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Washing Dishes & Latex Gloves

So my doctor recommended I start wearing gloves while washing dishes (as it may aggravate some eczema on my fingers) and I picked up a pair of reusable latex gloves after the appointment. It's a month and a half later and they've developed a crack on one of the fingers (not a puncture, the gloves split on their own). I've had this trouble with latex gloves before, they all eventually do this, and I find washing dishes with a damp on the inside glove to be exceedingly unpleasant. This is why I was just using my bear hands for the longest time.

Anyways, getting to the point, I need to use gloves to wash dishes, and I don't like holes in them. Are there brands of gloves that will hold up over time (I can deal with replacing them every year or so, but monthly seems excessively wasteful to me) or is this an item I'm just going to have to get used to tossing on a regular basis? Is there an easy and cheap way to patch small holes in the gloves? Are gloves an item I can keep stock on, or do they have a shelf life?

Any tips or insight here would be appreciated.

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  1. My tip would be to research nutritional supplements such as fish oil and probiotics to support your health. Next, buy a less toxic brand of dish soap.

    Skin issues are usually a problem with shedding toxins. A nutritional approach would be a win-win for you.

    If you must wear gloves, you're probably stuck with replacing them. Can you wear some sort of cotton gloves inside the rubber ones to absorb the moisture?

    I sympathize.

    8 Replies
    1. re: sandylc

      As a fellow sufferer of eczema, I have to disagree with your statement that this condition is a result of "shedding toxins." What it is is a problem with dry skin that doesn't stay moisturized. I have the problem on my hands, and elsewhere, and I have to be viligant. For me it is worse when my allergies kick up.

      For sandy, I'd respectfully suggest that you try to afford a dishwasher if possible, that you do NOT use antibacterial detergent on your hands, and that you keep a tube of Cetaphil moisturizer, or some other similar brand, by the sink. Moisturize your hands before going to bed. Good luck finding decent gloves. I might look for the neoprene Mr. Clean gloves mentioned below, myself. I don't wash dishes much, but these might help my hands.

      Its the hot water when you wash dishes that is killing your hands. Those of us with eczema are instructed not to shower in hot water for a reason. If a dishwasher is not in your future, is there someone else in the household who can take over the dirty dish detail, at least until you get your condition under better control I really sympathize with you with this condition. It is such a pain.

      1. re: sueatmo

        I developed eczema when I started to work in a kitchen full-time. The constant wet to dry to wet conditions were terrible for my skin. And then I got an allergy to latex from using latex gloves all the time.

        So I would recommend NOT using latex gloves to avoid developing an allergy. But there are some good alternatives. Looks like the OP is in the Toronto area...Canadian Tire and Shoppers both carry non-latex dish gloves. The ones from Shopper's last much, much longer than the Cdn Tire ones. And to make them last longer, we turn them inside out and rinse the inside after using (prevents them from getting stinky, too).

        And I highly recommend Bag Balm for your eczema. I put it on every night and rarely get flare-ups any more on my hands.

        1. re: sueatmo

          I'm sorry, I see where you got your idea that I have skin troubles - I don't. I've just known many others who have had problems and wanted to offer sympathy.

          You are right that, as I also stated (less well than you did) that the choice of soap is very important.

          Fish oil supplements are better at moisturizing skin than topical treatments; however both are indicated when the problem is extreme.

          1. re: sandylc

            The op stated that she has eczema on her fingers, as I do. Sooeygun and I were responding to that problem. Washing dishes in hot water will tear the skin up of some one with eczema, and I don't think the problem can remedied with fish oil. When you deal with eczema, you have to keep your skin moisturized. Sg uses bag balm; I use Cetaphil.


            1. re: sueatmo

              I 100% guarantee you that taking fish oil internally will moisturize your skin. Really.

              1. re: sandylc

                I've been taking fish oil daily for several years and it doesn't even make a DENT in the eczema I get in the wintertime. What DOES help:

                - The Rx ointment my dermatologist prescribed
                - Someone else to lend a hand with the dishes more often
                - Bag Balm or anything else heavy duty at night with gloves when you sleep

                Oh, and dishwashing gloves help, too, of course...but the three steps above--especially the first two--are most helpful to me, personally.

                FWIW, I always carry Aveda's Hand Relief with me. It is my favorite hand treat, ultra rich and I love how it smells, too!

                1. re: sandylc

                  I have tried fish oil and it did moisturize my skin very marginally. Unfortunately, when you have bad eczema, fish oil just isn't enough. It doesn't moisturize enough to counteract the effects of water and other factors that are drying out your hands. I'm lucky that going up to the strongest medicated prescription cream has beaten it back so that I mostly just rely on Bag Balm unless I have a major flare-up (usually after a big weekend of cooking). One of my co-workers had to have shots to treat hers. Hers was so bad that her hands looked like she was wearing red gloves.

                  I once had a doctor look at my eczema and say very accusingly 'you've been scratching. You shouldn't scratch it'. I asked if she had eczema and she didn't so she just didn't understand how damn itchy it can be.

            2. re: sueatmo

              Cetaphil, like many lotions and moisturizers (or products for that matter), contain formaldehyde/parabens/preservatives that highly exacerbate eczema.

              As a life-long sufferer of eczema, I have finally found relief with completely paraben-free lotions. California Baby (sold at Target and Whole Foods--at least in CA) are great products.

              Good luck.

          2. I know of no way to repair the gloves, so no help there. I think lasting a year is not realistic if you wash dishes every day. I buy Mr. Clean neoprene coated latex gloves. They've gotten very hard to find, but they are much more durable than other gloves I've tried, and they last me about six months, doing dishes regularly with very hot water, and the pair I use for house cleaning (bathroom, etc.) lasts even longer. But they do eventually get a hole in them, always in the right hand, I presume because I use that hand more vigorously and more often when cleaning. I have three or four left hand gloves that I'm keeping for who knows what reason. Maybe some day I'll find a left-handed person with a supply of right hand gloves, and we can swap!

            Anyway, I think that you need to find a more durable (probably more expensive) glove than what you've bought. There is no point to wearing the gloves once they break - keeping your hands dry is the point. Because they're hard to find, I buy mine in quantity and keep them for a long time, no problem with the shelf life so far. Go to a home improvement store (Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.) rather than the grocery store - they have all kinds of gloves for all kinds of uses. Better to pay a little more for the pair and have them last.

            1. I have similar skin problems and wear gloves anytime I get close to dish water.

              I used to buy generic or Playtex brand and yes, they were prone to simply wearing out in spots and leaking, like the material simply dissolved. I would toss them on a regular basis.

              Wegman's house brand of laytex gloves last a long time. I have yet to spring a leak in a pair. (I distroy mine by ripping them off or cutting via broken glasses)

              1. canadian tire sells a type of work or gardening glove that is made of light blue rubber-like material. they are smooth from the wrist down and textured, presumably for grip, on the hands and fingers. they come in two sizes. they cost $6 but easily outlast 6 pairs of dollar-store gloves. positives: they are great for the #1 reason i got them: to be able to wash my dishes in extra hot water. plus, i have never ripped a pair doing dishes. negatives: 1. the thick material means a loss of fine dexterity. you can test this in the store. 2. with such a long life, the inside of the glove gets dirty and has to be washed occasionally. 3. although they do not rip on me, the rubber-like material will start to age and become inflexible. this takes months.

                ok that is a long post for gloves but i wanted to use the better environmental choice (one long lasting pair pair vs a slew of thin pairs) although i haven't researched the materials that went into their manufacture. also, like you i got annoyed at the thin yellow ones that ripped every time i looked at a fork the wrong way.

                p.s. i once saw them at a metro/dominion but they were not there not regularly.



                1. I'm amazed the gloves lasted a month and a half! Mine only last 1-2 days before springing a leak or getting nasty enough that no gloves is more appealing. I keep a box of them under the sink, grab new and recycle the dead ones.

                  1. I use these when washing dishes, cleaning, etc. You can find a similar item at Walmart for approximately 9.99 per 100. I can usually use the same pair for about 3-4 days


                    I get the willies with the cotton interior of the reuseable latex gloves and also can't stand when they have a hole and water seeps into the glove.

                    1. I have had these exact same (color and everything) Korean dishwashing gloves for YEARS. They are heavy-duty, built to last and were, oddly enough, a Christmas gift from a place I used to go to get my nails done.

                      1. I have lived with eczema for years. I am also allergic to all synthetics so gloves do more harm than good having said that I find that having cold wet hands - think sailing- is worse than washing dishes. I do wash dishes but find if i use certain soaps I am ok - provided I moisturize afterwards. Williams Sonoma sell really nice gloves that last at least a year. I use these when doing large wash ups with many pots, china that can't go in the dishwasher or stem ware and I find I make out ok.

                        1. container store sells some with turn-down cuffs that have a nice liner that keeps your hands dry. i use a pair in the kitchen, and another in the bathroom. http://reviews.containerstore.com/162...

                          PS, does anyone else have problems with allergy to dawn regular antibacterial dishwashing soap? the newer one with hand conditioners, or the dawn "plus" oxi, seems to be much better.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: alkapal

                            We just use unscented 7th Generation. We skip the whole conventional brand thing. It's good for us.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              The 7th Generation stuff is good. Very gentle on your skin and it gets the dishes clean (and it doesn't stink to high heaven like some dish-washing liquids.) I used to wash the dishes with ivory soap to avoid detergents altogether (I was brought up washing the dishes with kitchen soap, which is almost unobtainable nowadays!), but it was hard to rinse them enough to get all the soap residue off. I don't recommend it!

                          2. There are heavier duty gloves, but they will reduce your feel and dexterity. A long time ago I bought a couple of pairs of industrial quality waterproof gloves, which we have used to dishes on cool fall camping trips. One pair was even insulated, designed for use in industrial freezers. Hardware stores might carry these, or better yet a farm-and-fleet supply.

                            1. I've had the same pair of Vileda gloves for months and they are good as new. They are fairly pricey (I think $6ish) but they're great. They have a nice lining and are durable.

                              1. Make sure that the gloves aren't too tight and that you prop them up to dry after use. While the typical yellow gloves from the supermarket don't normally last too long, this will help them hold up a bit better. Replacing them monthly isn't that unreasonable.
                                Depending on the type of rubber used, these can degrade over time so I wouldn't buy a hundred pair, but keeping an extra pair or 2 around is a good idea.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                  And one can buy two pairs easily enough, and an extra pair of cotton gloves for inside if that extra protection is needed, if you buy a size larger.

                                2. I find that my skin gets worse from wearing hot damp clingy gloves that rub on my fingers than it does from simply washing the dishes with bare hands. If my skin is dry I put Aveeno lotion on after I'm done washing the dishes, and if my excema has flared up I rub oil into my hands (even olive oil helps to keep my skin moisturised so it can heal.) and put vitamin A&D oil onto the bad patches.

                                  1. Have you tried non-latex nitrile powder free gloves sold for medical purposes? They are thin and one use , but are meant to be non-allergenic? You can buy a box at most pharmacies for under $10 for 50 pair. This is what most nurses at our hospital use. Perhaps they would work for your purposes.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sherriberry

                                      I'm not the OP, but those gloves to go high enough for dish washing. We have a box for messy food prep and I've tried them when out of dish gloves. You end up with a glove full of water. There are nitrile dishwashing gloves though.

                                    2. Latex gloves from the restaurant supply store are much sturdier than the pathetic ones sold at grocery stores. Surely there's a source online. Also, might you try disposable plastic gloves (like deli counter gloves the weight of a Ziploc bag?)

                                      1. Another trick to try from my mother - turn the gloves completely inside out after each use so the interior dries.

                                        1. I've had these casabella gloves for a long time and they do not crack. They also have a handy cuff that stops water from dripping up your arms. And just remember not to put wet hands in the gloves.


                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: adido

                                            Those look great! I like the idea of having a cotton liner even better. I'm gonna look for these. You are just full of good ideas, aren't you--first rice whisky treats, now comfy dishwashing gloves! ;) Thank you!

                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                              Hi again Kattyeyes. thanks for the compliment - you made my day.

                                              1. re: adido

                                                By the way, I've been faithfully using the casabella gloves you recommended for the past couple of months and am VERY pleased to report my hands are not cracked or flared-up as they usually are by this time of year. Good gloves are a HUGE help in keeping eczema (or just plain chapped hands) at bay, so thanks again!

                                                By the way, the lady on the box is hysterical. She doesn't like she even DOES dishes. EVER.

                                          2. I've used latex dishwashing gloves for about 40 years. I've found that Playtex brand holds up the best (supermarket/generic brands, which I have tried occasionally because they are a bit cheaper than Playtex, have never lasted as long).

                                            I have sensitive skin that dries out easily from any detergent or soap, no matter the brand, and I find it easier to always use the latex gloves than to continually need to apply moisturizers (which themselves contain chemicals such as parabens, sulfates, etc etc). Also I prefer to use quite hot water when I wash dishes and I can use hotter water with the gloves on than I could with bare hands.

                                            I usually get about 3 months -- sometimes four -- of use from a pair of Playtex gloves before getting a finger-split; I think five months was the longest a glove ever lasted. But they are used at least 3 times each day, and even more if I am on a cooking binge that day, LOL. I handwash everything (do not even raise the dishwasher question, I refuse to get into that can of worms detour, suffice it to say that it ain't gonna happen) and so my gloves do get a lot of use. Of course if I accidentally nick one of the gloves while washing a knife, that's my own fault, but by and large I pay attention to how I use them and also rinse them well with clear water as the last thing after I am done washing; I don't let detergent residue remain on the gloves, even though I now use one of the natural brands (either 7th Gen or Greenworks). However the only reason I use those is because they are fragrance free; all the other stuff is scented and I have major fragrance allergies.

                                            Funny, I am righthanded but my gloves usually split on a left finger! Maybe because I am always holding the plate/pot/utensil in that hand whereas my right hand is only holding the dishcloth which is soft.

                                            1. I like the longer length Playtex gloves. Turn them inside out and wash with soap and water occasionally. I find using a chopstick to poke the fingers through helps that process.