How To Keep Your Feet Clean in the Garden: 8 Ways

Some people enjoy the feel of dirt between their toes when they’re gardening, while others find the sensation disgusting. If you fall into the latter category, there are ways you can keep your feet clean in the garden.

The best way to keep your feet clean in the garden is to wear shoes for gardening. You can also use gaiters, wear tucked-in pants, wear socks, create a DIY washing station, wash your feet off with a garden hose, water your plants last, and set up a sprinkler system.

In this article, I’ll go over the eight best ways to keep your feet clean in the garden so you can keep gardening without getting your feet dirty. So, read on if you’re at your wit’s end with dirt and mud and are unsure what to do.

1. Wear Shoes for Gardening

Many shoes were specially made for gardening and other messy outdoor tasks. If you haven’t gotten your hands on a pair yet, they may be a quick way to solve all of your hygiene problems when gardening. 

There are many types of gardening shoes, but some of the most common are:

  • Clogs 
  • Crocs 
  • Duck boots
  • Sloggers

These gardening shoes typically only come up to the ankle. In addition, they may or may not have round holes that increase airflow to keep your feet cool and dry. Because of these two traits, it’s important to choose a shoe that meets your needs. 

If you’re having trouble keeping your feet clean of mud, you might not want holes in your shoes. On the other hand, if debris or dirt falling into your shoes is the issue, try a pair of gaiters instead. I will cover gaiters in the next point.

In addition to these gardening shoes, gumboots, wellies, and rubber boots can sometimes be better for keeping your feet clean. While they’re heavier than shoes and can trap sweat and other forms of moisture, their high necks will keep dirt off your feet.

Whether you choose to go for shoes or boots, make sure that your gardening shoes are waterproof. You also want them to be comfortable enough that your feet don’t ache during or after wearing them. Gardening is a tough job, and your shoes can make or break the experience.

2. Wear Gaiters

You might have heard of gaiters if you’ve been camping or fishing. But, did you know they can also be used to protect your feet in the garden?

But first, what are gaiters? Gaiters are wraps made of thin, durable materials that you pull over the necks of your shoes to keep debris, insects, and water from getting in them. They come in both knee-length and ankle-length varieties.

Gaiters can also be useful in keeping your feet clean while gardening. They can keep sticks and other debris out of your shoes or boots, and when used in tandem with gardening shoes, they form a great defense against mud and water.

Gaiters also defend against insects that may be lurking in your garden. While they might not help much with stinging insects like bees, they’ll keep ants and ticks from biting you and keep them out of your clothing. Keeping ticks out is especially important, as these tiny insects are hard to notice and spread Lyme Disease.

Look for gaiters that are made of waterproof materials. Drawstrings that you can pull tight to help keep them in place can also be a sweet deal. You can likely find them at any store selling camping or fishing supplies, as they’re a piece of common equipment for outdoorsmen.

3. Wear and Tuck In Long Pants

Long pants can serve the same function as gaiters and protect your legs from dirt and scratches from foliage and yard decorations. Likewise, tucking your pants into your socks, shoes or boots can keep out debris, dirt, and insects.

The biggest drawback of wearing long pants, however, is that the clothing we wear is often absorbent instead of waterproof. Fabrics like denim can soak up water and become heavy and uncomfortable, and that doesn’t make for a good gardening experience. It also increases the probability of trips and falls, potentially causing an injury.

If you experience such issues, gaiters may be better for you. However, wearing long pants can save you time and effort if you’re not having problems with getting wet in your garden. You won’t have to go buy gaiters as you likely have the pants you need already. They’ll keep out dirt and insects just as well as any pair of gaiters, especially when paired with rubber boots.

4. Wear Socks

Since you’ll likely be working on your garden in the sun, wearing socks may seem counterproductive. However, they can help keep your feet clean. Not only do socks soak up sweat, but they keep any dirt that falls on your legs or shoes off your skin. At the end of the day, you can peel off your socks and be rid of dirt and debris.

However, like with long pants, socks can soak up water. For this reason, they go well with boots and gaiters, which can protect your socks from any wetness you encounter while watering your plants.

Another thing socks do is provide cushioning for your feet. Gardening can be tiring, uncomfortable work, and many get sore feet. If your shoes are uncomfortable, gardening can be a downright painful experience. Wearing comfortable socks can help offset some of your pain and discomfort as you work on your garden.

When shopping for gardening socks, focus on longer varieties, such as ankle or crew socks. Ribbed socks fit better, making for a more comfortable fit, and thicker socks will provide better cushioning.

5. Create a DIY Foot Washing Station

If your only qualm with getting dirty is tracking it into your house, a DIY foot washing station might be the solution you’re looking for. By creating a platform of wood and stone next to your hose, you can create a comfortable and sturdy place to wash off and dry your feet before you head inside.

You can find instructions for creating a DIY foot washing station in this article by Grace in my Space or in the video below from Zillow.

6. Wash Your Feet Off With a Garden Hose

If DIY isn’t your thing, you might do better by simply washing your feet off with a garden hose before you head inside. Gardening is a dirty job. Sometimes, getting dirt, mud, and dry plant debris on your feet or legs will be unavoidable.

Whether or not this is an option will depend on why you don’t want to get dirty. For example, if you have sensory issues or just dislike the sensation of being dirty, then you may be able to acclimate yourself to it via repeated short-term exposure to the part of the experience you dislike or are averse to.

However, if you have allergies exacerbated by contact with mud, have injuries or rashes you need to keep clean, or have a severe phobia that causes you long-term distress, one of the other options on this list may be more helpful for you.

7. Water Your Plants Last

The last thing you can do to keep your feet clean is to water your plants last. If you can’t find a suitable way to keep your feet as clean as you’d like, you can save the messy part of your gardening for last and avoid most of the problems.

If you have a hose with a nozzle that can spray from far away, this might also help you. If you water your plants from afar once all your work is done, there is next to no chance you’ll get mud on yourself that you’ll need to wash away.

You can also set up infrastructure to water your plants for you when you aren’t there to get dirty, which brings me to my final point.

8. Set Up a Sprinkler System

If you so desire, you can set up a sprinkler system to take care of watering your plants instead of doing it yourself. A sprinkler system can run on a timer or a clock, which you can set to go off when you aren’t in your garden, keeping you out of the line of fire.

However, buying and installing the system (or having it installed for you) will cost a hefty sum compared to simply whipping out your garden hose. In addition, it may require digging up the ground, so you might need to remove your plants. 

Planning a sprinkler system before starting a garden is best, so you don’t have to undo your hard work or risk or damage your plants. But, if you’ve already established your garden, you may be able to sneak a sprinkler system in by not growing anything for a season or two. 

Otherwise, you could take the chance to move your garden to another location in your yard, installing the sprinkler system beforehand. If you’d like more help regarding the logistics of installing a sparkling system, contact a suitable company. They should be able to work out the details with you based on your plants, climate, garden area, and other unique circumstances.

Key Takeaways

Though getting dirty is sometimes unavoidable, there are many ways for you to keep your feet clean in the garden. You can try wearing gardening shoes, gaiters, tucked in pants, or socks to keep your feet as clean as possible as you work on your garden.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

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