The Handy Hack That Will Keep Dirt Out From Under Your Nails When You Garden

Gardening is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby, but working with dirt and soil can be a messy task. More than likely, you have designated clothing items to wear while you tend to your plants, but what about your hands? Fingernails tend to hold any grime or dirt regardless of what you're doing, but with gardening, it might seem impossible to finish a session and come away with tidy nails. While a little dirt never hurt anyone, if you have plans or just don't enjoy the look of dirty hands, there's a little hack that will let you care for your garden with a little less mess to clean up.

Not only is horticulture an engaging and calming activity for many, but the American Horticulture Therapy Association also notes it provides a number of mental benefits, including memory improvement and cognitive skills. Gardening brings together all of the engaging aspects of life and nature, providing people with physical movement, mental stimulation, and fresh air (just to name a few). It can be an addictive hobby, but the aftercare and scrubbing up can be tedious, even for the most enthusiastic gardeners. So what can you do to keep your nails free from dirt, all while continuing to dig in it? This tip might just change your life and give you more reason to use your hands while tending to your plants.

Grab a bar of soap

A gardening job worth doing requires you to get a little dirty, and that can mean soiled fingernails for hours, if not days. Certain practices, like keeping your nails trimmed short and using gloves, are common knowledge and can help a lot. However, sometimes you just have to get your bare hands in the soil, and for this, there is a special hack to keep dirt out from under fingernails. HGTV suggests grabbing a bar of soap and getting it a little wet. Hold it in one hand, then pull the nails of the other hand across the soap. The shavings your fingernails pull under themselves should act as a sealant, keeping dirt out while you work.

Underneath isn't the only vulnerable area for soil to collect, so take the time to add lotion, oil, or petroleum jelly to your nail beds. The cuticles can collect grime too, and since those are also an extremely visible area, you want to protect them from buildup. Aftercare is just as important as prepping your hands for the outdoors, so once you've finished up with your gardening, it's good to have a routine to prevent dryness and irritation.

Don't forget about aftercare

When you head inside to wash up, have a nailbrush close to remove the soap that has collected under the nails. Scrub until the "seals" have dissipated, then use the brush to clean away the jelly or lotion that might be holding leftover dirt. Care to Keep also recommends adding a dash of baking soda during your rinse. The powder granules will help scrub away caked-on soil, and then a good warm water rinse will finish the job.

Lastly, make sure to find a good, hydrating hand lotion. Between the rough texture of the dirt, and all the washing required to clean your fingers, palms, nails, and everything in between, your hands can become dry or cracked if not properly moisturized. Exfoliating them a couple of times a week can help remove older skin cells, and make sure to reapply lotion several times a day after gardening to lock the hydration in. After this routine, no one would even know you'd been helping flora and fauna grow with your bare hands, and you'll be ready to do it all over again with your secret weapon (AKA a bar of soap) the next day!