How to Prevent Gardening From Ruining Your Hands

When you’re working in your garden or yard, you’d expect to get a little dirty, given that you’re probably working with real dirt. You can even have special shoes or pieces of clothing to wear while gardening and not worry about them getting dirty or dirty. But your hands are a different story.

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Gardening gloves exist for a reason, and of course wearing them makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping your hands clean. But even if they are worn, dirt can get on the gloves and under the nails or get stuck in the folds of the skin.

In addition, there are other situations where you lose gloves, forget to put them on, or work with small, delicate plants that need to be handled without gloves. Here are a few ways to protect and care for your hands and nails before and after gardening.

How to Protect Your Hands Before Gardening

Whether you’re wearing gloves or not, there are a few things you can do before going out to help minimize damage to your hands and nails, as well as reduce the amount of washing you’ll need to do when you get back:

Trim and file your nails

Even if you don’t do it regularly, trim your nails before gardening and then file them down to keep the edges smooth. This will make it harder for dirt to get under your nails.


When your hands are dry, rough and flaky, it gives dirt all sorts of cracks and crevices. Instead, moisturize your hands—ideally using a thicker hand cream—before gardening. Just make sure the cream is completely dry before getting into the mud.

Scratch a bar of soap

Before heading into the garden, scrub the bar of soap so that the soap gets under your nails. This way dirt won’t get inside and the soap will dissolve easily when you wash your hands later, helping you clean them.

Similarly, if dirt tends to build up around your cuticles, rub some Vaseline into them to prevent this from happening.

How to wash your hands after gardening

When you finish gardening, wash your hands and nails thoroughly. Wash them using soap and warm water. In this case, bar soap is preferred over liquid soap because handling the bar of soap while lathering can help dislodge and remove some of the dirt.

Then use a soft nail brush to get rid of dirt that has gotten under your nails, stuck in your cuticles, or ingrained in your skin. Wash your hands and nails again to remove the dirt you just pushed out, and finish with some hand cream (or moisturizer of your choice).


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