Appropriate Glove Use

Wearing gloves does not replace the need for hand hygiene.

Gloves do not provide complete protection against hand contamination. Microorganisms may gain access to the healthcare workers' hands via small defects in gloves, or by contamination of the hands during glove removal. Microorganisms colonising the patients may be recovered from the hands of approximately 30% of healthcare workers who wear gloves during patient contact (1).

When should gloves be worn?

  • When there is a risk of contamination of the healthcare workers hands with blood or body fluids
  • Where indicated by local infection control policy, for example with transmission based precautions

When should gloves be changed?

  • Between episodes of care for different patients, to prevent transmission of microorganisms
  • During the care of a single patient, to prevent cross-transmission of body sites

Hand hygiene is required with glove use:

  • Hand hygiene should be performed before putting on gloves
  • Hand hygiene should be performed after removing gloves
  • Gloves should be removed to perform hand hygiene during the care for a single patient as indicated by the 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene
  • Single use gloves should not be washed, but discarded.

Hand hygiene products and gloves should be made available inside isolation/contact precaution rooms to allow for appropriate hand hygiene to occur during the care of a patient.

Prolonged and indiscriminate use of gloves should be avoided as it may cause adverse reactions and skin sensitivity.

For further information on glove use refer to the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare.


  1. Pittet D, Allegranzi B, Sax H, Dharan S, Pessoa-Silva CL, Donaldson L, et al. Evidence-based model for hand transmission during patient care and the role of improved practices. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2006 Oct;6(10):641-52.