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After years of getting all my gloves dirty — then tearing my hands up moving furniture or other “clean” items bare-handed — I finally learned to buy a separate set to keep as “clean” gloves.

Since I use them much less than the “dirty” ones, I generally don’t waste money buying expensive gloves for “clean” service.  In fact, for furniture moving (read: general-purpose work gloves), I usually make a stop at the dollar store or Harbor Freight, especially when they’re running a sale on a five or ten-pack.

In fact, if you find a multi-pack deal, it’s also a good idea to have a stash of cheap-ass work gloves around for friends who hang out at the shop and are willing to pitch in.  At $1 or even less a piece, it could mean the difference between moving something bare-handed by yourself or with gloves and help!

(Thanks to Chris Harley for the great CC-licensed photo.)


14 Responses to Tip: Get A Set Of “Clean” Gloves

  1. Toolaremia says:

    I started doing this a decade or-so ago. I have a set of filthy heavy leather gloves for tire and underbody work, and another clean set for furniture or other in-house lifting.

    Then I keep three sets of Mechanix-Wear-type synthetic gloves (usually Craftsmen since they go on-sale for $10 regularly) in-rotation in the shop. One clean pair for clean work like engine and bearing assembly. a second kinda-dirty pair for topside engine or electrical, and a really dirty pair for metal work or grungy work around the bottom of engines on radiators and oiling systems. Periodically the dirty pair goes in the wash and becomes the clean pair. Substitute in new pairs when they get to many holes. (Not as much a problem now that the Craftman gloves have rubber thumb and forefinger grips.)

  2. Leslie says:

    Have you guys ever done a piece on anyone who makes good work gloves that actually fit women’s (and smaller men’s) hands? Just curious, because they’re definitely hard to find, and it’s hard to keep a good grip on something when your fingers are an inch shorter than the gloves’.

  3. Waylan says:

    Uhm, do that many people really wear gloves? For me, gloves are to keep your hands warm in cold weather. Maybe if I’m working with sharp material (like sheetmetal), I’ll want something to protect from excessive cuts, or I may need protection from chemicals, but thats about it. What useful purpose do gloves serve moving furniture?

    I’m not trying to be a tough guy here, but I am serious. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my sister got a glove caught in some machinery which pulled her hand in and removed it (the hand) permanently, but I prefer no gloves for most any task. I’ll deal with the callouses, minor cuts and scraps etc.

    I don’t mean to be so negative, but I just don’t see the benefits.

  4. Chris S. says:

    a good pair of gloves with rubber grips can make it alot easier to move furniture than bare hands. They provide better traction against smooth surfaces. especially if its hot out and your hands are sweaty.

  5. Leslie says:

    Waylan, I rarely use heavy-duty gloves, but there are unquestionably times that they’re needed — handling very splintery wood, pruning or taking out a shrub that has lots of thorns that will cut through regular thin garden gloves, handling anything that has chemicals or something else that might cause a reaction on my skin, carrying something with sharp edges (I got my palm sliced trying that one without gloves), and as Chris S. said, carrying things with slick surfaces though I typically use my rubber-palmed garden gloves for that.

  6. Toolaremia says:

    Leslie, try the Craftsmen mechanic’s gloves. They are a tight fit, and come in small sizes. They might work. See if you can find child-size mechanic’s gloves.

    Waylan, I can lift a lot more weight much more often with gloves than without gloves. Moving heavy gear without gloves means blisters and cuts. With gloves no problem.

    I used to be of the “gloves suck” mentality, complete with tubs of Goop around the house, until the lightweight mechanic’s gloves hit the scene. They don’t interfere with working on cars, and prevent the usual scrapes and skinned knuckles. I can apply more force to a tool while wearing them. I can also keep clean things cleaner since I can do dirty work, then remove the gloves and have clean hands to handle the clean stuff. I got tired of having to plan the work so I’d only have to clean my hands once. And tired of the “permadirt” under my nails and ground into my forefingers from spinning grimy nuts and bolts with my bare hands. Chicks don’t dig that. And frankly, even Goop leaves hands rough and smelling like chemicals. Lava and the like are worse. For me, gloves have made shop work much easier, safer, and practical.

    Who wants to carry a tub of Goop and paper towels in the car to an autocross? Bring the leather tire gloves and not worry about crapping-up the interior of my nicest cars.

    Gloves rock.

  7. Jim says:

    Leslie, See the Renovator’s gloves from Lee Valley, http://www.leevalley(dot)com. They specifically have women’s sizes. Other gloves in women’s sizes include the Mudd Gloves and the Cotton Glove Liners.

  8. Tony says:

    I also like to keep a pair of leather gloves in the kitchen, they work much better as a pot holder than those flimsy fabric squares everyone has.

  9. Leslie says:

    Toolaremia and Jim, thank for the recommendations!

    And Toolaremia, I had to laugh at your “And tired of the “permadirt” under my nails and ground into my forefingers …. Chicks don’t dig that.” I used to joke that the reason why I got a hard acrylic coating topped with dark-red polish on my nails every week was so that no one could see the grime from my gloveless gardening and renovation work.

  10. clueless says:

    I like to work on the car without gloves. Much better feel without them. I will put on a pair of heavy leather gloves if I am doing demo work or hauling trash. If you are looking for gloves to fit smaller hands, try looking at motocross/mountainbiking/paintball gloves. I try to keep a set of leather gloves in the car with shop towels and Mean Green hand cleaner- it is the best hand cleaner that I have found.

  11. Roscoe says:

    Waylan- I think you’re right on track. Too many people where gloves for tasks that don’t require them. I get a chuckle out of the guys in my neighborhood I see wearing gloves in the yard on weekends for everything from holding a shovel, to trimming hedges.

  12. Chuck Cage says:

    Personally, I use the hell out of gloves. Of course, we live kind of a funny life here at Toolmonger. We’ll go from the shop (read: underneath a car) directly to a meeting with ad execs — sans dirty fingernails ’cause we keep boxes of latex and nitrile gloves above the workbench. I use generic “work gloves” for handling steel to avoid getting (too much) black crap all over me — or getting cut by a corner. You’ll almost never see Sean under a hood without mechanics’ gloves; he skins himself up enough with the gloves.

    Just my $0.02.

  13. Andrew C says:

    Don’t forget a pair of cheapo HF gloves for the BBQ – it’s a lot easier to scrape gunk off a hot grill if your hands can stay over it for more than two seconds.

  14. John says:

    I have a pair of elk skin gloves that
    I will use when rodding out our sewer main.
    Then i put them in the washing machine.
    It works.

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