Can you identify? After a weekend of gardening and/or canning, do your hands look like a car mechanic’s hands? Peeling beets and plums, shelling walnuts or digging in the garden will surely give you garden hands (also known as farmer hands or canning hands), full of scratches, cuts and deep stains on your skin.
Before we get into how you can clean your gardening hands, let me tell you that those are beautiful farmer hands! Never be ashamed of hard working hands: embrace it! That’s the sign of hard work!
If anyone asks…you can just smile and tell them excitedly that you canned tomatoes all weekend and you will have wonderful food to eat all year. The stain will be gone in a day or two. Good job and be proud of those stains!
Cleaning Garden Hands
If you grow a garden, I’m sure your hands looked just like mine at one point or anther. So, what do you do if you need to go to work the next day? How do you get the purple (or brown, or red) out? I’m going to share with you my favorite ways to clean my hands after doing gardening or homesteading chores.
I researched a lot and learned what other people do in this case. Some of these methods will work for you and some won’t.
How NOT to clean stained hands
Many people suggest using bleach to clean canning hands, and while it probably works really well, why replace dirty looking hands with nasty smelling hands? Bleach is not only smelling bad, but why put something so strong and unnatural on your hands when you can use other methods that are more earth (and body) friendly?
Please don’t use bleach or any bleach containing products on skin with scratches or cuts. There are lots of good natural options below.
A bit of prevention goes a long way!
If you already worked in the garden and your hands are stained, this won’t work for this time around. But it will for the next time you plan to preserve your harvest 😉
Try to always wear gloves. Gardening gloves, cotton gloves and rubber gloves, disposable cooking gloves (there are gloves for all purposes) are really cheap and will keep your hands from getting hurt and stained.
Use a good thick moisturizer before putting gloves on and after working and rub it in well.
Before going out to work in the garden rub your hands well with vegetable oil, or lard. When done, wash your hands with the oil in cold water, then in hot water, and then wash with with soap.
Also, rubbing your hands with Berkman 1802 hand salve before working prevents any staining and skin cracking. It’s my miracle worker 🙂
Ways to clean farmer hands
Here are some ways others were able to get rid of stains on their hands. Some of these ideas will help you get soft, moisturized hands in the process too!!!
- use a good healing hand lotion. I use Working Hands (with almost 10,000 great reviews, you KNOW this works well!) or Udder Cream.
- homemade sugar scrub: in a bowl, combine equal parts of sugar, baking soda, and olive oil. Scrub your hands well, then moisturize!
- denture tablets work amazingly well. Crush one while still in its packet, wet your hands, pour on some of the crushed tablet then rub your hands together. Works every time!
- use a foot pumice and should take care of it
- an Emory board works wonders. Buff your skin with it lightly (don’t go to crazy in one spot), then soak your hands in lemon juice.
- lemon juice will clean it up right away. Take a cut lemon and work it under your nails and over your hands. That usually helps a lot.
- make a scrub with lemon juice and baking soda
- you might try hydrogen peroxide: soak your hands in diluted peroxide for a few minutes, then rinse and moisturize
- olive oil and sugar scrub
- wash dishes: Dawn dish soap takes out anything! Even oil off a diesel mechanic’s hands
- go treat yourself to a hair mask. Wash your hair and give it a good conditioning treatment really working your hands through your hair. When done, your hands are usually stain free and fully moisturized
- old time lotion called corn huskers
- liquid glycerine and granulated sugar: rub, rub rub all over for about 5 mins. Then rinse under tap and use hand cream on wet hands
- use Tide powdered laundry soap. Put some on your hands, add a touch of water and rub your hands together. WOW!
- micro fiber cloth with oil soap (for cleaning wood floors from the dollar store). The micro fiber penetrates deeper than regular cloth or rubbing hands together and the oil soap is good for almost everything
- time…. Just wait until your skin cells exfoliates naturally. These dark spots are a badge of honor showing you know how to put in work. I’m always proud of my beat stained hands. On top of that it opens the way for conversation regarding our lifestyle.And i don’t know about you,. but I LOVE talking about my garden adventures!
I hope these ideas will be useful to you next time you’re busy canning or peeling veg that colors your hands.
Here’s to massive garden success!
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project.