Hand Care Tips For Gardeners

Keeping your hands soft and healthy-looking

Dirty Hands-hand-care-tips-for-gardeners
Dirty Hands

It is so great to connect with nature working on the great outdoors transforming and bringing change to our surroundings whether it is beautifying by adding a flower garden, a lily pond, container gardening, growing fruits, herbs, or vegetables one thing for sure and that is gardening can be such a rewarding experience as we reap a harvest of our labor.

Gardening also offers the opportunity of getting that much-needed exercise both mentally and physically and is a great hobby as we strengthen that bond with family and friends who also take delight in this hobby which has proven to work wonders.

Working with your hands

One challenge that many gardeners face however and that is protecting their hands from weeks, months, and years of working in their gardens. Our hands go through a lot as we dig, shovel, hoe, plant, and do all of that other good stuff as we take on those garden projects.

My personal experience

This has been my personal experience over the years of having to deal with hands that have had broken nails, cracked and dry skin, calluses, cuts, embedded dirt under my fingernails, bruised and sore hands. These experiences can be very difficult which presents working in the garden that much more difficult.

Garden gloves

What about garden gloves? I am so happy that you asked that question. No doubt garden gloves were met for the purpose of protecting our hands when gardening but from my experience wearing garden, gloves can feel somewhat awkward at times and don’t give that feeling of maneuverability making those garden projects somewhat of a challenge.

Don’t get me wrong, if garden gloves work for you that’s fine but for those of you that want more freedom like me without the use of garden gloves you will find this post most helpful.

We should do all that we can to keep our hands healthy looking at all times. So the good news is we can work in our gardens without wearing gloves and still maintain healthy-looking hands.

Hand care tips for gardeners

Below are 12 tips to implement on a regular basis that has proven to give good results as you seek to keep your hands healthy-looking.

As much fun as it is working on the outdoors safety comes first. I have written several posts on garden safety which can be checked out here. Garden safety and landscape safety gear.

1. Always keep your nails nicely trimmed so dirt won’t get under your fingernails but if you prefer to keep your nails without getting damaged or getting dirty then garden gloves may be the best way to go. But make sure whichever garden gloves that are purchased fit comfortably.

2. When cleaning your hands after a day of working in your garden it is good to clean your hands with soap and warm water.

3. Though your nails may be short there may be some dirt lurking somewhere under there so using a toothbrush or nail brush will help in removing the remaining dirt.

Applying a nail hardener is a great way to protect and keep your nails from breaking.

5. What about trying a natural non-drying exfoliate scrub product that is easy and gentle on your skin.

6. Use a fingernail file to keep your fingers nicely groomed.

7. Applying skin creams to protect the skin from damage.

8. Using thick lotion has also proven to give good results.

9. Consider getting a manicure several times a year.

10. As you garden every now and again wash your hands so that the dirt won’t harden on your hands.

11. Applying therapeutic ointment at nighttime to protect the skin offers good help.

12. Using garden tools to make contact with the soil instead of your hands when necessary.


Dieting also plays a big part in having and maintaining healthy skin. Some of these foods include Sunflower seeds, avocados, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, walnuts, broccoli, yellow or red bell peppers, olive oil, kale, green tea, oatmeal, water, kiwi, etc…

The final word

Working on the great outdoors was met to be enjoyed as we beautify our surroundings or provide food both for ourselves and our family. Gardening can be very rewarding but in order, to enjoy this hobby we must protect our hands and our skin.

By following this guide which I have laid out will ensure that you enjoy those garden projects as you connect with nature in the great outdoors.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

13 thoughts on “Hand Care Tips For Gardeners”

  1. I think that points 1,2, and 12 from your list are the most important. Especially if you are handling topsoil that has fertilisers or who knows what in the soil, which could be irritating to the skin, or slightly poisonous, you really should wash your hands. Also, by using tools instead of your hands, you are most likely making the job much easier. 

    • Mark it is all about safety first. Sure we want to get started and complete that project but we should play it safe at all times. So happy that I could help. All the best to you and have a day.

  2. Hi Norman,

    I’ve never though about how my diet could affect my hand care but I’ll try to implement some avocados and sunflower seeds into my diet and see if I notice any difference.

    I usually just stick to garden gloves but sometimes my hands still get a bit rough. You have some nice tips and I will try applying thick lotion to my hands more often! I’m afraid I won’t be getting a manicure anytime soon though, lol!

    Thanks for the article, very helpful.



    • Miguel my friend so happy to meet you and I am so happy that I can help.We should do all that we can to take care of our hands. Wishing you all the best of success and have a good day.

  3. Hello Norman. 

    Although I have not done any gardening for years, I always loved it – found it very therapeutic. But it sure was hard on the hands, but the nails in particular since my nails were never healthy. I always found gardening gloves cumbersome, especially when I was pulling weeds around very delicate plants.

    It is my dream to once again have a garden so these tips will come in handy. In the meantime, I like your list of foods as a naturall way to get my nails healthy. I have started massaging some oil around the cuticles at night before I go to bed, so maybe I am taking a step in the right direction. Hopefully, by the time I am ready to garden again, I won’t have to ‘baby’ my nails so much!

    • Hello so good to meet you and you have taken a step in the right direction. I encourage you to get on the great outdoors and get involve in this hobby that has so many benefits. Have  a good day.

  4. Hi thanks for the wonderful and handful tips there.

    Understood you emphasized more on the finger, yeah that’s what does the work. I usually get a broken nail when I try to work on my garden.. thanks for that info.

    Though I will like to add that one other way to care for the hand is to be on the lookout for object while plowing the Earth

    • So good to hear that you are careful when working in your garden. It is good to play it safe and thanks so much for that tip. Have a good day.

  5. Hey Norman,

    Gardening can really mess up your hands if you’re not wearing gloves.I agree with you that wearing gloves feels awkward and I don’t get the “feel” of what I’m doing.

    But the downside is that your hands can really get messed up. One of the first tips I noticed is about keeping your finger nails trimmed. Great tip because the dirt won’t get caked underneath them that way.

    And I always use coconut oil to keep my hands smooth after washing them thoroughly.I like your tips for keeping healthy skin too! Thank you for a great article!

    • Yes Rob we should do all that we can to keep our skin as healthy as ever. Working in our gardens is great but we want to ensure at all times that are hands and skin is in good shape also. Wishing you all the best.

  6. Hello Norman. Another great post from you. Very useful for us farmers that are used to everyday garden and field work. My skin is rough and I’ve had some skin damage in my first year of work. I believe it was due to the fact I was just getting used to the new environment.

    However, after this year passed my skin got used to the everyday workout and is in great condition. I use special cream for my skin and this really helped. Of course, I do always wear a gardening gloves. This is a must for kepping your skin healthy as possible. 

    You will still get influenced by weather but it is not a problem since you will not have direct contant with the plants and eath.

    Thank you for this post.


    • Hello again I am so happy that I could help and it is good to know that your skin has healed and that you do not have anymore issues. All the best to you and have a good day.

  7. Gardening and cold weather can leave our skin looking worn, chapped and dry even if our hands are covered in a pair of gloves. Our skin can cope with a little toughening up every now and again but in the long term, we need to protect our hands and regular moisturizing is the key to soft, smooth hands that will stay that way for years to come.


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