Life Skills 101: How to Clean those Manly Hands

Dirty hands are the badge of honor a man wears after a hard day’s work. Or after he spills something gross all over himself. Or after stumbling comically into a puddle of mud after the movie’s dashing protagonist bests him in some sporting contest.

Whether he has spent a long day hiking through the wilderness, tuning up a motorcycle, planting a garden, or renovating the garage, at times a man’s hands become deeply soiled, dirtied in that way that no mere thirty second scrub session is going to alleviate. You know this type of dirty hand: it’s that grease and grime that seems to seep down into the pores: you wash with regular hand soap and yet your flesh is still blackish-gray. Wash again and still the pattern of your fingerprints stands out against that grime bonded to your skin; try as you might, you can’t quite wash away that vague unclean feeling from your soul — er, wait — hands. Your hands, that’s what we’re talking about.

If your manly hands are mighty dirty and regular soap and water just aren’t working, it’s time you tried some special cleaning tactics customized to the mess at hand, as it were. Put aside that bottle of Softsoap and bar of Dove, sir, and reach instead for these rugged and ready hand cleaning solutions.

How To Clean Greasy Hands

Sugar cubes

Pour Some Sugar On Me. Meaning You.

Whether it’s engine grease from servicing your vehicle’s… engine… or that gross goo that comes off a bicycle’s chain and gears, if you have a case of The Grease Hands, you’re probably not going to get properly clean using hand soap alone. But guess what cuts through grease? Give me some sugar, baby. Ideally you can use a paste made from a tablespoon of a rough, crystalized sugar mixed with some water, but really any sugar will do. Rub that sweet paste all over your manly claws, then wash as usual. Repeat as necessary, but often a single sugar scrub will help break up and lift off the grease.

How To Get Spicy Residue Off Hands

absolut vodka

Two words: Alcohol. Alcohol.

So you just spent a half hour chopping up spicy habanero peppers? Excellent, a fine spicy dinner awaits. Now… don’t touch your eyes, nose, mouth, or other people for an hour or two and you’ll be all set! Washing your hands with regular soap and water often fails to remove the spicy capsaicin that tastes great but will burn the hell out of your eyes with even a bit of contact. Fortunately alcohol rinses away capsaicin quite well. Concentrated isopropyl alcohol (AKA rubbing alcohol — do not drink) works best, but many hand sanitizes can also help remove the spicy stuff. And if you must, go ahead and rinse your hands with a shot of gin or vodka. Whatever you use, follow it up with a normal hand washing.

Mud and Dirt and Grit

generic dish soap

Detergent FTW.

If your hands are just generally rather dirty, but not soiled with some specific compound (like oil or grass), then forget about the hand soap and turn to dish soap instead. While using dish soap on your hands as a routine matter will leave them dried-out, crusty, and hobbit-like, detergent is more than suitable for occasional use on the hands and forearms–and it cuts through caked on messes much more reliably than standard hand soaps. Do consider using a moisturizer if you use detergent on your hands regularly. Even a man needs his hands to be hydrated, dammit.

How To Clean Grass Stains Off Your Hands

Baking Soda and Vinegar: Beyond the Volcano.

If your hands are stained a manly shade of green after a long day of mowing, edging, and otherwise perfecting your lawn (well done, man), then you need to combat the chlorophyl stains using science. Mix about a teaspoon of baking soda with about two ounces (a hearty shot’s worth) of vinegar, and then stand back! There will be (some) foam! For indeed this is much the same mixture used to make those totally awesome foaming volcanoes you made back in grade school. Rub the foul-smelling mixture all over your man hands, scrub, then wash with regular soap.

The All-Purpose Approach to Cleaning Manly Hands

Duke Cannon soap

Just Use the Right Manly Soap.

That’s Duke Cannon Heavy Duty Hand Soap to be clear! This massive bar of soap is three times the size of a standard bar, and is designed to cut through grease, grit, and grime all at once. It is packed full of pumice, which helps to physically grind away built up hand gunk. Modeled after a soap originally designed for America’s GIs fighting in Korea and later in Vietnam (really), this soap is ready for pretty much any mess your hands get into. You probably don’t want to use it every time you wash your hands, as eventually you will be washing bone, but it’s a great soap to have around for clean up after those extra dirty days.

If all else fails, turn to the old tried-and-true: Lava Heavy Duty Hand Cleaner.