Are you a glove-free gardener? Or did you dive into that garage project without a thought about greasy hands…or tackle a dirty house chore that made you smell like bleach or some other nasty cleaner? Here are some gentle hand cleaners that cost you nothing…

Mediterranean hand cleaner: When your hands are downright filthy, use olive oil to clean off the grease and grime. Vigorously massage the olive oil into your hands, then wipe them with paper towels. If the gunk’s still there (like paint or tar), oil your hands again and rub them together with some kosher salt or sugar (which works as an abrasive) until the stubborn stuff is gone. Rinse your hands with the warmest water you can stand, and wipe them with more paper towels.

Just a spoonful of sugar: If it’s just some ground-in dirt that you want to undo, add one teaspoon of sugar to your soapy lather, and wash your hands with it. The sugar acts as an abrasive to clean away grass and garden stains.

Natural skin buffer–cleaner: This remedy for rough, chapped and soiled hands is a favorite among farmers. In a bowl, combine about one-half cup of cornmeal, one tablespoon of water and enough apple cider vinegar to make the mixture the consistency of a loose paste. Rub this mildly abrasive mixture all over your hands, massaging it in for a good five minutes or until the rough spots have been adequately buffed. Rinse with tepid water, and pat dry. This treatment not only removes the dirt, it also helps soften, soothe and heal the hands.

Minty-fresh stink remover: If your hands have an unpleasant, lingering smell from bleach or any other strong, chemical cleaner, wash them with lukewarm water and a few dabs of white toothpaste. The mildly abrasive consistency of the paste will scrub off the harsh scent molecules from your skin.

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