Tips/tricks to getting dirt stained hands clean?

garden_frog(Z6 Western NY)May 11, 2006

OK, so we probably all have this problem this time of year...gardener's hands. I always wear gloves and yet my hands still end up filthy. Anyone have any tips or tricks to get them clean?

I always rely on washing my hair to get most of the dirt from under my finger like a charm. But I can't seem to figure out a way to get the dirt out of the wrinkles on the sides of my index finger. (Aside from serious scrubbing and time)

To make matters worse, I burnt two fingers on my right hand yesterday then proceeded to rip open the blister later in the day by accident. So something that won't sting the burn would be ideal!


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lucy925(z5 NY)

Ouch!,until the burn is better, how about the plastic gloves under gardening gloves, I only do this if I have cuts. I bought 2 fingernail brushs this year because I know I will need them. Other than soap and water don't know what to use in open sores.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 1:49PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I also bought a hand and nail brush just for my hands when I work in the yard but they already feel like sandpaper. I am going to try something a little different this year. I am going to wash my hands well and then rub vaseline into my hands like I would hand cream. then when I come back inside all I have to do is wash the vaseline off and hompefully it will block the soil from going down into my skin. I am already embarrased to go anywhere as my hands look filthy and I have already cut off my nails too.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 1:59PM
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faltered(Hamburg NY Z5/6)

I have a few pairs of gloves but just never get around to wearing them. I've heard you can brush your nails over a bar of soap and that'll help get the dirt out. I've never tried it, so I don't know if it'll work.

Otherwise, I just wash my hands a million times and hope no one at work notices!!


    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 7:20PM
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von1(z4 NY)

Avon makes a product called silicone glove which coates your hands so the dirt can't get into the lines. Also I always hit my fingernails with the strongest stream of the hose and it blasts the dirt right out from under my nails. Its almost a miracle it works so well! Lots of handbrushes here also and I even bought Lava soap the other day.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 10:15PM
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I use Olay Body Quench and put a heavier than normal layer on before I put on my gloves. I get those dry lines on the index finger too and this helps keep them clean. I also have a nail file thats coarse on one side and fine on the other to help "sand" out the lines. A free tip - if you run cold water on your hands before making hamburgers the grease doeesn't stick. Keep them wet when you make the burgers.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 5:39AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

I tried Silicone glove before going outside and it didn't work for me. The clay just sucks all the moisture right out. I am going to get some Lava soap. Haven't used it since I was a kid but we always had it when I was growing up.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 5:58AM
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Lava soap works best for cleaning but be sure to moisturize after. I'm always rubbing in hand cream.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 6:27AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

My stepmother once gave me a jar of something labelled gardening soap. It has abrasives like the Lava soap, but isn't quite as hard on the skin.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 3:28PM
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candyinpok(5b or 6, NY)

Try Watkins peppermint foot scrub, it smells great, softens and has scrubbing particles. You could also try regular soft soap with sugar added as a surfactant.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 6:34PM
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Just spray em' with the hose and wipe on the pants!!! Squeaky clean!...Wayne

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 9:12PM
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harebelle(z6a NY)

Why not slip on a pair of latex gloves under your garden gloves? Hands will get sweaty, but they'll be clean when you're done. Then all you need do is scrub the dirt ring from your wrists.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 11:17AM
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Two words. Lava Soap.

The liquid contains moisturizers(or so says the bottle) I like the LavaPro, it works well for grease and gasoline, and comes in the larger size.

I also use borax powder. not really the best thing for people who like perfectly manicured fingernails (it'll clean the paint right off), but the stuff will take off anything.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 12:03AM
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tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)

The thumb and forefinger of my right hand are the worst. They're already dry and cracked from winter and now the dirt gets caked right in there. I've resorted to scrubbing them with a pumice stone that's normally for callused feet. Works pretty good but only on rough skin.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 12:08PM
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hammerl(z5-6 Amherst NY)

I usually use a nail brush and soap. If that doesn't work, I add a little facial scrub and brush that in. I don't suggest either on a burn, of course.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 9:23AM
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cats39(z5 Upstate NY)

Hi All!

I think I may have mentioned this before on this Forum. But if not here goes.

How to keep stained hands clean? Do your best not to get them stained from the beginning. How?

Rubber Latex Gloves.

BJ's sells them by the box at a nominal cost and to cut down on that cost, you can use them over and over again even when they get holes. When the holes get to big or the cuff might rip when pulling them on because of stress it's time to discard.

What I do before taking them off is spray them with a garden hose or wash off the dirt just the same as washing your hands in a bucket of rain water. Then I quick dry them with a dry cloth or rag.

But the most important thing is having a large container like a 34 or 39 oz coffee can with a plastic lid.

Put a fair amount of inexpensive talcum powder or corn starch in the can. Then before I take off the gloves, I rub the powder on the outside. Then I slip the gloves off and put them in the can. Then I put on the lid and shake vigorously to get the powder on the damp or wet inside of the gloves making them dry. Some of the powder will reach into the inside also.

You can easily put several pairs in the can as there all the same size and there's no left or right. So if a hole gets in the stronger left or right hand side of the wearer you can put that glove with the hole on the opposite hand.

When I take the gloves out of the can obviously the outside has the most powder. I turn the gloves outside inward and then blow a little air into the cuff and then squeeze to pop the fingers out. Now the powdered side is inside and this helps to generally make the gloves slid on quite easily.

Hope this info helps someone.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 6:20PM
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bklyndirt(5 Ithaca)

My favorite glove ever for stying clean is actually two gloves:

I put on a pair of 100% cotton gloves (Target used to carry them for $1.50 a pair but no more - I'll have to find another source).

On top of those I'll slip on a pair of disposable latex gloves.

The combination is completely water and mud proof and the cotton keeps my hads from getting clammy.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 12:03PM
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This seems to work for me (although I'm still searching for a better/faster way...) I wash my hands normally with soap under warm water... I the pump some lotion onto my hands and turn the bar of soap in my hands a few times so that now I have a mixture of soap and lotion. I then clean one hand with the other in and up and down motion, this gets the mixture in the nails. I then rinse and repeat. Then I use my nails or a file to get the dirt out. Usually I repeat this 2-4 times. Then... I use a baby wipe or a flushable wipe and clean under the nails again & the beds of the nails. I follow up with more lotion. It really works, although a bit tedious.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 2:06AM
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I can't stand wearing gloves when I garden, so my hands really take a beating. So when I really need them clean....

Keep your hands well moisturized by using hand cream, vaseline etc.

Boraxo, Lava, a nail brush - all help

Wash the dishes by hand. The prolonged soap and water seems to do a good job of softening everything up so the ingrained dirt comes out.

When in desperation, I use a little bleach, That removes the soil stains nothing else seems to touch.

AND - for those cracked skin on the finger problems, bent back nails, wounds, cuts etc that you get on your hands, this is almost an overnight miracle cure - Dr. Christopher's Black Ointment

I once sliced my thumb open badly, probably should have had stitches, but used the black ointment and pressure bandages, and you can barely see the scar. Winter skin cracks are a thing of the past.

Before I go to bed, I moisturize my hands, then apply the black ointment to any wounds and rub in well. It smells like pine tar, and will get on anything you touch, but by morning you will be amazed at the difference. It is not cheap, but 2 oz will last for many many years, since you only use a tiny bit at a time. (if you use my code ROS972 you get $5. off)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 1:04PM
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I just read this somewhere and I haven't tried it yet but they say use Polident [what you soak dentures in] and put your nails in it for few minutes

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 9:40PM
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when i worked and got very dirty we used a product called skin cote. worked like magic and did not dry out your skin. check industrial supply places .

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 6:44AM
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After a quick scrub on my hands with soap and a nailbrush, i grab a bar of soap and flip it over and graze my nails over to jam the soft soap under my nails. I then jump in the shower and wash up and shampoo. By the time I'm clean, so are my nails. If not, I give a last blast with the shower massage directly.
If there is residual stains, I jam toothpaste under my nails a wait a little while then brush out (with nailbrush!). Hope this helps

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 4:27PM
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go to a industrial supply place and tell that you want something like skin-cote.we used it the place we work and got very,very dirty. after washing our hands looked like a docktors hands.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 6:33AM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

Werar gloves. Or take a shower and really scrub/shampoo your hair. Or do what I do-get a professional manicure.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 6:30PM
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bernd ny zone5

After your hand is healed : wash the hands first with soap, then follow with Comet or lemon juice to bleach the dirt out of the skin, then rinse a lot.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 2:14PM
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