A Tough Man’s Guide to Washing Greasy Hands

Dirty hands are a man’s badge of honor after a hard day’s work or after he spills something gross all over himself. Whether he’s spending the summer hiking mountains, tuning up a motorcycle, planting a garden, or renovating the garage, a man’s hands can become deeply soiled in a way that no mere thirty-second scrub session is going to alleviate.

That’s right. It’s the grease and grime that seem to seep down into the pores. You wash with regular hand or bar soap and yet your flesh is still blackish-gray. You wash your hands again and that grime is still bonded to your skin like glue.

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. Forget that Softsoap and bar of Dove, sir, and reach instead for these rugged and ready hand-cleaning solutions. Quick reminder: Make it a habit to wash your hands frequently or use a hand sanitizer when you can’t wash. And carry some hand lotion to avoid dryness.

How To Clean Greasy Hands

Whether it’s engine grease from servicing your vehicle 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

One word: Alcohol (Oh silly, we’re not talking about alcoholic beverages). 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 sanitizers 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.

How to Clean Mud, 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 chlorophyll 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.

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