1. to do tough physical work or become involved in something dishonest or unpleasant
don't just stand there, get stuck in and get your hands dirty
To 'get your hands dirty' means to be involved in work that is considered tough or difficult. It can also mean to become involved in something that is dishonest or even illegal. If you are willing to 'get your hands dirty' you are someone who is not just able to dictate instructions; you are also willing to get involved personally in difficult details or do some physical work. It is an idiomatic expression used in social and professional contexts.