How to remove latex gloves without touching the outsides

I’m not a doctor, though the advice not to wear gloves while shopping or going about in public was given to me by my doctor.

Doing grocery shopping while wearing latex gloves (some of my friends use cotton gloves, which doesn’t seem to be any better) is, the doctor said, a waste, for the ultimate object is to avoid getting virus in your eyes, nose, or mouth, usually by touching your face. If you touch your face in the market or on the way home while wearing gloves, you’re just as liable to be infected as if you do it without gloves. More important, glove-wearing doesn’t relieve you of the burden of washing your hands, since you’d have to do that anyway after removing your gloves. That involves touching the outsides of the gloves and thus potentially getting your hands contaminated.

But for those who want to wear gloves and discard them without washing your hands, this video tells you how to do it. That said, even if I did this I’d still wash my hands afterwards. That’s just a quick second line of defense.

Medical workers, of course, have to wear gloves as they can’t wash their hands every two minutes, and they constantly change gloves not to avoid contaminating themselves but infecting other patients. In that case the video below is good practice, but I’m sure they adhere to it already.

As for me, I’ll eschew the gloves until I hear a good reason to wear them. In their place I’m washing my hands after every task that could potentially contaminate them.

Needless to say, I’m not touching other people nor shaking their hands.

25 Comments

  1. yazikus
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Our lab has couriers who are still doing statewide pickups, so we just had a workshop to teach them just this when receiving samples.

  2. Mike Anderson
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    I use my teeth to pull each finger loose, that way I don’t get any contamination on my hands.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    It depends.

    One pair of Gloves establish a barrier. Two pairs, two barriers. Etc. barriers decrease the likelihood of transfer.

    Stuff on hands will not get outside. Stuff outside will not get inside.

    Nitrile gloves are easy to put hats cleaners like isopropanol on gloves are disposable. Multiple pairs can be deployed – one pair for grocery store, remove before taking transport, put on fresh pair – which was e.g. left in the car – to drive. Remove again, put fresh to bring stuff in house. Personally, I’m spraying products with isopropanol before bringing in.

    It all decreases the risk but is never 100%. I wouldn’t say the risk remains the same percent as without. Multiple layers of risk decreasing measures are as good as can be done.

    TL;DR: gloves decrease risk.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      “on” not “hats”

  4. Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    How about alcohol-soaked cotton gloves? Carry a bucket of vodka in your shopping cart so you can reapply regularly. Take a swig once in a while just in case you breath in some virus. 😉

  5. BobTerrace
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I bought a box of nitrile gloves to use at the market and the gas station and I had thought about how to remove them. This is my solution:

    I pull all ten fingers loose on each glove using the other gloved hand (usually around 1 to 2 inches out from the fingertips).

    Then, using one gloved hand I pull the loose fingers until only figertips remain in the other glove. Then I use that glove to pull the second glove completely off and dispose of both gloves by dropping into a trash can.

    It is not too difficult. I have seen people try to remove gloves by grabbing at the wrist with the other glove which just contaminated the wrist.

    I avoid touching my car door handle or especially the steering wheel while wearing gloves. I discard the gloves before closing the gas hatch or opening the car.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes exactly- this isn’t complicated. And it is assumed that one will wash up later, especially given what might have been touched.

      Gloves yes.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    The rule of not touching the face is assumed

    Skin is not nitrile or latex etc

    Skin can have microscopic cuts

    Particles do not adhere to skin the same way as nitrile etc

    Skin doesn’t clean up like nitrile, latex, etc.

    Skin cannot be thrown away

    Nitrile, latex, etc can be thrown away and replaced in an instant

    Nitrile etc can be rapidly blasted with a harsh cleaner if necessary also while holding products to clean the products

    There is every reason to use the tool called gloves to decrease risk of carrying germs to various locations.

    • Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      I strongly agree, and I can’t understand the skepticism about them. Yes, you must not touch your face while wearing the gloves. It is actually simple to take one glove off and scratch your itchy face, and then put the glove back on.

      Thick gloves are a complete barrier. Relying on washing hands instead seems like a terrible idea. Washing is an imaginary solution. Stuff accumulates under your fingernails, in skin cracks, etc. Hand sanitizer is also rather dicey compared to the 100% protection provided by gloves.

      If you are working with biohazards you would always wear gloves rather than (or along with) relying on hand washing and/or sanitizer.

      Do the experiment I suggested in an earlier thread on hand sanitizer. Handle an object that has just been painted with black oil or black ink. Then wait for a while,and then wash your hands. Then try the same thing, but wearing gloves while handling the object. I guarantee you your hands will be cleaner with the gloves than with hand washing.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

        And “hand sanitizer” does not necessarily sanitize even though it is called sanitizer. Consider how it works:

        The germ particles are suspended, and sort of sheared and extracted into the gel solution. The gel solution- containing the debris – then is either rinsed or wiped off – unlikey as it is a substitute for true washing. Usually, the gel suspension sits in the ( say) hands and slowly dries off, the alcohol portion evaporating while the contaminating particles- with no guarantee of being completely sheared and denatured- is left behind – on the hand it came from.

        It’s useful, but goodness is it overused and tending to lead to false assurance.

  7. Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I had a method of doing this, but this protocol is clearly much better and I shall attempt it.

    At the moment I still have the notion that gloves while shopping is a good thing, as it helps prevent me from touching my face. I also periodically wash my hands well while wearing gloves.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      So far I’ve just used leather gloves at the store. I pay close attention and have found that while I still reflexively reach for my face, I stop because the gloves serve as a subliminal warning. I take them off carefully at home and let them sit for several days before I might have to use them again.

  8. Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    The snap of a latex glove still fills me with anxiety.

    • norm walsh
      Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      :0

      • norm walsh
        Posted March 28, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        try again 🙂

    • Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Now I’m afraid too.

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Gloves are a continuous surface – one side in, one side out, no intersections or anything.

    Hands are actually fingernails, skin, hairs, and the intersections thereof, etc.

    Gloves = yes

  10. rickflick
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Glove protocol is a valuable skill. On the other hand, I have no need to go into a grocery store. Our local Walmart takes orders via the internet and lets you come and pick it up when you want it. You drive to the pick up lane and open the trunk. Get back in your car and they load your car. And it’s free!

  11. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I’ve used the method described by Bob in #5 above, but I use cloth gloves and blast them with concentrated ozone later. Ozone is good because it gets into all cracks and crevices of objects and totally permeates cloth.

  12. openidname
    Posted March 28, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I’m not an epidemiologist or even a doctor, but I read that it’s hard to pick up the virus from cloth, so I’ve been wearing fuzzy polar fleece gloves when I go out. Plus it’s been cold!

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Inspired by this post, I just tried putting my hands together one finger interdigitated with the others … “praying”, LOL – I must say this is … ahem … handy… I’m pretty sure this is what’s in the video- gonna check it out…

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 29, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Ok, then – no. The thing I did is good if the gloves should be recovered. The method in the video is great to dispose in one tidy lump.

      Clever stuff!


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