- TipNut.com - http://tipnut.com -

Gardener’s Hands 101: Protection & Cleaning Tips

If you enjoy gardening and puttering around in the yard, you know how quickly dirt seems to accumulate under the fingernails and in every crack and crevice in the skin. Wearing gloves does help but soil still seems to find its way in.

PlantingSometimes all it takes is an easy washup to get rid of the grime, but more often than not it takes a bit of work to get clean.

Here are tips for protecting hands when digging around in the soil, removing stains and a few moisturizing suggestions.

If you prefer working with bare hands, make sure tetanus shots are up-to-date. Who knows what kind of parasites are living in the soil that you’re up to your elbows in (this is one reason why some get so miserable about neighborhood cats lurking around their yards).

If happiest digging around with bare hands, make sure to scrub up well with hot soapy water (including underneath fingernails) and avoid touching mouth, nose and eyes until washing up. If pregnant, it’s safest to wear gloves.

Lather Up:

Before putting on gloves, try lathering them up with lotions, lards and moisturizers to make washup easier (the idea is that the dirt will be trapped by the heavy oils and will come off with the moisturizer).

Some ideas:

If a greasy residue is left behind, try rubbing with a bit of cornmeal or oatmeal to help strip grease.

Scrubs & Stain Removers:

Make an easy, all-natural scrub with two tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil and three tablespoons of sugar. Rub in gently for a couple minutes then rinse off.


Drizzle liquid soap over bristles before scrubbing underneath fingernails. They can also be used on hands but be careful not to break or scrape skin.

After Care:

Here are some ideas for moisturizing with items from the pantry:

If cuticles are taking a hit, try massaging a bit of warm olive oil into them.

Assorted Recipes

Homemade Pumice Cleaner:

4 oz mason’s sand
1 oz pumice powder

Powder & Exfoliator:


Warm water
2 TBS milk
2 TBS olive oil