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When Should Non Sterile Gloves Be Worn? Guide for Safety

Fact checked by A. Thompson

when should non sterile gloves be worn

Unlike sterile gloves used for surgical medical procedures, non-sterile gloves do not go through the sterilization process by the manufacturers.

Yet, they must pass testing regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure the standard assurance level (SAL). Furthermore, non-sterile gloves must have an Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of 1.5 to 2.5.

Non-sterile gloves are of medical-grade quality. Hence, their range of use expands to various fields. So, when should non sterile gloves be worn? Read on to know.

What Are Non Sterile Gloves Used for?

Non-sterile gloves are often disposable, meaning we have to discard them after one use. This hand protection piece is required for different purposes, preventing direct exposure of our skin to potential hazards or dirt.

Medical practices


In health care settings, non-sterile gloves are used to prevent cross-transmission of body fluids and blood from patients to healthcare workers and vice versa. Therefore, healthcare workers may put on non-sterile gloves while performing the following activities:

  • First-aid – Putting on gloves before inspecting patients and performing first-aid prevents direct contact with blood, thus reducing the risk of infection.
  • Standard aseptic preparation – We should wear gloves throughout all standard procedures. They involve using antiseptic wipes to disinfect the patient’s skin, sterilizing medical instruments and equipment (before and after use), and protecting sterilized medical instruments against contamination using plastic wrappers.
  • Examination of wounds and cavities – Checking, changing wound dressings, or examining cavities all require wearing non-sterile gloves to avoid infection.
  • Handling biohazardous waste – While collecting and getting rid of medical waste, make sure to wear safety gloves. When dealing with sharp waste pieces, we must use tongs to discard them.
  • Handling laboratory instruments and specimens
  • Cleaning residues and contaminants on surfaces

Food processing


Can we use non sterile gloves for food preparation?

Yes, we do. Non-sterile gloves are indeed safe for processing food due to their food-grade quality. As long as we find a good nitrile pair that is powder and latex free, it is safe to use for handling food.

Other activities require hand protection


You can use non-sterile gloves for general purposes. It is easy to list three examples of when gloves should be worn. Hair coloring, painting, and cleaning are instances in which non-sterile gloves should prevent unwanted exposure to corrosive chemicals.

What to Know When Using Gloves in Medical Settings

  • Before wearing gloves, we should check our hands for any open wounds to cover. It is recommended to put a bandaid on any skin scratch in case the gloves are accidentally punctured or torn.
  • Perform hand hygiene before wearing gloves.
  • Replace gloves immediately if they are scratched, torn, or punctured.
  • Discard the gloves right after finishing examination tasks on a patient.
  • After taking off the gloves, perform hand hygiene right away.
  • Do not use gloves for a prolonged period or in the wrong way.

How to Don Non-sterile Gloves for Medical Practices

Step 1: Take one glove out of its packaging.

Step 2: Pinch the edge of the cuff only and avoid touching the glove surfaces.

Step 3: Put the first glove on.

Step 4: Use your bare hand to take the other glove out, holding onto the glove wrist or cuff, and do not touch the rest of it.

Step 5: Use your gloved hand to put this one on by taking the glove edge and dragging it along the other hand. Make sure to avoid touching our gloved fingers on our forearm skins.

Step 6: Do not touch anything else before proceeding with your task.

How to Remove Non-sterile Gloves After Performing Medical Practices

Step 1: Take the wrist of one glove and pull it inside out. Avoid touching any part of your skin.

Step 2: Hold the pulled-out glove with your gloved hand and insert your bare hand into the wrist of the glove you’re wearing. Now, pull it inside out all the way to the top of your fingers. Then, fold the 2nd glove into one big pile that holds the first glove inside it.

Step 3: Discard both gloves.


When should non sterile gloves be worn? The most common tasks where non-sterile gloves are important include medical practices and food processing.

We must know that these non-sterile gloves are qualified by FDA’s standards in sterilization and quality level. That means they are safe for multiple uses, including dealing with elements and certain chemicals.

If you are pondering whether to use these gloves or not, make sure to read our article carefully and decide for yourself. Remember to follow hand hygiene requirements to ensure your safe use. Thank you for reading.

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