I just wet my hands, washed with soap like usual then sprayed it on full strength working it into my cuticles and all around then rinsed and followed up with another regular soap wash. Under my nails didn't come real clean, a nail brush would of helped I think.
bottle says safely removes waxes, chemicals and soil. The ingredients listed are water, natural cleaners made from corn and coconut, citrus oil, sodium citrate (a natural derivative of citrus fruit) glycerin (from coconut oil) and grapefruit seed extract.
I will warn that it burns and stings in all the little cuts, I have a fresh blister from using the rake and that stung big time! My hands weren't ground in yucky so I don't know how it will work on the true farmers hands out there but may be worth a try if you have a bottle of it or maybe a friend has one and you can wash your hands with it when you go visit. (maybe bring them some fruits of your harvest in exchange. )
Another thing that it helped with was smell, I ad been playing in the compost and my hands had that odor, not of nice mellowed compost but of rotting compost, took that smell off.
I think I will try it on mine and the kids' feet this evening since they are ground in dirty.
I garden quite a lot, in fact have done it professionally. So I get the hands problem, some of which just goes with the territory. However, recently I have noticed that if I keep a bucket of water with me when I am working and occasionally rinse my hands in it as I work, my hands don't get quite so stained (nor do the handles of my shovels get yucky when I am working with compost). Also, when I go inside I clean my fingernails with a brush, warm water & dish soap immediately, not letting the dirt dry under my nails. Having rinsed regularly outside the dirt is still wet and comes off my fingernails much more easily. If all else fails, I use Bon Ami scouring powder.
Bag balm is a good remedy for cracked hands. When I was a potter (ceramic), all the potters used it. Seemed to be the only thing that worked for us. It is for cow udders, but available in many places other than farm grange stores. Look for a square green can on the store shelf. It is a petroleum product, so if you don't like that, never mind. Hope this helps. By the way, I NEVER use gloves! :-)
This thread cracks me up. You obviously don't have thistles in your area...
Canadian mama to A (C/S May 2004) and R (induced VBAC Dec 2007) expecting #3 in July. Currently obsessing over permaculture, photography and beekeeping.
Reviving this old thread is definitely useful, but since the OP hasn't been online in 2 years, I doubt she'll see this.
I like to garden barehanded at home, but having been a professional gardener, there is a definite practicality to gloves, even for tasks that I don't normally pull on the gloves for at home.
I like the bath soaks. DH's hands have permanent ground-in dirt. He does get cracked hands, and Bag Balm seems to be the only thing that helps. Keeping fingernails short (really short) helps a little to prevent too much getting stuck in there. Heavy-duty hand brushes and good enough, I say.
My hands have been depressingly clean this last year. I am looking forward to the next 2 weeks to get those hands both in the dirt and in those gloves. I have blackberries to weed out, a viciously thorny (and gorgeous) rose to transplant. I do hate wearing the gloves as they make my hands hot and sweaty, so I do prefer to go without when I can. Can't always!
And even though it was meant for a fun title, I'd like to add that "Real Gardeners Couldn't Give A Rip if People Think They Aren't Real Gardeners For Wearing Gloves Because Gloves Are Damn Useful Because When You Come Home From Gardening For Others All Day, The First Thing You Want To Do Do When You Get Home Is Do Work In Your Own Garden And Your Hands Appreciate A Little Respect"
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
Lol! We are 'decluttering', a word so inadequate to describe this undertaking. I've been sorting dusty, rusty, filthy things in the garage. Washing hands over and over, my hands were literally hurting. So now I wear either my work gloves or disposable medical-type gloves, as much as possible.
We're moving in a few days. I haven't had a decent back yard in 10 years. I am SO excited! This house we're moving to has a REAL backyard and there WILL be tomato plants in the ground in the next couple months.