Author Topic: Hand washing- how to survive the suds  (Read 895 times)

Offline Myrrh

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Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« on: May 15, 2012, 01:43:56 AM »
I've been scaling up my cheese making endeavors pretty significantly lately, and my hands have been suffering for it. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for how to save my hands from the strain of constant washing.

I'm a student, so I usually make cheese while I am studying meaning that every time there is a 10 minute rest I go back to my books. Since I want things to stay sanitary, I wash my hands before handling the cheese again. My skin has always been pretty hardy, but this last week it gave out, and now even plain water with no soap feels pretty unpleasant. Any good soap suggestions? Do some of you wear gloves? I would appreciate any input since I'm going to start bleeding here pretty soon. I finally have access to good fresh goat milk for the first time in my cheese making life, so I am loath to take a cheese break.

No cheese without pain?





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Offline tinysar

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2012, 02:52:53 AM »
I use oil & lanolin.
Constant scrubbing with soap strips the natural oils from your hands. You can replace this protective layer with a neutral vegetable oil (I like almond oil, and have also used sunflower & olive oils) just rub it into your hands well - good for nails too. Do this whenever you don't need to be handling food or washing hands - just before you go to bed is a good time. Lanolin is another good simple skin-protecting product (sheep shearers always have baby-soft hands, and they eventually figured out that it's due to the lanolin on the wool), but is very sticky and some people dislike the smell. Lanolin is the base of many many skin creams, lip balms & "scarless healing" creams.

I don't know what kind of soap you're using, but you may be able to find something less harsh on your skin. For everyday hand & skin washing I usually just use sorbolene cream, but I don't know if this would be good enough for food-grade sanitation.

Or yes, you could wear gloves - get powder-free ones though.

But I agree that you have to do something about this - if you've irritated your hands to the point where they are almost bleeding (are they cracked?), then that is a hygiene problem in itself.

Offline Caseus

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2012, 12:55:19 PM »
My hands get irritated and cracked more during the winter when the air is cold and drier.  I just use a moisturizing lotion frequently.  I like Eucerin.

Offline Myrrh

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 05:20:18 PM »
Thanks for the input guys! I will give moisturizing frequently a try and see if I can find some less harsh soap. Does anyone have a soap product they like?
I found some Eucrin in my cabinet and thought it was pretty nice too!

Offline Boofer

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 07:37:39 PM »
Yes, I use gloves when I handle my cheeses. You'll see them in most of the pics I post.

I also try to minimize washing/scrubbing with soap if it's not absolutely warranted. Moisturizing lotion on my hands at night before I go to bed helps too.

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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2012, 07:25:54 PM »
Gloves for me!

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2012, 08:39:24 AM »
I made a healing oil by putting plantain and comfrey leaves in the top of a double boiler, then drizzling in about a cup of olive oil.  Simmered it gently for about 3-4 hours, then filtered it out.

I use it either in its liquid form, or add beeswax to make a balm/salve.  When my hands are really bad, I put the salve on at night, then cotton gloves.  It really works wonders.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 07:38:18 PM »
I made a healing oil by putting plantain and comfrey leaves in the top of a double boiler, then drizzling in about a cup of olive oil.  Simmered it gently for about 3-4 hours, then filtered it out.

I use it either in its liquid form, or add beeswax to make a balm/salve.  When my hands are really bad, I put the salve on at night, then cotton gloves.  It really works wonders.

Good job Karen! Impressive!

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2012, 09:09:31 AM »
I started out with the oil because my cow's udder and teats were getting chewed up and chapped.  It was so healing for her and I noticed my hands were much softer after applying it.

Comfrey and plantain are very healing - my hubby is using it on his rosacea and it has really reduced the bumps and thickening of the skin.  I love natural remedies.  I know his condition will never be cured, but at least it is staying under control.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 08:04:56 PM »
I started out with the oil because my cow's udder and teats were getting chewed up and chapped.  It was so healing for her and I noticed my hands were much softer after applying it.

Comfrey and plantain are very healing - my hubby is using it on his rosacea and it has really reduced the bumps and thickening of the skin.  I love natural remedies.  I know his condition will never be cured, but at least it is staying under control.


Funny how we take care of our animals and they take care of us. When I was a kid we used to steal the cows Bag Balm for our hands. I still use the stuff but it is not as good as the old days.


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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2012, 03:16:51 PM »
When I make butter, I knead it in my hands to get the water out of it.  My hands are really nice and soft after doing that, too.  Maybe when/if I get more cream, I won't have to use other conditioners.

Another balm I've just made this week is even easier:  Melt equal amounts of good quality cocoa butter and coconut oil.  They will stay liquid, so you'll need to add some beeswax.  I just put a piece of wax comb into the melting pot, so I'm not sure how much wax I added.  It was just enough to make the balm a bit thicker, but it melts when you run your finger over it.  Great for lip balm (tastes just a bit of chocolate, even) and is very nourishing for chapped and rough skin, too.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2012, 10:24:24 PM »
Sounds nice!

Offline Myrrh

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Re: Hand washing- how to survive the suds
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2012, 11:24:22 AM »
Sounds lovely! I'll have to give it a try.