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Wearing gloves while you do your household chores may seem like an unnecessary step and expense, but it is actually a great idea, both in terms of comfort and safety. If you aren’t used to wearing gloves during your cleaning regimen, you may feel a little like a 1950s housewife/crime scene investigator hybrid, but your hands and health will thank you in the long run.

Benefits of Wearing Gloves

The most obvious benefit is that gloves protect the skin on your hands. Hot water and cleaning solutions (mild dish soap included) can strip your skin of its natural protective oils, making your skin more susceptible to cuts and irritation. If you already have a cut or abrasion on your hands, gloves can protect your sensitive skin from extra germs, harsh chemicals, and dirty dish water. Not wearing gloves also weakens your nails and makes them prone to cracking, flaking, and tearing.

Wearing gloves while washing dishes also allows you to use hotter water than you would be able to stand without gloves, which makes your cleaning quicker and more effective.

Gloves also add an extra layer of protection against the things you’re actually cleaning. If your hands are in sudsy water, you may not see the sharp knife lurking below the bubbles, and gloves can help keep you from getting cut. Additionally, gloves can give you the confidence to tackle the extra gross chores that you might be squeamish to do otherwise. Think of them like armor for your hands against harmful bacteria and utensils.

What Should I Consider When Choosing the Right Gloves?

Not all gloves are equal to all tasks, so you need to be choosy about what you put on. Here are a few features to consider when you pick out a pair of gloves:

1. Comfort

If you know that you have a latex allergy, you should obviously steer clear of anything that has latex in it. Interestingly, some people are just allergic to the dust inside of latex gloves, and other people are allergic to the whole shebang.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but you should be sure to wear gloves that are the correct size. Look for gloves that have a moisture-wicking liner because there are few things worse than sweaty, sticky hands.

2. Protection

The next thing to consider is how much protection you need when you’re wearing gloves. Not all glove materials resist the same chemicals, so you may need to get different gloves for different chores. If you’re just cleaning the bathroom, you may want to get disposable gloves, so you don’t have to worry about proper storage or sanitation after use. For dishwashing, you might want high-top, fabric-lined latex gloves so that water doesn’t get into your glove, and you have extra protection from pointy objects.

3. Material

The kind of material you choose can make a difference as to how well you’re protected – you might even end up needing a few different types of gloves for various household chores.

Latex gloves are probably the best known glove material, but they aren’t the only option out there. They offer exceptional protection against bloodborne pathogens, but they aren’t very resistant to chemicals. They’re usually pretty cheap and easy to find, but a lot of people are sensitive to latex, so you may need to go another route.

Nitrile gloves offer an excellent alternative to latex if you have an allergy or sensitivity. They are resistant to a lot of chemicals, oils and fats, solvents, kerosene, and gasoline, but they don’t hold up well against strong acids or chemicals with nitrogen. Also, they aren’t very flame resistant.

PVC gloves are cheap and do a good job of resisting oxidizing agents and acids, but they don’t hold up well against acetone or strong solvents.

Neoprene gloves are probably the best gloves in terms of dexterity and protection. It’s easy to feel through the material, and they resist oils, acids, bases, alcohol, flames, and inks. You can find them in varying thicknesses, and you can even get them lined for additional protection.

4. Dexterity

Not all gloves are created equal, and some allow for greater dexterity than others. For washing the dishes, you don’t necessarily need to have a well-fitted glove, but if you’re doing delicate work around the house, you might want something more tailored. You should also consider getting gloves with a textured grip to help you hold on to things better (wouldn’t want to drop the toilet brush on our shoes, now would we?).

How to Remove Your Gloves

Believe it or not, there is a right way and a wrong way to remove your gloves. Taking your gloves off correctly can prevent contamination that could be harmful. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the correct way to remove your gloves is as follows:

  1. “Grasp the outside of one glove at the wrist. Do not touch your bare skin.
  2. Peel the glove away from your body, pulling it inside out.
  3. Hold the glove you just removed in your gloved hand.
  4. Peel off the second glove by putting your fingers inside the glove at the top of your wrist.
  5. Turn the second glove inside out while pulling it away from your body, leaving the first glove inside the second.
  6. Dispose of the gloves safely. Do not reuse (disposable) gloves.
  7. Clean your hands immediately after removing gloves.”

Cleaning Your Gloves

If you have invested in a high-quality pair of gloves, it’s important to keep them clean. Before using, you should always look over your gloves and check for any holes, splits, cracking, or shrinking. Once you’re done using them, sprinkle a little bit of baking soda into your glove to help absorb excess moisture and deodorize. You can also wash the outside with soap and water while you’re wearing them, and then turn them inside out and wash the inside the same way. Lastly, allow the gloves to dry completely before your next use. Taking care of your gloves will help them last longer and stay smelling better.

If you find that a job looks too overwhelming for even your best pair of cleaning gloves, don’t forget to call in the experts. For example, mold clean up may seem doable, but don’t forget that, depending on the type of mold or the area of growth, mold can compromise your health. Utah specialists with the right certifications and equipment can take care of the job quickly and thoroughly and keep you safe in the meantime.