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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.