Don’t Stretch Your Luck with Gloves

Here are five glove “do’s and don’ts” to help keep your patients and staff protected at all times.

DO double-check that you are using the right glove

• Use exam gloves for non-surgical procedures, like regular teeth cleanings
• Use sterile gloves for situations in which sterility is required, notably oral surgery
• Use utility gloves for tasks such as cleaning contaminated surfaces and instruments and performing housekeeping procedures

DO ensure that your gloves fit

• Experiment to find the right glove size, since glove measurements and materials vary by manufacturer

DO follow these glove damage prevention strategies

• Check gloves for tears and cracks, especially in reusable utility gloves
• Thoroughly dry hands after washing or applying hand sanitizer
• Remove all hand jewelry, like rings and bracelets
• Keep fingernails short and avoid artificial nails
• Use only water-based hand lotions
• Never wash, disinfect or sterilize exam or surgical gloves for reuse

DON’T underestimate non-latex gloves

Rising costs and allergic reactions to latex have opened the market for synthetic gloves
• Nitrile gloves have excellent resistance to tears and chemicals
• Neoprene gloves are thin with excellent tactile sensitivity and stretch

DON’T forget to review glove policies regularly with your staff

• Emphasize the importance of hand hygiene before and after donning gloves
• Make sure your staff knows what to do if gloves become compromised during use