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How to Keep Those Nails Clean When Digging in the Dirt!

Added June 17, 2019, Under: Environment, How To

Some of us will call it soil, others use the term ‘dirt’ but either way if you are a hands-on sort of gardener, the chances are that you will get some soil under your fingernails.

And if you like to go barefoot in the garden, then the toenails can be affected too!  But don’t worry, there are lots of suggestions on how to clean those nails.

Soap, showers and water

  • Start by cleaning with the basic nail brush, soap and water routine.
  • Get into the shower, turn the head onto the most powerful setting and direct the water down on to your nails.
  • Or when having a shower, shampoo your hair which will clean your hands and nails at the same time.
  • If you’ve got an electric toothbrush keep one of the heads just for nails!  It will work well – just remember to change the head back again when you clean your teeth!
  • Rub soap into your nails, before you start work.  You can do this by scraping your nails over a bar of soap first.
  • Doing the washing up with bare hands is another way to clean the nails and get rid of any soil under the nails.
  • Try a good soak in the bath with bubbles.

Lemon

  • Use some citric acid (not from fresh lemons but dry powder form) to scrub with hand brush. 
  • Cut a lemon in half and drag your nails through the lemon several times or just plunge them into the lemon and leave them to soak.

Swimming

  • Take up swimming because when your nails spend all that time in the pool or the sea, they come out shiny and clean.

Prevention

  • Use a small amount of Vaseline as a preventative before you start working in the garden.
  • Keeping your nails short makes them easier to clean.
  • Wear a pair of disposable gloves under your regular gardening gloves for quick work.  Not ideal for long periods as nails can get a bit sweaty especially in summer.

Take up baking bread

  • Garden workers who then go on to make bread say that kneading wholemeal dough works really well for  cleaning earth encrusted nails.  They add the comment that you cannot see any evidence of your deed as it all blends in with the dough!  Good for gut health too…

If all else fails!

  • You can choose a deep brown nail polish – and use that to cover up any stubborn remains of the soil.

And the soil is good for you too…

Soil as an antidepressant

We have written on this before but it is well worth repeating.  Soil has been found to have similar effects on the brain as antidepressants – to lift the mood. A study by the University of Bristol (and colleagues at University College London) looked at how mice exposed to ‘friendly’ bacteria normally found in soil, altered their behaviour in a similar way to that produced by an antidepressant.

Dr Chris Lowry, leader of the research said: “These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldn’t all be spending more time playing in the dirt.”

When the team looked closely at the brains of mice, they found treatment with the bacteria Mycobacterium vaccae activated a group of neurons that produce the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood.

If you are gardening:

  • You will inhale the bacteria
  • Have physical contact with the bacteria and
  • Reap the benefits for up to 3 weeks

Having those dirty nails does have advantages!

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