Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Add to My MSN

Homemade Gardener's Hand Paste

7/16/2011 9:30:04 AM

Tags: diy, gardener's hand scrub, Christmas gifts, Liesl and Myles Petersen


I own gardening gloves. Two pair, I think.  They're usually strewn about the yard, left somewhere, forgotten about, rained on. It doesn't matter anyway.  Myles and I plant, rip out weeds and tend to the garden with our bare hands (and me, usually with bare feet). When I went shopping a few weeks back, I pulled out my money only to realize I had dirt-stained hands. I mean, really stained. Oh well!  The cool dirt running through my fingers is just the way I like it. Oh, and my less-than-perfect manicured fingernails attest to the fact that we grow our own food.

I had come across this recipe for a homemade hand scrubbie, but failed to have the ingredients. I decided then, that I would create my own-- an "everything but the kitchen sink" variety that you or anyone would be able to concoct. I also believe that I might make this for Christmas gifts this year--why not?



Here goes--

gardener's hand paste 

 Mix together any of the following to form a nice, thick paste.  Here are some ingredients to try: 

  • olive oil 
  •  handful of sugar 
  • kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary or other herb on hand 
  • 1-2 dried orange or lemon peels, grated (or zest of fresh citrus if you don't have dried) 
  • 2-3 drops lavender oil or any other, if you have it 
  • grated knob of bar soap 
  • smashed up handful of almonds or other nut on hand 
  • 1 glob of honey 

As with any recipe, except when baking, I never get caught up on measuring. Just throw it all into a canning jar and mix. If it looks too dry, add a bit more olive oil. Too wet, add more sugar or salt.  The olive oil and honey leaves your hands so soft. The sugar, salt and bashed up almonds scrub away grime.  The citrus peel and lavender oil add such a lovely scent. {For anyone who knows about Arbonne products and have tried their Awaken Sea Salt Scrub-- this homemade concoction rivals that product, hands down, and you don't need to pay a fortune for it} 

 Keep at the ready, lid off, near your sink. I like to stick a wonton soup spoon in mine to make sure I get a nice, thick blob of it.  You will find yourself reaching for this even when your hands aren't full of dirt! Myles does, so I know it's a winner! 



Liesl and Myles are from Alberta, Canada. You can also check them out on Nest. 

Photos: scrub, L + M Petersen; hand fork, flickr/Tim Samoff 

Related Content

Scrub Those Hands Healthy!

A recipe for a salt scrub that can clean those dirty garden hands while promoting healing.

A More Efficient Way to Build a Fire

An Illinois reader has devised a way to build a fire in a fireplace that is more efficient than the ...

The Debauchery of Christmas

Cam hates shopping but occasionally he is forced to venture out....

How Do You Choose Between Available Building Materials for Outdoor DIY Projects?

Purchasing the materials for a DIY project can involve making a number of decisions. When you’re dec...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Sara St Clair Perron
6/28/2012 2:13:48 PM
I have a cheese shaker jar full of baking soda to wash my hands (and fruits and veggies from the store), and use peroxide or lemon juice to remove stains under my nails. Works great with no fuss.

Angie Johnson
6/27/2012 6:34:00 PM
That totally looks like my hands when I am gardening. I am so glad I am not the only one that does not wear gloves. This scrub looks perfect. Can't wait to try it.

Lou Marchbank
6/27/2012 4:09:55 PM
PS I plan to make this, but since my hands are frequently scratched from roses or berries, I will leave out the salt :)

Lou Marchbank
6/27/2012 3:28:33 PM
I scrape my nails over a bar of soap before I got out to garden. Makes cleaning up that much easier.

Liesl and Myles Petersen
8/19/2011 2:47:00 PM
Big thanks to all for your comments!! The "before and after" hints using the jelly and vinegar are something I must try; what excellent tips, including the one about grinding the detergent under your nails. I would agree that any type of oil would work beautifully in this or any other hand scrub recipe; whatever you have on hand. This scrub lasts for a long time without going rancid-- how long? I can't say, but my half-full jar is still smelling and working great!

kate phillips
8/12/2011 8:51:56 PM
love it...for a great abrasive instead of 'food' ie: nuts, try coffee grounds...smell great and recycle well....this is good for a foot treatment also!

Laura Olney
8/12/2011 1:33:34 PM
My favorite part of this whole article was the photo of a dirty hand holding a trowel! Made me feel like I have company out there - ha! How I love to feel the soil and because I choose to wear comfortable sandals, my feet need the same attention. I am eager to make this gardeners paste, as I like the scent of my herbs anywhere near me. And does anyone LOVE the smell of tomatoes - ahh... I live for that smell all winter!

Glen Graham
8/11/2011 8:19:10 AM
Does this last? I mean with the organic contents in it, or does it go "off" over time?

Gale Green
8/10/2011 3:07:58 PM
Before and After hints: I keep a big jar of Vasoline (or store brand petroleum jelly) by my garden hand tools. Before I go to gardening, I rub a generous gob of it into my hands, some under my fingernails, etc. It makes clean-up afterwards much easier as the dirt doesn't grind so easily into your skin. No matter what soap, or concoction you use to clean your hands with, when you are done, give them a good rub with apple cider vinegar. Yep, you read right. It is in a recycled dish soap bottle I keep near the sink. It really leaves your hands soft, and properly ph balanced! And the best "hands down" scrubber I've found for hands is from Lee Valley gardening supplies. It's like a surgical scrub brush--lots of gentle but thorough scrubbing plastic 'bristles'. They offer them by the dozen, and I gave away a lot last Christmas when I needed a small gift for someone.

April Collins
8/10/2011 11:35:16 AM
I would add...lots of other oils work great too. I cook with coconut oil A LOT, so always have it on hand. It doesn't smell, so the essential oils and herbs are less necessary. It is also pasty at any temp lower than 77 degrees F so it isn't as runny and hard to manage. It will liquefy as you use it. Almond oil is another good oil to have on hand anyway. It is great for skin and also has less scent than olive. It is sweet smelling, so a little fragrance, but doesn't have to be overcome with other added fragrances.

8/10/2011 9:27:25 AM
For any dirt under your nails that is really hard to remove, push a little dish detergent under the nails by 'grinding' your fingernails through soap in your palm. Then use your garden hose sprayer directed under the nails. It's amazing how fast and how clean your nails will look. Works when you have been working on your car or in the garden.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.