Work glove safety tips

Insects and spiders might decide to take up residence in your work gloves while they are not in use. Use this tip to avoid close encounters of the biting kind.

Lightweight garden work gloves
Lightweight garden work gloves

What unpleasant surprises do your work gloves harbor?

Here's a quick tip to make sure no nasty varmint has taken up residence in your work gloves while you weren't using them. I am referring to spiders for the most part but if scorpions are native to your area, you need a slightly different approach. That will be covered later.

To eliminate spidey bites, the tip is to "wring" your gloves like you're trying to get water out of a dishrag.  You can see the "wrung" condition below.

Work gloves after wringing them to kill spiders inside.
My work gloves after the wringing action.

​The rubber bands are there to hold my rubberized gloves after the wringing action so I could snap the picture. While taking this step to document the tip, it occurred to me that you could store your gloves with the ends held shut by a rubber band or string. This works for gloves that have an easily compressed collar. If you prefer heavy leather gloves, this likely won't work as well. Besides, adding a closure complicates the process. After all, this site is about simple fixes, right?

Where did I learn this tip?

I cannot recall who advised me to use this method of critter control, but I have used it for many moons.  A logical next question is this, "Have I ever felt gooey remains in my gloves after wringing them out?" Fortunately, no although I always wonder if I will.

Continuing with 50 questions, here's the next one, "If you have never felt a squashed arachnid, why keep doing it?" I'll answer that with the saying, "Tis better to be safe than sorry," and with a pithy anecdote from my days living in Sarasota, Florida.

I was working around our planting beds, removing old vegetation to prepare for a new look. I was not in the habit of wringing my gloves at that point. After finishing my preps, I took off my glove and noticed a spot on the web of my right hand between my thumb and forefinger. I wrote it off to chafing. In church the next day, I had red streaks from that point to my elbow. A stop at the emergency center fixed me up. I don't know if a spider bit me or if I created a blister that became infected.  For a long time, afterward, I worked barehanded.

An alternative approach for scorpion country

At one point in my career, I was promoted to work in Dallas, Texas. We bought a new house in a new subdivision north of the city. We quickly discovered scorpions hanging out in our new home. With a two-year-old and a two-month-old, we were quite unsettled over their presence.

Talking with my new co-workers, I was given the following "reassuring" facts:

  • These scorpions were relatively harmless. Their sting was like that of a wasp and you only had to worry if you were allergic to bees.
  • There wasn't much we could do since the construction stirred them up. They would go away eventually.
  • We should always shake out our shoes and clothing before putting them on, in case one of the prehistoric-looking creatures decided to hang out there.

For years after moving away from Texas, we'd find dead scorpions in books and boxes!!

Taking care of scorpion visitations

Now, be advised that I haven't lived in scorpion since then. But, based on my experience with them, I wouldn't want to wring my gloves, especially the lightweight gardening type pictured in this tip. Why? Because they are tough enough that they could probably sting you through the glove.

So, if I were back in a locale with these stars of corny sci-fi movies, I would shake them first (opening downward) and for good measure, I'd lay them flat and stomp the dickens out of them.

Wrapping it up

What if you don't want to wring out or stomp on your work gloves? Well, here are a couple of alternatives.

  • Store them inside your home. Not entirely safe if scorpions are about, plus they are generally dirt-covered and not the kind of thing I'd want in a drawer inside.
  • Store them inside a container, either inside or out.
  • Work barehanded; an approach I often take because wearing gloves reduces my dexterity on fine motor tasks.
  • Buy new gloves every time! Not recommended until I launch my single-use work glove product on Indiegogo...

By the way, I often wring out my winter gloves that are stored in the closet. Just because I am paranoid doesn't mean some eight-legged freak is not waiting to put the bite on me. Be safe out there, always.