This is a friendly reminder that gloves do not replace hand hygiene. Hand hygiene MUST be performed before donning and doffing gloves. 

Gloves have small invisible holes that increase in number and size during use. 

When gloves are used without hand hygiene, the risk of transmission of infectious organisms increases because: 

  • Contaminated hands transfer pathogens to containers holding clean supplies contaminating those supplies;

  • Organisms on the hands multiply in the warm moist environment created by wearing gloves and are transmitted to patients/the environment through the holes in all gloves;

  • Hands and wrists are often contaminated when gloves are removed;

  • Up to 30% of hands are contaminated after glove use even when hand hygiene is performed before putting gloves on; and

  • Unnecessary use of gloves reduces compliance with hand hygiene recommendations.

Always perform hand hygiene before wearing gloves and immediately after glove removal. 

Appropriate use of gloves during COVID-19

Gloves are to be worn when: 

  • There may be exposure to blood, body fluids or infectious material;

  • Performing an aseptic procedure;

  • Gloves are intended for a specific task. They must be changed between tasks and hand hygiene performed;

  • Current COVID protocol requires wearing gloves for ALL direct patient care and contact with high touch surfaces in the patient environment/zone;

  • Indicated by the manufacturer of cleaning products, during the cleaning/disinfection of soiled equipment; and

  • Indicated by policy for handling toxic materials like chemotherapy drugs etc.

Gloves are NOT to be worn when:

Moving equipment and supplies between departments and hand hygiene must be performed before and any transport of materials.

Please note: This message is sent on behalf of PHC’s Infection Prevention & Control Team.

This page last updated Jul 27, 2020 6:40pm PDT