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When Should You Change Disposable Gloves?

Published by Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies on Jan 10, 2024

It’s important to know when to change disposable gloves, especially if you work in high-risk settings such as long-term care facilities or hospitals.

Preventing the spread of disease through infection control procedures are critical to the well-being of yourself, your patients, and your colleagues.

Unsure when to change single-use gloves? Keep reading.

When Should You Change Disposable Gloves?

Why You Need Disposable Gloves

You’ve probably seen your doctor wearing disposable gloves, but have you ever wondered why?

Disposable gloves prevent contamination and reduce disease transmission by providing a protective barrier.

In non-medical settings, cleanroom gloves can protect sensitive components in critical environments. Industrial manufacturers need gloves to protect their machinery from contamination and protect workers from chemical hazards.

Here’s a list of common reasons to use disposable gloves:

  • Protect your skin from chemical hazards
  • Prevent the spread of infectious diseases and bacteria
  • Avoid cross-contamination
  • Need extra grip when handling small parts (e.g. mechanic gloves)
  • Need to prevent microscopic materials from damaging critical components in cleanroom settings

Many disposable gloves are only suitable for single use, especially in medical settings, but households may find they can reuse disposable gloves.

How Long Can You Wear Disposable Gloves?

It is essential to change disposable gloves when the material has degraded or torn, potentially exposing your skin to hazards.

The goal with disposable gloves is to maintain a protective barrier, whenever that barrier is compromised, you need to change gloves.

You should always change gloves in the following situations:

  • You have been exposed to infectious disease
  • Gloves have signs of wear or a puncture
  • You’ve come in contact with a chemical that may degrade the material
  • You are moving to a new customer or patient

Be sure to check with your specific industry’s standards. The FDA has much stricter requirements than industrial manufacturers. The food-service industry must also adhere to rigorous standards, requiring glove changes between making a sandwich, for instance.

What Disposable Gloves Last the Longest?

Nitrile or latex gloves last the longest out of all disposable glove materials. For plumbers, chloroprene may be the best material for you because of its exceptional chemical resistance.

Thicker gloves outperform thinner gloves by a wide margin. Here is a basic guideline for choosing glove thickness:

  • 1 – 3 mil: Light-duty tasks that require frequent glove changes
  • 4 – 6 mil: Medium-duty tasks that require a robust barrier but where cost is all a deciding factor
  • 7 mil – 12mil: Heavy-duty tasks and for work in high-risk settings

You will find that some brands outperform others, despite claiming to be the same thickness. Be sure to check customer reviews before purchasing.

How Do I Change Single-Use Gloves?

Removing and putting gloves on is an opportunity to potentially expose yourself to hazardous chemicals or infectious diseases. It is critical to follow stringent guidelines for changing gloves to prevent hazards.

Grab the glove from the outside and gently pull the glove off, ensuring you do not let bare skin come in contact with the glove.

Once the glove is off, remove the second glove by slipping your fingers inside the glove cuff and peeling it off. Again, be sure to never touch the glove with bare skin.

Dispose of the glove safely and wash your hands vigorously for at least 30 seconds.