How to Put on Sterile Gloves

How to Put on Sterile Gloves

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In industries like healthcare, where your sterile gloves are your first line of protection against chemicals, sharps, and biohazards, putting on your glove the right way is critical. Otherwise, you negate a lot of the protective benefits of your gloves--never mind the risk of a glove that’s sitting wrong while you’re trying to work. 

Here, we have instructions on how to put on sterile gloves the right way, plus how size and fit come into the equation, how to take your gloves off again, and how to find a glove that feels comfortable no matter how often you don a fresh set. 

Why Putting on the Glove Matters

When you’re putting on sterile gloves, it’s more than just getting a hand into the glove. In the medical field (and any field where cross-contamination is a concern) there are important reasons to follow instructions word for word. 

If you put on sterile gloves the wrong way, you compromise their efficacy. For example, if you touch the outside of the glove with your fingers, that glove is considered contaminated. That could be dangerous for you, your patient, or anything you handle while wearing the gloves. 

The Art of Putting on Sterile Gloves

Think of putting on sterile gloves as a multi-step process. 

First, check the glove size, remove any jewelry, and thoroughly wash your hands. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, carefully scrubbing every nook and cranny. When you’re finished, dry your hands with a sanitary, clean paper towel and dispose of it. 

If your gloves came in packaging, carefully remove them according to packaging instructions. Only set them down on a sterile surface. 

Now come the gloves. Put the glove on your dominant hand first--this will make it easier later. Never touch the outside of the glove with your bare fingers. Instead, use your fingers to grab the inside of the glove, using your grip to pull the glove on from the inside. 

Pay attention when you do this--you don’t want the outside of the glove to touch your skin. This can easily happen if the glove rolls up while you pull it on. One easy solution is to carefully roll the glove partially inside out, only touching the inside of the glove. Wait to roll it down once you have the other glove on. 

Once the first glove is on, putting on the second one is easy. The opposite rule applies here--the outside of the glove should only ever touch the outside of the other glove, never your bare skin. Pay attention to make sure the glove doesn’t roll up while you pull it on. 

What About Glove Size?

We told you to check the glove size first because it has a surprising impact on how to put on sterile gloves. If a glove is too big, it will be easy to put on but difficult to use. If a glove is too small, it will be almost impossible to put on and uncomfortable to wear. 

Make sure that you know your glove size before you use gloves. In medical applications requiring precision, one-size-fits-all isn’t going to cut it. 

How Should the Glove Fit Your Hand and Fingers?

The fit often depends on the material--vinyl, for example, may fit more loosely than nitrile or latex. 

For tasks requiring significant motor dexterity and precision, like medical procedures, your sterile gloves should fit snugly. That way, you won’t have any slippage while wearing them. You should also wear snug gloves during heavy duty work, as a looser glove will cost you precision and you don’t want the material getting caught in machinery. 

For tasks that just require a basic protective layer, such as food prep, a looser fit is perfectly fine. 

How to Take Medical Gloves Off

Taking gloves off is just as important is putting them on. The same rule applies: you should never touch the outside of your gloves with your bare hands. This is even more important after completing a task, when you’ve likely handled a contaminant. 

To take medical gloves off, start by pinching the material near your wrist and carefully peeling the glove so that it’s inside-out. Then, continue to carefully peel the glove away from your body, kind of like peeling an onion. The glove should be inside-out by the time it’s off your hand, either entirely inside-out or folded over itself. 

Once the first glove is off, hold it with your gloved hand. Slip the fingers of your bare hand underneath the glove, never touching the outside. Get a hold of it from the inside, like you did when you put it on, and carefully peel it away from your body so that it’s inside out. The first glove should be inside it. 

Finding a Glove Designed for Easy Application and Removal

Regardless of fit, it pays to look for gloves that make changes easy. Look for a glove with fitted fingers and a loose cuff. This gives you maximum control of your hands but also makes it easy to hold the glove from the inside or flip the glove inside-out. 

The Gloves Your Team Can Count On

Looking for gloves your whole team can count on? We carry nitrile, latex, and vinyl gloves that support essential workers across the country, including industry leaders like Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

Find the perfect gloves for your whole team.