How to Safely Remove Disposable Gloves, According to the CDC
Who knew there was a right and wrong way to remove disposable gloves? Follow these steps to maintain a protective barrier and keep your hands safe.
Gloves can keep you safe
There is a different disposable glove for every situation. But the purpose of any pair of disposable gloves, such as nitrile or latex, is to create a temporary barrier between your skin and potential external threats, whether that threat is a virus or the chemicals in a cleaning solution. To maintain that barrier, you should never touch the outside of the gloves with your bare hands. So properly removing gloves is crucial. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Red Cross recommend this seven-step approach to safe de-gloving. (Here’s how to manage a hot zone in your home if someone has Covid-19.)
Removing gloves: Step 1
Remove one glove at a time. Start by taking your non-dominant hand and pinching the outside of the glove at the wrist of your dominant hand. Do not touch your bare skin. (Watch out for the 11 public places with the most germs.)
Peel the glove away from your body and pull it inside out and off. Continue to hold the now-removed glove in your gloved, non-dominant hand. (Here’s what the CDC wants you to know about coronavirus.)
Bunch up the glove in the palm of your still-gloved hand. Take care to not touch it with your bare hand. Close your fingers in a fist around the glove. (These are the 10 germ-spreading habits to give up now.)
Using your dominant hand, slide two fingers under the edge of the remaining glove at your inner wrist. Take care not to touch the outside of the glove. (Learn the 10 ways doctors protect themselves from coronavirus.)
Using your two fingers as a hook, pull the remaining glove inside-out and off your hand, capturing the first glove inside. You should now have a little pocket containing the first glove. (Here are 13 times you’re overusing hand sanitizer.)
Safely dispose of the soiled gloves. Single-use gloves should not be disinfected or re-worn. If you’ve been disinfecting your home, they can go in a lined trash can. Some counties ask for them to be double-bagged if you’ve been handling chemicals or cleaning bodily fluids, so check your local waste management regulations. (Learn about coronavirus cleaning from A to Z: What you need to disinfect, what you don’t.)
Disposable gloves are most effective when combined with proper hand hygiene. You should always wash hands with soap and water immediately after removing them. To make sure you’re washing thoroughly, be sure to:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold is fine), then turn off the tap and apply plenty of soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Start with your palms, then the backs of your hands, between your fingers, around your thumbs, and under your nails.
- Scrub for at least 20 seconds (that’s “Happy Birthday” start to finish, twice).
- Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
- Dry them using a clean towel or let them air dry. If possible, skip the high-speed jet air dryers. Research, including a study published in 2018 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, shows that jet air dryers spread—rather than remove—germs. The same is true, though to a lesser extent, for warm air dryers. If you’re not able to wash hands with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers can get rid of some germs, they don’t eliminate all types. Be sure to cover all parts of your hands thoroughly and rub them together until they feel dry. Next, check out 7 things that can happen if you don’t wash your hands.