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How Long Should Your Work Gloves Last?

by Julie on March 29, 2016

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One of the biggest complaints our sales team hears about work gloves is that they don’t last long enough. The answers vary. Sometimes it’s one day, other times it’s three weeks.

When your glove is wearing out on a daily basis, a better solution probably exists. But if you’re getting three weeks out of a pair of gloves, you shouldn’t feel so hard done by. When you wear your work gloves day in, and day out, replacement is normal. A work glove’s longevity depends on the type of work you’re doing, the type of gloves and how often/long you spend on the task. Those are the obvious factors, but it also depends on how well you take care of your PPE.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether your work gloves need to be replaced.
worn out work gloves full of holes

These gloves give the “bare hand feel” a whole new meaning.

1. Wear and Tear are the Clearest Signs for Replacement:

You can get away with wearing a ratty old pair of split-fitter gloves to mow the lawn or pick up brush around the house. But when the hazards start to add up, and you’re working for longer periods of time, a glove full of holes just won’t do.

You may not have realized that any area of damage reduces the level of protection that they’re able to offer. Imagine you’re wearing our TenActiv™ 18-Gauge Cut-Resistant Glove with Foam Nitrile Palms. This glove has level 4 puncture, and level ANSI A4 cut protection. But, if the glove’s knit snags and pulls, it alters the construction of the glove. While there will still be cut protection, it’s not necessarily level A4 anymore.

You need to examine your PPE before every shift. That’s the safest practice and one that can guard you against cuts, punctures, chemical burns, and other hazards. If you toss your gloves on without a second thought, you’re putting yourself at an unnecessary risk. It only takes a minute to sustain a serious injury. But it also takes a minute to determine whether your gloves are safe.
hard working construction worker who is covered in dirt and wearing a hart hat


2. Help Extend the Lifespan of Work Gloves:

Let’s return to the original inspiration for this post: Gloves don’t last long enough.

One of the best ways to increase the lifespan of your glove is by incorporating a laundering program.

No one would wear a work shirt for three weeks without washing it, so why would you wear your gloves that long without a wash?

Don’t worry if your workplace doesn’t have a program in place, the best thing about modern technology is that most string-knit gloves can be thrown in with your regular wash. Many materials, including Kevlar®, Dyneema®, nylon, poly/cotton can take a swish in the washing machine using ordinary laundry detergent. If you’re looking to find out how-to wash your gloves, we have a sweet glove and sleeve laundering guide.

Gloves designed to prevent arc flash must be washed after every use. Flame-retardant gloves can become more flammable over time, due to a buildup of contaminants. Laundering extends their safe life. As long as you stick to inherently flame-resistant materials, repeat washings won’t affect their flame-resistant properties.


3. Some Gloves Always Require Replacement:

Some gloves will last and last. But some are doomed to the waste bin after every use, for your protection and the protection of others. If you handle biomedical materials, you already know that disposing of your gloves after one wear is the protocol.

It doesn’t matter if the gloves show signs of wear or not. Disposable gloves are, and should always be, just that — disposable. No amount of sanitizing should ever be attempted to get another wear out of them.

This doesn’t just apply to gloves worn in medical or dental fields where bio-hazards are a risk. It’s also important in food service and janitorial work. The problem isn’t always that the materials being handled are impossible to eradicate, although that’s often the case. It’s more that disposable gloves are not durable enough to withstand what it would take to sanitize them.

If you use disposable gloves, do yourself a favor. Don’t try to prolong their lifespan. Dispose of them after one use, and grab another pair for the next job. It’s much safer for both yourself and anyone that you come into contact with.
removing a disposable glove

Work gloves can only do their job for as long as they remain in top condition. If you need protection from extreme temperatures, it only stands to reason that a break in a glove will leave your skin as vulnerable as if it wasn’t covered at all. The same applies to damage incurred to cut resistant, puncture resistant, chemical resistant, or any other types of gloves that you need to perform your job safely.

All gloves will break down and go out of service eventually — it’s just a matter of time. The main factors are the amount of abuse or hazards that they encounter on a regular basis, and how well you take care of them. Check them for damage regularly, and launder them as often as recommended. Each glove is a bit different in that respect. And, when it’s finally time to replace them, Superior Glove has what you need.


Not sure how to launder your gloves? Download our PPE laundering guide!!

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