As a gardener, there is an unexplainable satisfaction in puttering around in your garden with your bare hands. If you feel the same way, then you need to know how to clean fingernails after gardening. The dirt quickly accumulates in every crevice and crack of your skin, especially your nails. This is why, despite the fun in digging the earth with your two hands, proper hygiene must still be upheld.
There are reliable solutions in making sure that the soil does not build up inside your fingernails. You can wear gardening gloves. However, it can be bothersome to use, especially when they do not fit correctly. They always get in the way of handling fine roots or tiny seeds. If you prefer gardening the natural way, which is with your bare hands, then you need to know how to clean fingernails after gardening. Here are some self-care tips you can do at home before and after planting.
How to Clean Fingernails After Gardening
Prevention is always better than cure. You can alleviate or altogether avoid getting some dirt under your fingernails through the following means.
- Even for non-gardening purposes, it is ideal always to keep your nails short and trimmed. With shorter nails, you can easily avoid getting dirt, soil, or any other microscopic objects under it.
- Scratch the tip and body of your nails on a bar of wet soap. After that, massage heavy hand lotion or petroleum jelly into the cuticles. Do this always before heading out to the garden.
- When you are already done for the day, scrub all your nails with warm water and soap. Do this using a soft fingernail brush. You may also use the brush for lightly scrubbing around your hands to remove ingrained dirt. Another word of advice is to use your best soap for this. Choose a soap that will not dry your hands.
- Before showering, brush your hands and then buff them carefully with a pumice stone. This can minimize dry, flaky skin and improve circulation.
- Rub your favorite thick lotion on your hands, your fingers, and between two to three times a day. Warm and soften your dry and ragged cuticles by applying olive oil and massaging them.
- Once in a while, treat your hands to an exfoliating scrub if they feel dry and tight. An effective formula is olive or coconut oil, try equal parts. You may also use brown or white sugar. Massage these gently into your hands then rinse with lukewarm water. After this, dry your hands lightly with a warm towel.
Hand and Fingernail Care Tips for Gardeners
If you spend most of your time in the garden, getting a gardener’s hands is inevitable. Here are some hand and fingernail care tips you may follow.
Do not forget to wear sunscreen.
Always apply sunscreen before going anywhere. This applies even to non-gardeners since the sun’s rays can be harmful to your skin. If you are a gardener or garden-owner, then make sure you cover your whole hands with sunscreen. Gardening gloves do not provide full protection when you spend several hours in the garden. It is necessary to take this extra step if you care about your skin. This will help in preventing sunburn, sun damage, and premature aging from ruining the skin on your hands.
Wear gloves at all times.
Everyone knows how difficult it is to do some gardening tasks while wearing gloves. This is why some gardeners forego the gloves and dive their hands right in the dirt. Wearing gloves can prevent scrapes, cuts, sun exposure, blisters, calluses, getting dirt under your nails, getting your hands dirty, and cracking skin.
It is worth donning a pair of gloves with all of these benefits enumerated. For more options to choose from, it is ideal that you keep more than one pair of gloves for different purposes. Just a bonus tip: put some lotion on your hands before wearing gloves. It will be easier to wash any dirt away when it finds its way inside the fabric.
Buy cuticle oil or balm.
Get some cuticle oil or balm from drugstores near you. If you put these products on your nails regularly, they will always remain soft and moisturized. As an alternative, you may also use coconut oil if you happen to have this in your kitchen cabinet.
Use a toothbrush or nail brush in cleaning your nails.
You can use an inexpensive brush in cleaning that stubborn dirt under your nails. After doing some yard maintenance tasks, use your brush, and add a little soap to remove the dirt gently. Do this every time your garden, so the dirt does not build up.
Exfoliate when needed.
Avoid getting gardener’s hands totally by purchasing exfoliating soaps or scrubs for your hands. You may also make one by mixing a little salt with sugar and any essential oil you have available. Yes, olive oil sounds good too.
If you notice that exfoliating is not enough in keeping your skin smooth, use a pumice stone to prevent the calluses from getting thicker.
Moisturize all the time.
The key to soft and protected skin is to moisturize it daily, and every time you are about to do some gardening. This means that you need to put some lotion before putting your gloves on and after washing your hands when you finish gardening. Shea butter and thick cream also do wonders in keeping hands moisturized before you go to bed.
Aside from lotions, you also need to have ointment on hand. This is to address small cuts, insect bites, scrapes, and irritated skin immediately so that they do not worsen.
Now that you know how to clean fingernails after gardening, it is time to do some shopping. Gardening is not just taking care of your plants, but also yourself. Do not acquire poor hygiene practices and damaged skin because of this activity. Gardening is supposed to be fun and safe. Keep it that way. Get more tips about gardening.