Disposable Gloves Are Unhygienic – Here’s Why

The assumption that simply wearing gloves can stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases isn't correct at all. Gloves are, in fact, unhygienic.

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Disposable gloves have been appearing more often than ever since the latest COVID-19 outbreak. Due to gloves offering a thin layer of protection for the skin, many people get a false sense of security while wearing latex gloves. The assumption that simply wearing gloves can stop the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases isn’t correct at all. Gloves are, in fact, unhygienic.

In a leaflet about proper glove use, the WHO writes, “It (glove use) may also result in missed opportunities for hand hygiene. The use of contaminated gloves caused by inappropriate storage, inappropriate moments and techniques for donning and removing, may also result in germ transmission”. The leaflet also says, “Key learning point: gloves do not provide complete protection against hand contamination.”

While wearing gloves, people may still touch their faces where there are sensitive openings to the body such as the eyes, nose, and mouth – resulting in a greater risk of infection. Due to infrequent changes of gloves, gloves may actually be more contaminated than bare hands. When people use their bare hands, they are more mindful of handwashing, resulting in proper hand hygiene and less transmission of germs. As a general rule, when wearing gloves it’s recommended that they be changed often. However, in busy workplace settings – this doesn’t often happen. Think of a cook, touching raw chicken, and then preparing salad ingredients. Is it likely that they paused to change gloves in between? On the other hand (no pun intended), that same cook without gloves would feel their hands become wet and slimy when touching the raw ingredients and would be more likely to wash hands had the meat touched their bare skin.

Gloves are also not to be washed, according to the CDC, “Patient care gloves should never be washed and used again. Washing gloves does not necessarily make them safe for reuse; it may not be possible to eliminate all microorganisms and washing can make the gloves more prone to tearing or leaking.”

Gloves actually tear more often than you’d think. Microscopic tears in the latex can form as soon as 2 hours from wearing the gloves. These tears are often too small to spot with the naked eye but are a sure chance for germs and viruses to make their way inside and outside the glove so it no longer provides the protection it supposedly promises. On top of not being hygienic enough, latex gloves are also very harmful to the environment. It takes a long time for them to decompose, and the entire process of creating and manufacturing them is extremely polluting.

Simple soap and water remain the best answer to battling the spread of dangerous germs and viruses such as the COVID-19. Here at Soapy, we have created the best hand hygiene solution. The CleanMachine, Soapy’s automatic hand wash station, dispenses the correct amount of soap and water while showing what hand movements to practice. Motion sensors in the CleanMachine’s basin track the user’s washing process, giving them a live report once the wash cycle is over. This allows users to learn how to better their own hand hygiene technique, as well as performing a thorough wash every time. If you want to learn more about the CleanMachine, you can contact us here.

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