Things You'll Need:
- Rubber-safe disinfectant
A discolored glove means the rubber is wearing off and should be replaced.
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When it comes to household cleaning and disinfecting, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that you wear disposable gloves. But when those are hard to find, non-disposable rubber gloves can work as a replacement for household cleaning. The CDC's recommendations for using personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare settings states that you should "[e]nsure that PPE is disposed or, if reusable, that it is properly cleaned or laundered, repaired and stored after use." Though this is noted for healthcare settings, you should also be cleaning and disinfecting your gloves after each use to prevent contamination.
While manufacturer instructions are important to adhere to when caring for your rubber gloves, there are simple steps you can follow if those are not available. However, you should note that gloves should not be reused after being in contact with blood, bodily fluids, or extremely soiled items. Each individual, especially in the workplace environment, should have their own set of rubber gloves, as they are considered personal and hygienic equipment. It's time to discard a rubber glove when you notice it is becoming discolored, cracked, or visibly punctured or ripped.
Here's how to clean your rubber gloves:
While still wearing them, wash the outside of the gloves with soap or a mild detergent and hot water. Use friction to remove dirt, germs, and other organic materials off the surface of the gloves. Thoroughly rinse the gloves after this process.
Remove the gloves and immediately wash your hands with soap and water.
Turn the gloves inside out and soak them in a mixture of soap and water for a few minutes. This is in line with what MCR Safety, a company that produces personal protective equipment, recommends.
Hang them to dry in a safe location. Make sure they are completely dry before proceeding to the next step.
Wipe the outside of the rubber gloves with a sanitizing or disinfecting product. Ensure that the product you're using is safe for use on rubber and that you are following the product directions — especially when it comes to drying time. The EPA has a list of registered disinfectants, but you should be aware that "EPA-registered surface disinfectants, including surface wipes, SHOULD NOT be applied on your skin or ingested." That is why you should only wipe down the outside of the gloves, since you do not want this product coming in contact with your skin. Wash your hands after.
Store the rubber gloves in a dry, cool area that has also been cleaned and disinfected to prevent contamination. The gloves should not be stored under direct sunlight.
Regularly check gloves for punctures, discoloration, or tears. Before each use, check to make sure there are no holes in the rubber. This is especially important if you're working with harmful chemicals, such as bleach or harsh cleaners.
Before using your gloves, make sure to wash your hands with soap and water.