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Show full transcript for Glove Removal video

Your gloves are your first line of defense against bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials when cleaning up and disinfecting a scene. In this lesson, we'll show you the exact procedure of how to properly and safely remove them.

You don't want blood and other bodily fluids to touch your skin, but you especially don't if you have cuts, scrapes, abrasions, or other openings in the skin. Even hangnails could pose a problem and provide an opening for a foreign invader to enter.

Remember, not all gloves are created equally. Always use medical-grade gloves when cleaning bloodborne pathogens and OPIM. While the term industrial-grade sounds strong and safe, this isn't always the case, as industrial grade gloves tend to have larger pores than medical-grade gloves, which may not keep all the bad stuff out.

Ideally, you'll have nitrile gloves. As latex allergies are becoming more common, nitrile gloves provide a better option for many people.

Pro Tip #1: While putting on your gloves may sound like common sense and something not requiring instruction, there are three important points to note:

  1. Gloves will sometimes stick together, and this may make getting them on more difficult than it should be. (Though most gloves now have a coating or powder on them to prevent this.) Which is why you may have seen someone blow a puff of air into the wrist to make squeezing a hand in easier. This is not appropriate when it comes to infectious materials cleanup, even with clean gloves. Also, you don't want to spread any germs you may have onto the clean gloves.
  2. Size matters. Gloves come in many sizes. If your employer has only small or medium size gloves and you're a 300-pound man with sausage fingers, good luck. And do you know what happens when you try and squeeze an extra-large hand into a small glove? Well, let's just say it'll look like your hand is wearing a halter top, and your protection will go bye-bye. So, make sure your employer has your glove size in stock. Because one size rarely fits all.
  3. Inspect the gloves for defects, like holes, rips, or cuts. Just like our halter top gloves scenario above, if your gloves have any type of hole, you're not getting that protective barrier you need to stay safe, and you could wind up spreading a pathogen rather than containing and cleaning it up. Safety first, always.

Remember, when handling or cleaning up infectious materials and bloodborne pathogens, your goal is to create barriers. These barriers will halt the spread of infection. When it comes to gloves, they're like having an additional protective layer of skin.

How to Remove Contaminated Gloves

If you've seen the video lesson that corresponds with this written version, you may have noticed that glove removal is not a normal process for most people and one that may require a bit of practice to perfect. And since perfection equals being disease and infection-free, practicing taking off your contaminated gloves may not be the worst idea.

Pro Tip #2: Keep in mind your goal as it pertains to glove removal – keeping the contaminated materials on one side and your skin on the other. The two sides should always remain separate.

To this end, the glove removal process is as follows:

  • Pinch the palm side of one glove on the outside near your wrist. (Glove on glove contact only.)
  • Pull the glove slowly and carefully toward your fingertips, turning it inside out as you pull it off your hand.
  • Wad up the dirty glove into the palm of your still-gloved hand.

Pro Tip #3: You want to completely wad the glove up into that hand so the other glove can easily pass over your fist and not catch on any of the material from the first glove. However, you don't want to squeeze so hard that infectious material comes oozing out.

  • Carefully slip two fingers under the wrist of the other glove. Avoid touching the outside of the glove. (Skin on skin contact only.)
  • Pull the glove slowly and carefully toward your fingertips, turning it inside out as you pull it off your hand. The other glove is now contained inside.

By now, you should be holding the inside lining of one glove with the other glove trapped deep down inside. You can also do this with a bloody gauze pad or contaminated paper towel in one of your gloved hands, as all items will wind up at the bottom of the first glove removed.

Warning: When removing your gloves, it's important that you don't snap the glove material, so make sure you have a good grip and work slowly and carefully. Snapping the glove's materials could send pathogens and infectious materials flying – into eyes and other mucous membranes or onto clean surfaces.

  • Toss both gloves into the trash along with other PPE. Ideally, you'll have access to a trash receptacle that you can open using a foot pedal. And make sure the liner is appropriate for handling bloodborne pathogens and other potentially infectious materials per your regulations.
  • And finally, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water, if available. Otherwise, rub your hands thoroughly with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if they are not visibly soiled and then wash your hands as soon as it is practical.