Wearing sterile gloves can be a challenge since they always seem to roll down no matter how careful you are. It may seem like a non-issue, but when you’re under stressful, time-sensitive conditions (e.g., a major surgery), the last thing you want is your gloves to slip off without warning. Luckily, there are ways to keep your sterile gloves from rolling.

Here’s how you can keep sterile gloves from rolling:

  • Make sure you’re wearing the right glove size.
  • Keep your hands as dry as possible.
  • Invest in high-quality gloves.
  • Don’t rush when putting on gloves.
  • Position your hands strategically.

This article will take you through foolproof techniques to keep your sterile gloves from rolling. I’ll cover the process of finding the right glove size for you, tips and tricks to keep your hands dry even under the most stressful situations, choosing a high-quality pair of gloves, and positioning your hands such that your gloves won’t slip.

1. Make Sure You’re Wearing the Right Glove Size

Not only will the right size help your gloves stay up, but it’ll also affect their overall feel and comfort for you. Therefore, I highly recommend spending as much time and effort as you can to find the gloves that fit you best. I’ll give you tips on finding the perfect fit in a bit. 

Before that, I want to note that if you’re buying online, it’s better to err on the safe side and pick something bigger. Although perfect-fitting gloves are ideal, a slightly loose pair can prevent rolling and discomfort better than a too-small pair. 

Also, if you wear too tight gloves for prolonged periods, the compression can lead to fatigue, limited dexterity, and increased perspiration. The last one, in particular, can aggravate the “rolling down” issue.

Finally, if your gloves don’t fit, they can cause rolling and an increased chance of cross-contamination. Therefore, if you want to find your ideal gloves, know how to measure your hands beforehand — which I’ll cover in the next section.

How To Measure Glove Size

Measuring your glove size is a straightforward process. Wrap a tape measure around your knuckles and jot down the result in inches. Using that result (plus the gender you identify with), refer to the following conversion chart to find your ideal pair of gloves.

XS15.2 – 16.5 cm (6 – 6.5 in)15.2 – 17.8 cm (6 -7 in)
S16.5 – 17.8 cm (6.5 – 7 in)17.8 – 20.3 cm (7 – 8 in)
M17.8 – 19 cm (7 – 7.5 in)20.3 – 22.9 cm (8 – 9 in)
L19 – 20.3 cm (7.5 – 8 in)22.9 – 25.4 cm (9 – 10 in)
XL20.3 – 21.6 cm (8 – 8.5 in)25.4 – 28 cm (10 – 11 in)

If a manufacturer uses numeric sizing, take your measurement in inches to find its corresponding size. To illustrate, if your knuckles measure 7 inches (17.8 cm), it’s better to go for a size seven or seven and a half.

Moreover, while the above is the general sizing guide glove manufacturers use, there may still be differences between brands. Therefore, you should consult a manufacturer’s specific sizing chart before hitting “Buy.” When in doubt, always go for half a size up.

Sizing up may not always be the best idea when choosing the gloves that fit you best. For example, if you regularly perform medical procedures that require precision or pose any risk of cross-contamination, a pair that fits you snugly might be ideal.

Remember that material also affects how a particular pair of gloves fit. A pair made of vinyl may be the same size as another made of latex, but the vinyl may provide a looser fit than its highly elastic counterpart.

2. Keep Your Hands As Dry as Possible

Moisture tends to stick to latex/nitrile/vinyl (the most common sterile glove materials), making sterile gloves more prone to rolling. Also, moisture attracts microorganisms that can affect the sterility of your gloves, which defeats the purpose of using them in the first place.

Granted, it can be difficult to keep your hands dry. Under stressful, time-sensitive situations like surgeries, you can’t help but sweat buckets. Also, most manufacturers don’t design gloves to be moisture-resistant due to the well-documented risks of powder in these vital medical implements. 

How To Keep Your Hands Dry

Fortunately, there are approaches you can try to keep your hands as dry as possible even under the direst circumstances. Below are a few tips you can keep in mind.

Clean Your Hands As Frequently as Possible

This way, you can avoid oil and sweat build-up and keep your skin cool at the same time. However, take care to use the right type of soap for washing, as the wrong one can dry out your skin and make you suffer unwanted side effects. Also, rinse your hands thoroughly afterward with clean running water.

If you can grab a few sheets of paper towels, use those to dry your hands until no moisture remains. Alternatively, use a clean cloth towel or an air-dryer, though the last one may spread bacteria further (especially if you’re using air-dryers in public restrooms). 

Stay Hydrated

This might seem counterintuitive, but staying hydrated can decrease perspiration rates. Sweating is your body’s way of reducing its internal temperature, and taking in cool water facilitates the latter process. Moreover, hydration helps improve brain function and overall mental and physical well-being, which comes in handy for high-stress medical emergencies.

Apply Rubbing Alcohol to Your Hands

If you don’t have access to an adequate supply of clean running water, you might have to use rubbing alcohol instead. Do this sparingly, though, because using alcohol-based solutions over a prolonged period can dry out your hands too much. 

However, if you’re in a pinch, rubbing alcohol is an excellent way to help excess moisture on your skin evaporate and tighten your pores (which can help minimize sweating).

Use an Antiperspirant

If you have hyperhidrosis (a.k.a. excessive sweating), the previous tips might not help you too much. In this case, you might want to invest in a good antiperspirant. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of these products formulated specifically for your hands. As long as you invest in a high-quality option, you can turn your hands into a moisture and friction-free surface your gloves can’t get stuck to.

3. Invest in High-Quality Gloves

Cheap gloves may save you money, but they’re usually the ones that’ll roll no matter how well they seem to fit or how dry your hands are. If you find that your gloves roll no matter what you do, it might be worth paying a premium price for higher-quality gloves.

As you know, not all sterile glove materials work the same way. Although you can find a variety of gloves at excellent price points, going for a nitrile or natural latex pair is your best bet.

Also, I recommend buying your sterile gloves from a specialized medical supplies store rather than your run-of-the-mill foley kits, as the gloves that come from the latter won’t be able to perform the way you want them to. “Budget-friendly” gloves usually lack resistance and elasticity — issues that aren’t likely to be present in a latex or nitrile pair.

Remember that design matters too. Fortunately, manufacturers are beginning to produce sterile gloves with slightly rolled cuffs. These can do wonders for keeping your gloves from rolling down all the way, so I highly recommend giving them a try.

How To Choose High-Quality Gloves

With everything said above, just because a pair of gloves has a high price doesn’t mean the product itself is of high quality or worth investing in. You need to account for other factors that’ll ensure the gloves you buy fit you and your needs to a T.

Below are the factors to consider when choosing a new pair of sterile gloves:


Elasticity affects all the things that make a great pair of sterile gloves: fit, feel, grip, and (of course) their tendency to roll down. Latex is unparalleled when it comes to elasticity. But if you’re allergic to latex, nitrile is an excellent alternative that provides a few added benefits such as improved chemical and water resistance, durability, and lower friction.


Durability and tear resistance are a must when operating under harrowing medical situations. Also, the structural integrity of a material determines how prone it is to issues like rolling down. When it comes to resilience, nitrile and latex are unmatched.


The best sterile gloves have an excellent grip and minimize stickiness. A good grip allows you to perform tasks safely and to the best of your ability, which is crucial in a medical setting. The inside of the glove should also hug your hands in just the right way.

4. Don’t Rush When Putting On Gloves

Being a healthcare professional doesn’t leave you much time to put on a pair of gloves carefully. However, if you often find yourself dealing with excessive glove rolling, the way you wear your gloves might be to blame. You may save time by haphazardly wearing your sterile gloves, but if doing so increases your risk of cross-contamination, you’ll have more significant problems to deal with than constant glove rolling.

In the long run, wearing your gloves carefully and adequately can save you more time. If you can spare a few seconds or minutes, here’s how to wear sterile gloves properly.

  • Make sure both your hands are clean, sanitized, and dry per the steps I outlined earlier.
  • Using your dominant hand, pull out your sterile glove from its container, touching only the cuff with your thumb and index finger.
  • Pull the glove over your hand, again taking care not to touch anything other than the cuff. 
  • Slowly insert your hand in the cuff while stretching out the material and working your way inside the glove a centimeter at a time. 
  • Using your bare hand, pull out the other glove from its container, again touching only the cuff.
  • Transfer the glove to your gloved hand, and repeat the process above to glove your bare hand.

5. Position Your Hands Strategically

Wearing nitrile and latex gloves isn’t the same as wearing winter or garden gloves. For starters, cross-contamination isn’t usually an issue with the latter two. When it comes to sterile gloves, you need to know how to wear them in a way that suits you best.

Everyone’s hands differ when it comes to their shape, flexibility, and range of movement. For that reason, I highly recommend taking an hour or two to practice a glove-wearing technique that allows you to operate as fast as possible without sacrificing accuracy.

One good strategy is to put your thumb up while wearing a pair of sterile gloves. Otherwise, you’ll have too much unprotected contact with your thumb (especially with your non-dominant hand) and render your gloves’ sterility ineffective. 

As I said, it’s essential to develop your own technique. However, you can follow a few general guidelines:

  • Wash your hands, thoroughly dry them afterward, and remove all jewelry before attempting to insert your hand into the gloves.
  • Always handle your gloves according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep a sterile surface nearby if you need to put one glove down while wearing the other.
  • Always start with your dominant hand.
  • Put your fingers together when inserting them into the glove, then pull the material up from the inside.

Key Takeaways

Rolling sterile gloves are an issue that can be mildly frustrating or life-threatening. Therefore, healthcare professionals must use the above tips and tricks to keep their protective gloves in place.

As long as you wear the right size glove, keep your hands as dry as possible, invest in a high-quality brand, and use the best glove-wearing technique, you should never worry about your sterile gloves rolling down again.

If you’re on the hunt for a reliable source for your medical gloves, look no further than Allies USA. We have a wide variety of medical supplies available, including plenty of medical gloves to help keep your medical practice well stocked. Check out our selection today!