How to Care for Gardener’s Hands

Gardening is a great hobby—fun for you, and good for the environment. There is only one downside: gardening can do some real damage to your hands. If left unprotected and uncared for, your hands can start showing cracks, embedded dirt, calluses, splitting nails, and dry skin, which can make shaking hands with people a little embarrassing.

Below you will find 8 ways to care for your hands during and after gardening:

Keep Your Nails Short

It might not be the most stylish but it is definitely practical. Keeping your nails short if you like to garden regularly will make it easier for you to clean your nails afterwards and it will make your nails less likely to snag.

Make sure you are also using nail and cuticle oil to keep them from becoming dry.

Wear Gloves

Gloves can get in the way and make gardening harder, but they can also save your hands from coming in contact with irritants such as poison ivy. In addition, gloves can also save your skin from becoming too dry and your nails from getting dirt stuck under them.

Make sure your gloves fit you well, and if you’re really picky try buying different pairs for different kinds of projects. Nitrile gloves are great for tasks where you need to be able to feel what you’re doing, like weeding and transplanting. Suede gloves with wrist guards are great for heavy-duty tasks such as whacking shrubs and dealing with brambles. Gloves made with goatskin help keep your hands lubricated and soft because they contain lanolin.

Use Antibacterial Soap

Always wash your hands after gardening. If you want to go the extra mile, try using a soap that contains pumice to help get your hands especially clean.


Right after you wash your hands, moisturize. Wait a few minutes until the lotion has been absorbed and moisturize again. Choose a lotion that contains vitamin E.

Use a Nail Brush

While you are washing your hands, use a nail brush to scrub under your nails to clean out any dirt that might have gotten stuck in the there.

Use a Pumice Stone

After you shower, use a pumice stone to gently buff your hands. This will help reduce the dry, flaking skin and keep your hands smoother. Don’t overdo it  or you can end up with sore skin.

Use Hand Salve

Apply hand salve before you start gardening and wear gloves to keep your hands moisturized, soft and flexible while you work. Apply the salve again after you have washed and dried your hands, and once more before bed if you feel like you need it.

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