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3 reasons you should always wear gloves while cleaning

Do it for your skin and your health.

Sarah Mitroff Managing Editor
Sarah Mitroff is a Managing Editor for CNET, overseeing our health, fitness and wellness section. Throughout her career, she's written about mobile tech, consumer tech, business and startups for Wired, MacWorld, PCWorld, and VentureBeat.
Expertise Tech | Health | Lifestyle
Sarah Mitroff
2 min read
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Whether you hand-wash your dishes or not, you should own a pair of dish gloves.

These durable, waterproof wonders are your first line of defense against dry, cracked skin, nasty illnesses and even chemical burns.

I used to be too lazy to grab them when tackling the dishes, but now I won't clean without them. Here's why.

Watch this: This robotic arm cleans your dishes

1. Hot water is terrible for your skin

Think about the last time you did the dishes and how your hands felt afterwards. For me, they're dry, rough and grimy.

The reason why? That hot water you and I use to melt all the gunk off your dishes is not good for your skin.


For quick cleaning jobs, you can get away without using gloves. But you should always use them for a sink full of dishes.

Josh Miller/CNET

Hot water more easily rinses away oil and grease from your dishes, so imagine what it does to the natural oils on your skin that create a waterproof barrier. 

Dermatologists caution that hot water can inflame your skin and strip it of those oils that keep it soft and supple.

Dish gloves allow you to wash your dishes in hot water and keep your hands protected. Plus, you'll be able to wash your dishes in much hotter water than your bare hands can handle, which makes the whole process go faster.

Need more convincing? Gloves will keep your manicure from getting destroyed. 

2. Gloves protect against chemical burns

No matter if you DIY your cleaning supplies or buy them, exposing your skin to chemicals like detergents (in dish soap) and solvents (found in all-purpose cleaners) as well as vinegar, ammonia and bleach is just a bad idea.

Just like hot water, these chemicals will strip away your skin's oil barrier while they remove grime. At best, that can cause dermatitis (the medical term for skin rashes) and at worst, chemical burns.

Your best line of defense is a pair of gloves.

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3. They can keep you from getting sick

If nothing else, you should be wearing gloves to protect yourself against bacteria while cleaning.

Think about the places you clean regularly -- the bathroom sink, the toilet, the kitchen sink. All three are places that are just teeming with salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Oh and that sponge you use to clean the dishes? It's one of the most germ-ridden items in your home.

Clean those places with bare hands and you run the risk of directly infecting yourself with nasty pathogens.

Even if you wash your hands after cleaning, you've got to do it correctly to actually protect yourself from those germs. Save yourself the risk and just wear gloves.

Need a pair? Those bright yellow ones you can find at a grocery store are perfectly fine for the job. Or you can option for a fancier pair, like these gloves that help stop water from running down onto your arms.

We've got many more cleaning tips. Start with our guide to how often you should be cleaning your bathroom.

Hate washing the dishes? The right sponge will help.