From gardening to automotive work, proper body protection is necessary to do an efficient job. It means using the equipment required to do an excellent job while keeping yourself and others safe during your tasks. So wearing the appropriate gloves while on shift will help keep you safe and your workflow optimal. But why is glove care so critical in various industries?
Learning how to properly take care of your work gloves reflects your work ethic and helps you on every job site. Regardless of where you work, you should keep your work gloves clean and in good condition. Doing so will reward you with longevity and reliability. The worst-case scenario no worker wants is having a glove become destroyed while they’re in the middle of an important task.
The Industries That Use Work Gloves
Knowing how to properly take care of your work gloves is essential to understanding your industry. For example, if you work as a welder, buying ordinary gloves won’t cut it. Having suitable heat protection means you have a lesser chance of injury, so it’s essential. Additionally, you’ll work with differing temperatures, specific welding practices—such as TIG, MIG, and Stick welding—and require hand dexterity and grip.
So choose the appropriate gloves for your work field. This way, you won’t end up with the wrong kind. Some industries that require work gloves include:
- Oil and gas
- Heavy equipment
- Steel mill and ironworking
- Carpentry and woodworking
- Logging and forestry
- Auto mechanics
With gloves, you’ll have the necessary protection needed to get the job done. Otherwise, you could end up with an unwanted injury.
Why Is Glove Care So Important?
Gloves inevitably wear down over time. It's essential to keep them maintained throughout their use. Washing and cleaning will remove debris, dust, oil, and foreign contaminants, reducing their rate of deterioration. Additionally, inspecting for any damage on the inside and outside will help you remain aware of any overly worn spots.
Lastly, appropriately storing your work gloves will lessen the chance of damage and interaction with sunlight. For example, leather gloves will be less likely to dry out and crack mid-job. So gloves should remain stored on shelves or in well-ventilated bins at room temperatures.
General Work Glove Care
Correctly caring for and cleaning your work gloves increases your ability to rely on them safely. Additionally, doing this maintains the necessary hand protection you need in your working field. Providing the appropriate care can extend the gloves’ lifespan and save your company in the long run. Keeping your gloves optimal is necessary for work efficiency when you constantly interact with chemicals, oils, and mildly corrosive materials. Here are different types of gloves and how to care for them.
Workers have relied on leather gloves for decades in labor-intensive jobs, and these gloves remain a popular choice for heavy-duty work today. Since they offer high durability and long lifespans, people use them in extreme temperatures and to protect fingers, palms, and wrists. When it comes to heavy-duty safety gloves, those made of leather come in different types of animal skins with limited colors.
To begin cleaning leather gloves, you must remove any noticeable dirt with a dry toothbrush or another soft bristle brush. Apply saddle soap to the gloves and work it in with your fingers. Lastly, use a damp cloth to wipe away the saddle soap a couple of times. Let the gloves lay flat at room temperature with no sunlight and stretch them periodically by hand.
Cotton Canvas Gloves
If you work in gardening, there’s a chance that you use cotton canvas gloves. Cotton canvas gloves consist of durable canvas for the entirety of the hand and wrist, feeling snug against the skin. They have a slight stretchiness that works for any hand size while keeping stray particles out. Of course, cleaning them will help them last a long time.
The first step to cleaning them is to rinse them off gently after every use. Because cotton canvas gloves can hold up against water, frequent rinsing won’t damage them. Afterward, run them in the washing machine in the cold setting. Then, hang them out to dry or let them dry at room temperature. Don’t dry them in a dryer, as the cotton can shrink.
Dipped Work Gloves
Gloves dipped in nitrile, latex, or rubber require a unique cleaning regimen. They consist of a knit or suede material but also feature specialized fingers and palms dipped in a durable substance. As a result, they provide strong protection, making them great for work environments involving heat or electrical components.
When cleaning them, you can rinse the cotton portion in cool water with a bit of gentle shampoo. As for the dipped areas of the gloves, you should rinse them under cool water and apply dishwasher detergent to the coating and scrub under running water. Once the soap rinses away, lay them flay in an empty sink to let the excess water drain out. Make sure not to twist or squeeze them while they dry.
Working with chemicals requires the use of neoprene gloves. Simply put, neoprene is a synthetic rubber that provides waterproof protection while keeping your hands safe from chemicals and liquids. While neoprene gloves offer flexibility and durability, they keep hands safe and warm without interrupting dexterity or grip. Workers in many settings, such as laboratories and facilities in cold-weather climates, use neoprene gloves.
How do you clean them, though? Before even removing the gloves, make sure to wash them with soap and water in a utility sink or with a hose. Once you clean off the gloves, you should wash your hands as well to remove any leftover chemicals. After hanging the gloves up to dry, you should store them in a dry place to avoid mildew and mold growth.
Whether you work in construction or plumbing, using appropriate gloves matters tremendously. So it’s essential to provide yourself with synthetic gloves in many cases. These gloves have grown in popularity significantly across many industries. This is because they’re more lightweight and flexible than leather. Due to their versatility, synthetic gloves provide excellent dexterity and grip on numerous substances and materials.
Machine washing them in cold water with a mild detergent will do the best job of cleaning synthetic gloves. If you don’t have access to a washing machine, washing your gloves in the sink with mild laundry detergent or dishwashing soap will do just as well. Make sure not to use any solvents or bleach, as those can cause discoloration. Lastly, ensure the gloves air dry to prevent shrinkage and maintain proper sizing.