Getting your hands dirty while working on vehicle engines, hydraulic systems, and other mechanical systems is a given. In fact, it’s often a badge of honor, proving that you’ve worked hard. Of course, you really don’t want to go home with hands that dirty. The problem is that it can also be difficult to remove oil, grease, and other lubricants from your skin and under your fingernails. We’ve got a convenient guide to help make things easier for you.
An Ounce of Prevention
You’ve heard the old aphorism that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? The same thing applies with cleaning oil and grease off your hands. The best way to do it is not to have to do it at all. No, that doesn’t mean hiring someone to do the work for you. It means that you need to protect your hands in the first place. If the grease and oil don’t get on your skin to begin with, you won’t have to spend time scrubbing and scrubbing to get it off.
A pair of gloves can work wonders here, but you’ll want to find the right solution so that you don’t compromise manual dexterity in the name of keeping your hands clean. Latex or nitrile gloves are affordable, available in bulk, ensure that you have full dexterity in your hands, and keep you safe from grease and oil at the same time.
No doubt you know the orange-scented gritty cleaner. It’s found in just about every mechanic shop these days. Use it. It works well. Yes, it’s gritty and it can take some time to get everything clean, but it really does work, particularly for those big jobs.
It might seem strange to recommend adding oil to oil, but it can work very well. A little bit of baby oil applied to your hands, fingers, and forearms can help weaken the bond between the oil and/or grease and your skin. Slather it on, and then wipe it off using a clean rag (don’t wash yet). If some didn’t come off, repeat the oil application, then wash off with soap and water.
Use a Nail Brush
All the scrubbing in the world does no good for the oil and grease under your nails. Thankfully, there are nail brushes out there that can help you get underneath the nail and remove that gunk. These can also help get into the creases of your fingers and hands to remove deep-down, ground in grime that might be missed with other methods. Pro tip – add a little sugar or salt to help clean your hands (not for use under your nails!).
There you have them – critical tips to help ensure that your hands stay clean and healthy no matter how hard you work, or how much oil and grease you might encounter on a daily basis.