Methods for sanitizing gloved hands for extended use of disposable medical gloves
CDC does not recommend disinfection of disposable medical gloves as standard practice. This practice is inconsistent with general disposable glove usage, but, in times of extreme disposable medical glove shortages, this option may need to be considered. Before sanitizing gloves, they should be checked for signs of damage (e.g., holes, rips, tearing) or degradation (e.g., brittle, stiff, discoloration, tackiness). If damage or degradation is observed, discard the gloves and do not disinfect. After sanitizing gloves, HCP should check gloves again for signs of damage or degradation. If damage or degradation is observed, discontinue use and discard the gloves.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS)
ABHS is the preferred method for sanitizing gloved hands in healthcare settings when the gloves are not visibly soiled. Research has shown multiple disposable latex and nitrile glove brands maintained their integrity when treated with ABHS.[1-3] Disposable medical gloves can be disinfected for up to six (6) applications of ABHS or until the gloves become otherwise contaminated or ineffective (for one or more of the reasons stated in extended use guidance above). Follow hand hygiene guidance for proper application of ABHS.
Soap and water
If ABHS is not available, soap and water can be used to clean donned disposable medical gloves between tasks or patients. HCP planning to wash gloves with soap and water should wear long-cuffed gloves; as washing may be impractical for short cuffed gloves where water may become trapped inside the worn gloves. Disposable medical gloves can be cleaned with soap and water up to 10 times or until the gloves become otherwise contaminated or ineffective (for one or more of the reasons stated in extended use guidance above). Follow hand hygiene guidance for proper soap and water hand hygiene procedures.
Diluted bleach solution as a disinfectant
Limited data1 show that when nitrile gloves were tested in accordance with ASTM F739-12: “Standard Test Method for Permeation of Liquids and Gases Through Protective Clothing Materials Under Conditions of Continuous Contact” using a 10-13% bleach solution, no permeation was observed. Therefore, disinfection of disposable gloves using diluted bleach may be considered as outlined below. HCP planning to wash gloves with diluted bleach solution should wear long-cuffed gloves.
While gloves are donned, dip gloved hands into a dilute bleach solution for five (5) seconds to ensure complete coverage. Solution should not touch the skin.
Allow the dilute bleach solution to remain on the donned gloves for one minute (starting after removing gloved hands from the solution) to ensure adequate decontamination. Leave hands in a downward position to reduce the risk of the bleach solution dripping onto arms.
Rinse dilute bleach solution off gloved hands using water.
Wipe gloves dry with a clean, absorbent material.
Check gloves again for signs of damage (e.g., holes, rips, tearing) or degradation (e.g., brittle, stiff, discoloration, tackiness). If damage or degradation is observed, discontinue use and discard the gloves.
Instructions for making an appropriate dilute bleach solution can be found on the CDC website.
Although a diluted bleach solution has been shown to be effective for disinfecting disposable medical gloves, the odor and potential for respiratory irritation, potential for inadvertent spills, and potential staining of clothing are reasons this should be the last option for disinfection. If disinfection using the diluted bleach method is conducted, it should be done in a well-ventilated area. Diluted bleach solution must be mixed fresh at least daily, and any time the solution becomes soiled with organic material, which can reduce the effectiveness of the bleach. Available permeation data1 suggests that disposable medical gloves may continue to provide protection when disinfected with diluted bleach solution up to 10 times or until the gloves become otherwise contaminated or ineffective (for one or more of the reasons stated in extended use guidance above).
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