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You don’t actually wear rubber gloves to do the dishes?

Carolin Teufelberger
Carolin Teufelberger
Zurich, on 26.10.2021
Translation: Jessica Johnson-Ferguson

I wouldn’t dream of wearing rubber gloves to wash up. But apparently, many of you do. Why?

Frankly, cleaning in general doesn’t give me a warm fuzzy feeling. But doing the dishes is probably the worst chore of all. I don't have a dishwasher, so the work is never-ending. As soon as I’ve tackled the plates, another glass appears. It’s like whac-a-mole with tableware.

Rubber gloves for household use

Despite my negative feelings towards washing the dishes and the high frequency of this despised chore, I would never put on rubber gloves. They feel awful on the skin, make my hands sweat and numb my sense of touch. But according to what I read online the other day, this doesn’t stop many people from wearing them. By chance, I stumbled across this topic in a housekeeping forum when I was looking for home remedies to tackle limescale. Until then, I’d associated rubber gloves with the cleaning industry and posters from the 1950s.

image:40764852: pinterest.com
image:40764852: pinterest.com

I already find it borderline bizarre to wear rubber gloves when cleaning your own toilet, but kind of understand if some people are grossed out by this task. But wearing them to do the dishes? I really don’t get it. Personally, I remove leftover food, soak stubborn stains and rinse off any other dirt beforehand. This leaves the dishes halfway clean before I even go near them with a sponge. Or maybe the gloves aren’t about getting your hands dirty but protecting them? Seems legitimate when you’re cleaning the toilet. After all, Toilet Duck’s pH is probably close to hydrochloric acid. But to wash dishes? My nails aren’t brittle, nor are my hands chapped. After all, I don’t wash my dishes under scalding hot water or in detergent laced with chemicals. Instead, I use Held. It’s biodegradable, and the bottle is aesthetically pleasing.

Or maybe gloves are enjoyed for their non-slip properties? Especially the nubbed models promise extra grip. Again, I really don’t get it. In my lifetime, I’ve dropped about three glasses when cleaning the dishes. Each fall was broken by water and stainless steel, keeping the glass intact. It’s a risk I’m willing to take without covering my hands in rubber.

Harmful for the planet and plug-ugly

You can’t get out of the sweating part. Rubber is not breathable. And it’s problematic in other respects as well. While harvesting natural rubber leads to monocultures and forest clearing, synthetic plastics are mostly based on petroleum or contain plasticisers. Disposable gloves generate additional waste and are usually so thin that aggressive chemicals can still get through. What’s more, if you fail to clean your reusable gloves after every use, you risk turning them into hotbeds for germs. This is because bacteria stick to them and are then spread around the next time you use the gloves.

And then there’s the visual component. Rubber gloves are primarily ugly because of the material they’re made of. Not to mention the colours. It’s as if the manufacturers went through the Pantone catalogue searching for hues with the highest potential to create aggression. Or why else are gloves in garish pink a thing? Slipping into a pair immediately degrades the wearer and their chore.

So why do many of you still swear by them? I’m desperate to find out! Thanks for explaining.

Why do you wear rubber gloves to wash the dishes?

  • Because leftover food repulses me
    4%
  • Because I want to protect my delicate hands
    66%
  • Because they look amazing
    16%
  • Because it's the way I was taught
    2%
  • Because I use harsh chemicals on my crockery
    9%

The competition has ended.

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Carolin Teufelberger

My life in a nutshell? On a quest to broaden my horizon. I love discovering and learning new skills and I see a chance to experience something new in everything – be it travelling, reading, cooking, movies or DIY.


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