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Why Should You Wear Gloves in a Science Lab? 3 Reasons

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie


We all know that gloves are must-have personal protective equipment (PPE) in laboratory environments. But why should you wear gloves in a science lab? Are they always necessary?

The short answer is yes. When you obey lab rules and wear appropriate gloves, they protect your hands from hazardous chemicals.

Also, human hands contain many bacteria and pathogens that might infect samples and alternate test results. Wearing exam gloves helps keep humans from directly contacting lab objects.

Read on to find more details and take measures for your safety.

3 Reasons Why You Should Wear Gloves in a Science Lab


Reason 1. Lab gloves protect you from physical and chemical hazards

Under the thin coat of your skin lies the hands’ nerve fibers, bones, muscles, and tendons, all of which are sensitive and vulnerable to chemical and physical hazards.

Surveys on “Why are gloves important in a lab?” showed that:

  • 40% of hand injuries occurred because the workers were not wearing gloves.
  • 30% of hand injuries occurred because the victims wore improper gloves.
  • On average, a hand injury costs a worker six days off.

In a lab, you work with sharp glass tools and needles. Latex gloves can withstand minor punctures and cuts. If you drop or break a test tube, the gloves are there to protect you.

Besides, you might have to prepare and monitor harmful substances, such as blood, infectious liquids, and radioactive materials. If these chemicals drop on your hands, you can take off the gloves and avoid infections. Due to their chemical-resistant properties, nitrile gloves are the most common gloves for chemistry lab.

Reason 2. Lab gloves protect against chemical absorption

Many chemicals have no burning or corrosive effect on the skin, but they affect your health in the long run. When you touch liquids without gloves used in laboratory, your body will absorb them through your skin and pores. After a period, the accumulation leads to chronic skin conditions.

In a lab, you have to work with numerous chemicals. Even though some are harmless, you don’t know whether you are allergic to them. The function of gloves is to prevent allergies in the first place.

Reason 3. Lab gloves prevent contamination

A slight variation in samples can ruin the whole research data. So, samples must always stay in a sterile environment, and researchers must know glove safety rules to avoid contaminating them.

Also, you must change to new rubber gloves before switching to a new sample to reduce the risk of contamination.

Rules for glove use in labs

Wearing science lab gloves is crucial, but wearing them inappropriately might do more harm than good. You should learn and follow these rules to minimize contamination and injuries.

  • You must wear proper gloves. Most gloves can only protect against a limited number of hazards. For example, neoprene gloves protect against acids and caustics, but they are less resistant to punctures.
  • You must wash your hands immediately after removing the gloves.
  • You need to discard disposable gloves after one use. With reusable gloves, always inspect for tears and holes before reusing.
  • You should remove any types of gloves used in the laboratory before touching common surfaces, such as phones, computers, pens, doorknobs, and elevator buttons.
  • You should never wear lab gloves outside the laboratory. Doing so might transfer chemicals and pathogens to the environment. If you need to transport harmful materials between labs, wear another pair of gloves to handle the task.
  • If a glove shows signs of deterioration, immediately take it off and wash your hands. If chemicals contact your skin, seek medical attention.


To sum up, why should you wear gloves in a science lab? There are two reasons. One is for your safety and the other is for ensuring the entirety of the research. Remember to always follow the PPE requirements in the laboratory.

If you find our article helpful, share it with your friends and colleagues. Everyone should know the safety rules before entering a lab. We welcome all thoughts and questions, so don’t hesitate to leave yours in the comment section. Thank you for reading!

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