to imperfectly make more sustainable choices, prioritising convenience in their lives, rather than expecting everyone to live perfect zero-waste lives. We are here for those people who are on their journey to a more sustainable life.

why shouldn't I use handwash sold in plastic pouches?

Plastic pouches are made from plastic films that are sealed at the edges to form the pouch that contains the liquid. Many brands have launched such products because they use less plastic material than standard plastic bottles do. Pouches are difficult to recycle, and most need to be sent back to the manufacturer or to a 3rd party recycler. Because of the level of difficulty to recycle these pouches, many end up in landfills or are incinerated.

Is the packaging recyclable?

Yes! We encourage you to use our product for as long as possible, because only that way will Blackmarket be even more sustainable than single-use products. The box that holds the refills is made of 100% post-consumer recycled material and can be recycled with your cardboard waste. The shipping box is also recyclable. The glass bottle is made in the UK, with an average of 45% recycled material. Glass is infinitely recyclable, and should be recycled with your glass packaging. The reusable pump top is unfortunately not currently recyclable and will need to be discarded with your general waste. We know this is disappointing and are working to improve the sustainability of our pumps.

why is Blackmarket more sustainable than traditional liquid handwash?

Blackmarket is more sustainable because we are reducing carbon emissions by not transporting water around the world. We also don’t use single-use plastic packaging, we make sure that the packaging we do use is reusable and/or widely recyclable.

what is the soap concentrate made of?

The soap is made of a mix of surfactants, thickeners, preservatives, and fragrance. The surfactants are the active soap ingredients that make the hand wash foam and clean your hands. The thickeners give the soap the gel-like consistency. The preservatives keep you safe, making sure bacteria doesn’t multiply inside your hand wash. Finally, the fragrance makes your hands smell nice when you wash them.

do you use eco friendly ingredients?

Yes we do! Our surfactants, which are the active ingredients that actually make the soap, are Ecocert approved. We use natural essential oils for the fragrance, and we make sure that we buy oils that don’t substantially negatively impact the ecosystems where they are grown. We do use a few synthetically derived ingredients in small quantities, such as preservatives. These are necessary to make sure Blackmarket soap remains safe and won’t support the growth of bacteria or molds. Although the use of tap water to make the hand-soap solution makes a huge environmental impact, it means that the handwash is not perfectly sterile. By including a preservative, we can make sure that your soap remains safe and that no unwanted “visitors” appear.

is the soap suitable for everyone?

Blackmarket is suitable for everyone, but we also have a fragrance free version for those of you with sensitive skin. If you have an open wound or a skin condition, please seek medical advice before using Balckmarket.

has your product been tested on animals?

No, we only test on (willing) humans. I have personally tested every formula iteration we have ever made.

how can I contact you?

Just email us at or you can DM us on Instagram @getblackmarket