Do you have a pair of gardening gloves that are looking a little worse for wear?
If so, we’ve got the perfect solution. We’re going to teach you how to clean your dirty old gardening gloves and why is it important to clean them. You won’t believe how easy it is.
Once you know this trick, you can save yourself from having to buy another pair of gloves. This is an incredibly simple process that anyone can do at home with items found around the house! So let’s get started…
You know the drill: Put on gardening gloves, and get to work pulling out weeds.
Everything is fine until you reach down to pull a plant from its roots. The soil sticks to the glove’s latex surface, forcing you to stop what you are doing, peel it off your hand – or worse, try to scrape it off with your other hand – and then take a break while you wash the glove.
This process only gets more tedious as the day goes on. Late in the afternoon, your hands are tired and you’ve pulled out half of the weeds, meaning that every time you get ready to pull another plant up from its roots, you’ve got to stop and strip the gloves off.
“If only we could get rid of the soil once we’re done each time we wouldn’t be nearly as tired,” you think to yourself, “and we might just finish the yard before dinner.”
It turns out that there may be a better way: Coat your hands in an antimicrobial gel before wearing gloves. Researchers at the University of Utah have found that by rubbing a common antimicrobial compound, triclosan, into your hands and then putting on gloves you can cut down dramatically on bacteria growth.
“We were trying to solve the problem of feeling like you’re getting dirty all day long,” said Tamara Brown, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering, who did the work with Daniel Niven, associate professor of chemical engineering.
Brown said that while gloves are useful for keeping chemicals off your skin and protecting you from scratches it doesn’t protect against bacteria. Additionally, when you get done with your gardening for the day you have to take time to wash your hands with soap and water before you can enter the house.
During their study, they found that by coating your hands in triclosan (which is best known as an antimicrobial agent in hand soaps) and wearing gloves, you can cut down on bacteria to a level close to the number of bacteria you have after washing your hands with soap and water. All you have to do is massage a little bit of gel into your hands, put on the gloves, and go.
“When we started this, it was just an idea,” Brown said. “But to our surprise, it worked so well – better than expected.”
What Can You do to Clean Your Gloves and Protect Yourself from Bacteria
The single most important thing to do is wash your gloves with soap and water. In fact, it’s a good idea to disinfect them with a diluted bleach solution.
What you do to your gloves depends on how often you use them and whether they have holes in them or not. If you use the same pair of gloves every day, wash them after every single use with soap and water, disinfecting them with a dilute bleach solution (1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water) after every five or six uses. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly in clean water before using them again.
If your gloves are ripped, replace them immediately with a new pair, because bacteria can easily get inside. Wash the old pair with soap and water for using around the house only.
How to Disinfect Garden Gloves After Treating Black Spots
Gardeners who’ve dealt with black spot—the fungal disease that causes dark blotches on infected plant leaves but is generally controllable through weekly spraying—may be tempted to throw out their garden gloves, since the fungus is notorious for spreading on dirty gloves.
Don’t do it! Here’s why…
First, if your gloves are already infected with black spot fungus, you’ll want to disinfect them before putting them back into service or else risk spreading the disease to clean plants. Second, if your gloves aren’t infected with the disease yet, you’ll want to disinfect them before going out to purchase new ones, so as not to bring back a fresh batch of spores from a store.
How do you clean your gloves? Use one part bleach and ten parts water. Mix in a spray bottle until it reaches 10% bleach concentration, then soak gloves for a few hours, and allow to air dry.
Important: Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other household cleaners as fatal fumes could release.
If you don’t have the time to do this, another method is to wear your gloves out in the sun for several days as UV light kills black spot spores. Just be sure to clean them before the next use.
How Does Cleaning My Gloves Help the Environment Around Me
It is common to dispose of gloves without thinking of their environmental impact. Cleaning your gloves before you dispose of them, however, can greatly reduce the negative effects they cause on the environment and on yourself.
Many people assume that anything used in medical settings simply goes to a landfill, but there are several different options for glove disposal. Many companies will take back used gloves and dispose of them in the proper ways. Some companies even recycle the leather from old gloves to make new ones!
The first way that cleaning your gloves helps the environment is by keeping more waste out of landfills. Gloves might seem like a small thing in comparison to the masses of waste people generate, but they are one of the most common items that people dispose of. Even just a few pairs of gloves every day adds up over time, so cleaning your gloves can keep these small bits out of landfills and therefore reduce their impact on the environment.
The second way that cleaning your gloves helps the environment is by reducing occupational exposure to hazardous materials. Even the tiniest amounts of hazardous materials can make people sick, so avoiding exposure to these substances is incredibly important for both medical professionals and patients alike. If gloves are not cleaned between uses, then they carry whatever hazardous material was on that patient into your next procedure.
Taking the time to clean your gloves between uses not only reduces occupational exposure but also helps keep you safe when working with hazardous materials. Gloves that are visibly dirty or contaminated should never be used because they can spread these contaminants to other surfaces and yourself in the process. Gloves that are visibly contaminated shouldn’t be reused again.
Clean gloves are not only better for the environment, but they also keep you safe and healthy. Taking the time to clean your gloves between uses makes them safer to use in general, and helps keep them out of landfills where they might otherwise contribute to environmental degradation.