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How to Keep Fingernails Clean When Gardening

By Laurie Meekis ; Updated September 21, 2017

If you love gardening but don’t love getting the discoloration and dirt under your nails and cuticles there are tips to help prevent that. Even gloves don’t always keep the dirt from embedding, especially if you work with wet soil. If you do a great deal of gardening it can ruin your nails and make you look like a garden mechanic.

Buy a simple bar of soap that you keep dry. Buy a small jar of petroleum jelly and a fingernail scrub brush.

Take the clean dry bar of soap and scrape the bar with your fingernail so that a layer of dry soap is under your fingernail. Repeat for each nail. Leave it there while you work in the garden.

Rub petroleum jelly around each cuticle and on your nails. Leave a thin layer of it to coat the cuticles and nails. The dirt will stick to it but it comes off easily and makes a protective coat while you work in the garden. It cleans up very easily..

Put on cloth gardening gloves or don’t if you don’t like working with them.( Rubber gloves work but are very uncomfortable to wear. They make your hands sweat and make it more difficult to feel what you are doing.) Cloth gloves can protect but you will still get embedded dirt and dried out finger nails wearing them in wet or damp soil. Either way, with or without gloves, the two prevention steps will protect your fingers and fingernails.

Go to the sink and use some warm water and a gentle scrub brush and clean your hands off. Clean up is a breeze and you don’t end up with dried out hands and embedded dirt or discoloration. The layers of soap under your nails and petroleum jelly on your cuticles make a protective layer that helps keep the dirt from destroying the look of nice hands. With these two preventative measures you can enjoy your garden work and still have presentable hands.


Things You Will Need

  • Bar of soap
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Scrub brush
  • Water

About the Author


Laurie Darroch-Meekis is an award-winning freelance writer. She has written over 1,000 published pieces online and off since 2005 and has many more in progress. She holds a bachelor's degree and was educated in the United States and abroad.