Nitrile Gloves or Hand Washing Only - Which Keeps the Hands Cleaner?
If your line of work causes your hands to become dirty frequently, you may be wondering which practice is best - wearing gloves or just washing your hands.
This is a common inquiry in a day and age where hand hygiene is at the forefront of our minds. With that said, let’s look at a brief answer to this question before we dive into all the details:
Should I wear gloves or just wash my hands to keep them clean? In many situations, hand washing alone is not enough to keep the hands clean. For this reason, wearing gloves is recommended because they provide an extra layer of protection that can prevent dirt, bacteria, and harmful substances from reaching the hands in the first place.
Wearing Gloves vs Hand Washing – A comparison within 3 Different Industries
This article focuses on three industries where workers are at risk of having issues with keeping their hands clean – the automotive industry, cleaning companies, and food prep services. There are many other careers or businesses that struggle with hand hygiene as well. This includes salon workers who use hair dye, plumbers, sanitation workers, farmers, and many others. This list may give you some indication of why it’s so important to find ways to keep the hands clean, and why professionals are looking into the question – should I wear gloves or just wash my hands?
For those who choose gloves, it’s important to keep in mind which type are best in keeping hands the cleanest and most protected. In all three examples below, nitrile-based hand protection is recommended for use for reasons that are explained within this article.
Automotive Repair Industry – Washing with Soap & Water is Not Enough to Keep a Mechanic’s Hands Clean
If you work in an auto repair shop, you’re all too familiar with how incredibly dirty the hands get after working on a car. Being the hands-on job that it is, and working with the substances that are required, makes it impossible for the hands to stay clean. The hands can easily get covered in oil, grease, transmission fluid, and the like. If your hands have ever been exposed to these items, you know they don’t come off very easily when you wash your hands. The fingernails also become a victim to the dirty work that’s necessary and can stay soiled for days.
So, is washing your hands enough if you work in the automotive repair industry? It’s clear that it’s not. To keep the hands clean, gloves must be worn. Not just any type though, they would need to be made of nitrile to provide full protection against dirt, hazardous car fluids, cuts, scrapes, and more. In addition to this, gloves made of this material offer the tactile sensitivity needed for handling car parts and picking up small items. They are also latex-free, so in an industry where the hands are basically covered all day, a latex allergy won’t develop, and those who are already allergic can work without the risk of getting a rash, or any other symptoms related to a latex allergy. We put together an article that may be of interest; it discusses why nitrile gloves are better than latex. Nitrile is also highly tear and puncture-resistant, which makes them perfect for mechanics who are required to use various tools during car repairs.
As you can see, if a mechanic wants to keep their hands clean, gloves should be worn because they can’t rely on hand washing alone. Furthermore, sturdy, chemical and tear-resistant nitrile hand protection is a must in this industry.
Professional Food Prep – Disposable Nitrile Gloves Provide Better Hand Hygiene Than Hand Washing Alone
Food preparation professionals such as a restaurant chef, catering industry personnel, or a personal meal specialist, can get their hands dirty as they handle the food. This includes working with raw meats, vegetables that can easily stain their hands, such as beets or blueberries, messy items such as flour, as well as handling onions and garlic.
Working in an industry such as this on a daily basis makes it essential to have proper techniques for keeping the hands sanitary. So, in the case of gloves vs hand washing, it’s clear that covering the hands, and not just washing them is the right choice. On top of that, utilizing nitrile gloves, instead of latex or vinyl, should be a part of the food preparer’s strategy to keep their hands clean and protected. Nitrile is the best choice because of its great tactile sensitivity for easily handling food items, low friction resistance for frequent changing, 100% latex-free material, and the ability to conform to the hand for a perfect fit.
Food prep professionals should actually wash their hands also though; frequent hand washing is recommended in the food industry when handling food that can cause cross-contamination – it’s a best practice. But not wearing gloves and just washing the hands is not sufficient.
The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods reported that not wearing gloves, but instead, just handling food with the bare hands, greatly adds to the risk of spreading foodborne illnesses. Now you may understand why just washing the hands alone, and not wearing gloves during food preparation is not advisable.
In sum, wearing nitrile hand protection is essential to keep the hands clean during food prep, and crucial in preventing the spread of harmful pathogens that cause illnesses.
Cleaning Services – Wearing Nitrile Gloves is Proven to Keep Hands Clean and Protected as Opposed to Just Washing Them
Cleaning specialists, whether for commercial or home services, should take care to prevent their hands from becoming dirty on the job. Unsanitary Kitchens that may be contaminated with salmonella or E. coli, dirty bathrooms (especially public restrooms), and the like, can wreak havoc on the hands. Even the act of wringing out a dirty sponge can fill the hand with all types of germs and bacteria.
First of all, would these cleaning professionals really want their hands exposed to all of the above elements, and then they just wash their hands once the job is completed? Probably not! This is when wearing gloves instead of just washing your hands is a must.
Cleaning professionals should also take note of the type of hand protection that is worn. When using as many chemical cleaners as they do - ammonia, bleach, detergents, and others, it’s essential to use nitrile since it's proven to hold up to chemicals much better than latex and vinyl. To see more information on this topic, you can read rough our comprehensive guide on nitrile vs latex gloves. Additionally, cleaning personnel often expose their hands to water - clean and dirty. Because of this, it’s important to ensure that a waterproof material is used. Nitrile gloves are completely waterproof, and have superior tear resistance, which makes them ideal for the cleaning industry.
Wear Nitrile Gloves Instead of Just Washing Your Hands to Stay Clean and Safe
It’s clear that the key to clean hands is keeping them protected with nitrile gloves. Hand washing alone will not do the trick but keeping them covered and out of harm’s way certainly will. If you’re in need of a quality nitrile glove distributor, just visit our wholesale information page; we would love to assist you with your hand protection needs.