Sterile gloves are an essential part of any medical procedure, but they can be challenging to put on correctly. If you’re not careful, you can contaminate the gloves and defeat their purpose. So, how do you put on sterile gloves without contaminating them?

Here’s how to put on sterile gloves without contaminating them:

  • Choose the right size gloves.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Dry your hands thoroughly.
  • Inspect the package of gloves.
  • Open the package of gloves and remove one glove.
  • Put the glove on your dominant hand.
  • Repeat the steps with the other hand.
  • Reinspect the gloves for signs of damage.

Have you ever had to put on sterile gloves and been so nervous that you accidentally contaminated them? If so, read on for a rundown of the steps to follow to avoid making that mistake again.

1. Choose the Right Size Gloves

One of the most common ways people contaminate their gloves is by choosing too large or too small gloves.

If the gloves are too large, they can easily fall off during the procedure. On the other hand, if they’re too small, it can be challenging to maneuver your hands and fingers, increasing the chances of contamination.

Because of that, it’s crucial to choose the right size gloves when putting on sterile gloves. Besides, the glove size impacts both the level of comfort and the amount of dexterity, things you want to consider when selecting gloves.

Pro Tip: When choosing gloves, make sure to keep the following things in mind:

  • The gloves should fit snugly around your hands without being too tight: You should be able to make a fist without feeling too much resistance.
  • The gloves shouldn’t feel baggy or loose: You shouldn’t be able to slide your hand out of the glove easily.
  • Look for gloves with textured fingertips, as these will provide a better grip: This is especially important if you’ll be working with slippery objects.
  • Avoid latex gloves if you have a latex allergy: If you’re allergic to latex, look for gloves made from other materials, such as nitrile or vinyl. It is also essential to avoid latex if you may come into contact with someone else who has a latex allergy. 
  • Check the box for the manufacturer and expiration date: Make sure the gloves you’re using are from a reputable manufacturer and that they haven’t expired.

By choosing the right pair of gloves, you can help ensure that you’ll be able to work effectively and efficiently while minimizing the risk of contamination.

2. Wash Your Hands With Soap and Water

After choosing the right size gloves, it’s time to wash your hands. You should always wash your hands before putting on gloves, but it’s even more critical to put on sterile gloves.

Any bacteria or contaminants on your hands can transfer to the gloves and contaminate them. To avoid that, follow these steps:

  1. Remove any jewelry from your hands, as this can harbor bacteria. Besides, it can also get in the way of putting the gloves on.
  2. Wet your hands with clean, warm water.
  3. Apply soap to your hands.
  4. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds, making sure to lather the soap on your hands’ backs and fronts, between the fingers, and under the nails.
  5. Rinse your hands with warm water.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. However, keep in mind that hand sanitizers are not as effective as soap and water at removing dirt and debris from the hands. Therefore, you should only use them as a last resort.

3. Dry Your Hands Thoroughly

After you’ve washed your hands, it’s essential to dry them thoroughly. If your hands are even slightly damp, the gloves may become moist and increase the risk of contamination.

To dry your hands, follow these steps:

  1. Use a clean, dry towel to pat your hands dry.
  2. Make sure to dry the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Caution: After washing and drying your hands, avoid touching anything else before putting on the gloves. Otherwise, you could contaminate your hands again. As a rule of thumb, you should keep your hands above waist level to avoid coming into contact with potential contaminants.

4. Inspect the Package of Gloves

Once you’ve washed and dried your hands, it’s time to inspect the package of gloves. Check the expiration date to make sure that the gloves are still sterile.

Next, look for any signs of damage, including the following:

  • Tears and holes
  • Discoloration
  • Stains

If you find any damage, it’s best to discard the gloves and select a new pair.

Caution: Avoid opening the package of gloves until you’re ready to put them on. Once the package is open, the gloves are no longer sterile. As a rule of thumb, never use any packaging that’s torn, has been previously opened, or damaged in any way.

In addition, here are some guidelines to ensure medical gloves stay sterile:

  • Only use gloves approved for medical use: Before using gloves in sterile fields, always check if they’re FDA-cleared or NIOSH-approved. These gloves have met specific quality and performance standards set by federal organizations.
  • Only use gloves that have been properly stored and not exposed to any contaminants: If you’re not sure how the gloves have been stored, don’t use them. If possible, check to see if they’ve been stored in a dust-free, clean environment away from any potential contaminants.
  • Only use gloves that are the right size: Gloves that are too big can fall off and contaminate the sterile field. Gloves that are too small can tear, increasing the risk of contamination.
  • Don’t reuse gloves: Once you’ve used a pair of gloves, they’re no longer sterile. Always discard them after use and select a new pair.
  • Don’t wash gloves: Washing gloves can damage the material and increase the risk of contamination. Besides, it’s not necessary since you should always discard gloves after use.

5. Open the Package of Gloves and Remove One Glove

Now that you’ve inspected the package of gloves, it’s time to open them and remove a glove. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Use your non-dominant hand to hold the cuff of the glove.
  2. Grip the edge of the cuff with your thumb and index finger and carefully peel the glove away from the cuff.

Note: Once you’ve peeled the glove away from the cuff, avoid touching the part of the glove that will come into contact with your skin. Otherwise, you could contaminate the glove.

6. Put the Glove on Your Dominant Hand

With the glove still held in your non-dominant hand, it’s time to put it on your dominant hand. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Slip your fingers into the glove.
  2. Pull the glove over your hand and up your arm until it’s snug.

Note: Make sure that the glove is not too tight. Otherwise, it will be challenging to move your fingers, and you may tear the glove.

7. Repeat the Steps With the Other Hand

Once you’ve put the first glove on, repeat steps five through eight with the other hand. Remember to hold the cuff of the glove with your non-dominant hand and avoid touching the part of the glove that will come into contact with your skin.

Also, keep your hands away from your face and body while you’re putting on the gloves. If you accidentally touch your face or body, you could contaminate the gloves.

Here’s a video that may come in handy if you need a demonstration of how to don sterile gloves:

8. Reinspect the Gloves for Signs of Damage

After you’ve put on both gloves, it’s time to inspect them for any signs of damage. As before, look for tears, holes, or other damage. If you find any damage, chances are that you may have damaged them while putting them on. In that case, it’s best to discard the gloves and select a new pair.

Note: If you didn’t damage the gloves while putting them on, you can proceed with your work. Just remember to avoid touching anything outside the sterile field, or you could contaminate the gloves.

Pro Tip: Now that you know how to put on sterile gloves, here are some tips to help you keep them sterile:

  • Avoid touching anything non-sterile while wearing gloves. That includes your clothing, skin, hair, and anything else that might have come into contact with bacteria or other contaminants.
  • Avoid unnecessary movements while wearing gloves. The more you move your hands, the greater the chance of contaminating the gloves.
  • Keep your hands above the waist level. That way, you can avoid accidentally touching something that might contaminate the gloves.


Putting on sterile gloves may seem like a simple task, but it’s essential to do it correctly to maintain a sterile environment. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that you put on the gloves without contaminating them.

Remember to inspect the gloves for damage before using them and avoid touching anything non-sterile while wearing them. Finally, keep your hands above the waist level to reduce the risk of contamination.

If you’re on the hunt for reliable, quality medical gloves, look no further than our selection here at Allied USA. With a wide variety of medical supplies, including multiple types of medical gloves, it’s easier than ever to get exactly what you need for your medical practice. Browse our selection today!