DIY Gardener's Hand Scrub

Potting a plant with bare hands

Gardening is dirty business! Literally, the word, “dirt” is in dirty and we all know the gold of the garden is in the dirt. Working with your hands in your garden bed is satisfying on many levels, undoubtedly the least of which is the filthy fingers left when you’re done. Wearing gloves may help keep your hands clean and protected, but if you enjoy the feel of the soil between your palms, we have a solution for the dirty-hand issue. Not only does this hand scrub do an amazing job of removing dirt and grime, but it also leaves your hands feeling soft and moisturized. Bonus—this hand scrub makes a fabulously thoughtful gift for your gardening friends. Here’s what you need to know to whip up a batch of your new favorite gardener’s hand scrub.

Step 1 - Gather Hand Scrub Supplies

As the old adage goes, it doesn’t have to be complicated to be good. In this case, it’s almost embarrassing how easy the recipe is and the results are remarkably effective. In fact, you only need two ingredients. The first is plain white sugar. The amount depends on how much hand scrub you plan to make. The second ingredient is Dawn dish soap. While any Dawn dish soap will effectively remove dirt, you specifically want the Dawn Gentle Clean (previously labeled Dawn Hand Renewal with Olay and then just Dawn Hand Renewal). Dawn Gentle Clean is available in three scents that include Pomegranate Splash, Cucumber & Melon, and Peach & Almond. One bottle will make several batches of hand scrub. You will also want containers for your scrub. We suggest pint-size Mason jars.

Step 2 - Add the Sugar

White, granular sugar

Fill your jar about ⅔ full of sugar. This is an imprecise measurement so just eyeball it. You can make adjustments if you aren’t happy with the consistency following step 3.

Step 3 - Add the Dawn Soap

Gently shake the sugar in the jar so that it sits relatively level. Then fill the jar with the Dawn Gentle Clean stopping about ½” from the rim. If you like, you can add half of your dish soap and then stir before adding more.

Step 4 - Stir the Mixture

Mixing a batch of sugar scrub for hands

Use a spoon or thin straight stick (like a chopstick) to stir your hand scrub. Make sure you saturate the sugar all the way to the bottom of the jar. Alternately, you could let the mixture sit and over time the dish soap will naturally soak into the sugar. Your hand scrub should have a pasty consistency. If it is too runny, add more sugar and if it feels too dry, add more dish soap.

Step 5 - Hand Scrub Storage

Put a lid on your jar and store in a cool, dry place. You can use the mixture throughout the gardening season and mix up a new batch as needed.

Step 6 - Using Your Hand Scrub

This gardener’s hand scrub is very easy to use. Simply remove about one teaspoon of the mixture and rub it vigorously around your hands, including under your nails. The sugar works as an exfoliant, sluffing off dry skin particles, while the dish soap removes grease and filth.