Solutions for Dirty or Smelly Hands

Out of soap with a mess on your hands or an odor that just won't quit? Try one of these 15 quick fixes.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Baking Soda

Chopping garlic or cleaning a fish can leave their “essence” on your fingers long after the chore is done. Get those nasty food smells off your hands by simply wetting them and vigorously rubbing with about 2 teaspoons baking soda instead of soap. The smell should wash off with the soda.

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Bath Oil

It doesn’t take much tinkering around the inside of a car or mower engine to get your hands coated in grease or oil. But before you reach for any heavy-duty grease removers, try this: Rub a few squirts of bath oil onto your hands, then wash them in warm, soapy water. It works, and it’s a lot easier on the dermis than harsh chemicals.

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Butter

Your fishing trip was a big success, but now your hands reek of fish. What to do? Just rub some butter on your hands, wash with warm water and soap, and your hands will smell clean and fresh again.

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Coffee Beans

If your hands smell of garlic, fish or other strong foods you’ve been handling, a few coffee beans may be all you need to get rid of the odor. Put the beans in your hands and rub them together. The oil released from the coffee beans will absorb the foul smell. When the odor is gone, wash your hands in warm, soapy water.

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Cooking Spray

Forget smelly solvents to remove paint and grease from your hands. Instead, use cooking spray to do the job. Work it in well and rinse. Wash again with soap and water.

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Milk

You come back from the garden with stained and gritty hands. Regular soap just won’t do, but this will: Make a paste of oatmeal and milk and rub it vigorously on your hands. The stains will be gone and the oatmeal-and-milk mixture will soften and soothe your skin.

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Olive Oil

To remove car grease or paint from your hands, pour 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt or sugar into your palms. Vigorously rub the mixture into your hands and between your fingers for several minutes; then wash it off with soap and water. Not only will your hands be cleaner, they’ll be softer as well.

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Potatoes

Your family’s favorite carrot soup is simmering on the stove, and you’ve got the orange hands to show for it. Otherwise hard-to-remove stains on hands from peeling carrots or handling pumpkin come right off if you rub your hands with a potato.

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Sandwich and Freezer Bags

You’re sitting on the beach and it’s time for lunch. But before you reach into your cooler, you want to get the grit off your hands. Baby powder in a sealable plastic bag is the key. Place your hands in the bag, then remove them and rub them together. The sand is gone.

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Shampoo

In place of soap, some straight shampoo works wonders for cleaning stubborn or sticky grime from your hands. It even works well to remove water-based paint.

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Shaving Cream

The next time your hands get dirty on a camping trip, save that hard-lugged water for cooking and drinking. Squirt a little shaving cream in your hands and rub as you would liquid soap. Then wipe your hands off with a towel.

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Sugar

Your work is done for the day, but your hands are still covered with grease, grime, or paint. To clean filthy hands easily and thoroughly, pour equal amounts of olive oil and sugar into the cupped palm of one hand, and then gently rub your hands together for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry. The grit of the sugar acts as an abrasive to help the oil remove grease, paint, and grime. Your hands will look and feel clean, soft, and moisturized.

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Toothpaste

The ingredients in toothpaste that deodorize your mouth will work on your hands as well. If you’ve gotten into something stinky, wash your hands with toothpaste, and they’ll smell great.

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Vinegar

  • It’s often difficult to get strong onion, garlic, or fish odors off your hands after preparing a meal. But you’ll find these scents are a lot easier to wash off if you rub some distilled vinegar on your hands before and after you slice your vegetables or clean your fish.
  • You can use undiluted white vinegar on your hands to remove stains from berries and other fruits.

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WD-40

Clean dried glue from virtually any hard surface with ease: Simply spray WD-40 onto the spot, wait at least 30 seconds, and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

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