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Talk to me about garden gloves

herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Tools, Hardware, & Machines

I have to wear gloves because I WILL get a splinter. If there is one tiny fiber like thing in the soil it will find my skin and make things so uncomfortable! But I must be super hard on garden gloves. 3 to 5 uses and my hands end up just as dirty with stained gross nails as if I didn’t wear any. I do get far less slivers so that’s good! I like wearing thin gloves so I can feel small things. Latex gloves are great because they allow me to feel and tend to keep my hands cleaner but I just hate all that waste going in the landfill to pollute our earth. I try washing cloth gloves but it seems they fall apart quickly or the seams get lose so my hands get even more dirty on the next wear.

I love leather/goat skin gloves but the seams are thick and I can’t feel to dead head small things like a pansy or other delicates.

i garden every day. is my best bet to just buy $5-7 gloves weekly?

i also use the soap bar trick sometimes which does work to keep my hands/nails clean but it feels weird and I still get slivers. Maybe I should coat my hands in a thick salve or petroleum jelly or olive oil to protect them from splinters?

What are your favorite gloves?

Any advice to keep slivers out of my hands while I’m working in the garden?



  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,057 admin

    I have almost always been a bare handed kind of person. I love the feel of the plants and the soil.

    Except when harvesting firewood or something rough like that. I'm curious to see what responses you get.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    @Marjory Wildcraft yes I do too! Except for the part where I get tiny slivers. I am always diving into a project barehanded and then; those pesky slivers get me! I’ve been gardening for 11 years (6 of them professionally as a landscaper) and my hands just never callus over enough to protect themselves.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 802 ✭✭✭✭

    I have different gloves for different things. Sometimes I forget them though, lol. I've been using cheap cotton gloves for most applications, saving my leather ones for working with branches, roses, etc. As for needing to feel small things, I just yank off the gloves. I have not found any thin enough to be able to feel small things that do not end up ruined in short order. I tried those ones that are kind of like kitchen gloves but very fitted. They held up okay but my hands would sweat so much in them and then in a few weeks they would develop a nasty smell, even if I washed them out and turned them right side out to dry. So maybe we need to create a good garden glove. That could make a mint I bet lol! I'm thinking cotton on the back of the hands and maybe thin silicon with ridges for gripping things on the front. Would silicon work for that? Okay inventors, go to it!

  • DebiBDebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    I agree with different gloves for different things. I normally use the snug fitting garden gloves that have some kind of coating on the palm and fingers to make them better able to grip small things. If I’m handling something really prickly or where I might get splinters or something I have a pair of heavy duty rose gloves but if I need to do fine work like plant seeds I don’t use gloves at all because I can’t find gloves thin enough for fine work.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,769 admin

    I also have several pairs of gloves for different purposes. Heavy duty work gloves when out getting firewood (or pruning roses), sometimes lined depending on the weather. Leather "roping" gloves for riding or working with animals; they are great for fencing as well. Light weight cotton gloves for most gardening. Nitrile gloves or bare hands for seeding and transplanting. When the soil is wet, I prefer bare hands cause I can't stand having soggy or muddy gloves on. I have tried a variety of other gloves; ones with rubber palms, ones with rubber or silicon dots, kitchen rubber gloves, garden-specific gloves (expensive ones), but haven't found any one pair of gloves that is multi-purpose. So I'm afraid I have no advice but very interested in hearing what others use.

  • LaurieLovesLearningLaurieLovesLearning Moderator Manitoba, Canada 🍁 zone 3, PrairiesPosts: 3,771 admin
    edited May 2020

    @herbantherapy When I worked at a nursery, I used bare hands except for when I was dealing with thorny things. Leather was my go to for that. Some types of leather was certainly more protective than other types.

    I am currently testing out a thinner pair of cut resistant gloves.

    I wonder, since you don't use a wide selection of gloves, if you could just have some sort of easy to access bag strapped to your back with the gloves easy to get or if you could just tuck them into a belt or something.

    I got used to always wearing a clip holster for my pruners. I loved it! It made them so handy! Could you stuff your choice of/variety of gloves into a holster?

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    @LaurieLovesLearning I do wear a clip for my pruners if I’m wearing jeans but I tend to wear dresses most of the time now days. I actually have little boxes including a mail box in various pockets of my garden with pruners and gloves. The leather elbow length gloves are near my rose bed. But I always end up doing more than I originally intended to do when I walk out there (usually weeding!) and then I don’t always have the proper gloves.

    Mostly it’s weeding that gives me splinters and wrecks my gloves. I mulch my flowers, herbs and veggies with compost but I still end up with as many splinters as the rough areas and ornamentals that are mulched with wood chips!

    @torey I really hate soggy muddy gloves too almost worse than soggy socks!! Bleh!!

  • Merin PorterMerin Porter Editorial Director Southwest Colorado (Zone 6a)Posts: 741 admin
    edited May 2020

    Second this. For gardening (except for pruning thorny things), I use cotton gloves that have been dipped in some sort of coating on the inside of the palm area and the tips of the fingers. They look a lot like these: https://www.amazon.com/15226M-Womens-nitrile-assorted-colors/dp/B004W8RKR2/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=washable+garden+gloves&qid=1589239895&sr=8-4

    For pruning roses and doing "mechanical" things in the yard (like running my brush knife/weedeater/etc.), I use good ol' leather gloves. Carhartt is a favorite brand for those, although it's always tricky to find gloves that are small enough.

    And for tending my chickens in the winter, I use neoprene gloves. They are insulated, waterproof, tough, and flexible enough to allow me to get my work done without my hands freezing!

  • dottile46dottile46 Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    I have a pair of lined leather gloves for winter but gardening is usually bare handed. If I am potting up something I might put on a pair of nitrile disposable gloves if that's the only "dirty" chore that day. I have a pair of tiny, sharp pointed scissors that I use for deadheading and finer work that my fingers just no longer feel.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks everybody! I’ve been talking to county master gardeners and other garden gurus online and yes everyone loves to garden barehanded with several kinds of gloves for different tasks. Nitrile gloves being the most popular general glove (which I find to be bulky personally, which is why I end up barehanded full of splinters.

    Im going to try making a thick beeswax based salve and see if I can’t find a way to comfortably go without gloves AND not get splinters or stained fingernails! If it works, I will share it with the grow network community. 💕

  • MelindaMelinda Greater Atlanta AreaPosts: 124 ✭✭✭

    If you work with anything thorny, get leather or canvas gloves. The thorn stick can easy get infected.

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    @Melinda I have rose gloves I love that go up to my elbows for reaching in and I use them for stinging nettles as well as Berberis and raspberries. I use leather work gloves for the blackberry bramble. I have found that even these will get poked through! I just make a quick paste of comfrey and put it on the puncture and I never have problems with soreness when I do this.

  • dipat2005dipat2005 Posts: 357 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy I was very curious about the information you would get on what kind of gloves to wear. The thoughts have been quite interesting and I have learned many things about gloves. I have several pairs of cotton gardening gloves. On one of the pairs of gloves there are small raised bumps on the fingers and I have found those to be really helpful. It seems that the rose thorns don't penetrate those as easily.

  • Lisa KLisa K Posts: 563 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My favorite gloves are stretchy material on top and a latex like substance on the bottom which makes it easy to grip small weeds. You can find them in the garden area or where they sell work gloves -

  • jodienancarrowjodienancarrow Mid North Coast AustraliaPosts: 793 admin

    Reckon I've got about 57 pairs, somtimes the same hand! In all kind of states of disrepair. Tried all kinds, expensive, cheap, all colours but I always go back to Riggers. They are a thin leather glove, useless if you want to feel someting delicate but great for handling firewood or trying to keep hands a bit nice and not too pricey. Odd pair but you get the drift! Hope the pics not too large.

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,790 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2020

    @herbantherapy get gloves that feel and fit right on your hands, I have used leather gloves and I love them but I am with you on the need to feel the plants...the bulky get in the way and I have damaged plants becuase of it so I get good gloves, not the best/expensive, but a good pair and right now the two pair I have on hand I got at..wait for it................the dollar store for about 4ish each. they fit good so I can fine feel as necessary, and I do not damage many plants using them. The are not leather, leather is reserved for moving straw..ie not using for the more delicate work.

    The most important thing to note I'm going to mention is a story that should help you make a wise decision and wear gloves anytime you are working in the soil...

    Years ago there was a man who was fishing and he pulled his boat up to shore to tie to a branch so he could clean his catch. He was either in the US or in Canada, can't remember but being specific so you know that what he hurt himself on is native to our regions. As he reached toward the shore to tie to a branch, he jabbed his hand on a thorn. He thought little about it at first but within a few hours his hand and part of his arm was swollen and red and painful. Within 12ish hours this man was in the hospital with a very bad infection and almost lost his arm. The thorn he jabbed hisself on had/has been know to have microbs that are infectous to humans, prolly animals too, been a long time ago I don't remember all the details but he survived and I think he kept his arm and hand but the bottom line is that our wonderful soil that we are so grateful for also has microbes that can be infectious and even rose bush thornes have a noxious infective in it, again don't remember the specific....wear gloves and wash hands well after working the the yard so you can get up the next day to another lovely morning or afternoon in your garden. As for your nails getting the dirt under them....I use a brush I got from Walmart some years back, made for brushing your feet. I never used it on my feet so I could use it on my hands and nails. I put it to the soap and build some soap and lather and then clean my nails with it...does a great job because the bristles are rigid enough for that but flexible enough not to hurt when you give your nails a great once over.

    IE..protect your hands..they are one of our most valuable gifts.

    And when you only want to enjoy your land and put your hands in your soil like our ancestors did our of sheer joy for owning their own piece of land to grow on...shuck the gloves... you/we deserve to have our hands in our soil every so often..

    By the way, on the latex gloves, if you're wearing them you must not be allergic to them...yet. Along around 1998 I went to a seminar about those gloves and at that point in time they told us that even though we might not be allergic to them, wearing them over time we would develop allergies so be sure and get the non latex gloves, but not for heavy garden use, besides they make your hands sweat and tear pretty easily as you know...

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    I have been experimenting with gardening in different mediums with a salve I made. I used 2x the beeswax that would normally get used. So far I’m impressed with it. No slivers from mulch and I can still get my hands dirty🙃

  • herbantherapyherbantherapy Posts: 454 ✭✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz really good point. When I’m working with roses I wear leather to my elbows! And I wear gloves anytime I use bagged soil or work in new areas. But when I’m just in my raised beds deadheading and weeding and planting starts I’d rather not wear them.

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,790 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy I posted what we should be doing, but I am guilty of the same thing..not wanting to wear my gloves..but I am very aware of the work my hands are involved in and very careful and if I get a stick or thorn or whatever I am diligent to wash the area right away..Thing is, that story about the man who almost lost his entire arm in a matter of hours over a super-infection from a thorn...I will never forget realizing how easy it is for your entire world to change in an hour or a second so when I don't do what I know I should I am very observant but mostly I just suck it up and do what I know I need to do to protect my hands.

    Treat yourself to an Epsom salt and milk bath and baking soda soak with your fav eo and petals for all your hard work 🐞

  • SherryASherryA Posts: 313 ✭✭✭

    I use gloves when I'm using tools like a rake or shovel, because I get splinters too. I'm not too picky about what kind of gloves they are, as long as they're not too big. I don't really wear them for digging in the dirt, so they don't get terribly dirty.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,769 admin

    @silvertipgrizz My favourite brush for cleaning my hands and nails after gardening with out gloves is a medical scrub brush (without the sponge). They do a wonderful job of getting under your nails and into all the cracks and crevices in old hands without any rough scrubbing. Lots of companies selling them but I got mine at a Dollar store. Very easy to clean and sterilize.

  • silvertipgrizzsilvertipgrizz Posts: 1,790 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey I had forgotten about ye ole surgical scrub...and I did not know you could get them outside of a hospital/surgical vendor so I will look for them next week at our local dollar store..thanks!

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 802 ✭✭✭✭

    On the topic of gloves, I have a pair of medium weight leather gloves that I use when I mow and weed-eat the yard. I've gotten gasoline on them from filling the mower several times. But now the surface is almost as slick as glass! Any suggestions? I only have a hole in the top of one finger so should have at least another year's work from them lol.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,769 admin

    @seeker.nancy Saddle soap??

  • burekcrew86burekcrew86 Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    I got a kick out of this question because I make absolutely no sense when I garden. I always grab my gloves, head out to the garden, and then never put my gloves on. I love to have direct contact with the earth and feel it with my fingers. So I’m unfortunately no help to you. My gloves are always close by but very rarely on.

  • maimovermaimover Posts: 342 ✭✭✭

    The jury is still out on this one. I truly prefer bare handed for two reasons actually. The first one being I don’t feel my fingers mostly and the second because it makes me feel better to touch the earth; love walking barefoot in the forest also. I always feel better after a walk in the woods in bare feet; especially love the moss 😊 However...wiping away leaves barehanded this week I bumped into a really scary looking spider and wished I had gloves on and it really freaked me out about spiders a little bit 😐

  • SuperCSuperC Cook at Wahlburgers The Frozen Tundra in the Northern MidwestPosts: 359 ✭✭✭

    Are you any good at sewing or mending? If so, try sewing a pair of denim gloves. With the crisscrossed stitching, this may be better than the cotton ones. You could wear latex inside of them. There is thin denim.

    One time I gardened in a rainforest jungle thinking gloves was the helper to weeding. Yet when you get right in there against the tiny rocks where moss, weeds and sludge is, bare hands win. There may be gross parts to weeding, the way a weed slithers with its juicy parts, or some have tender defense mechanisms in which we must pay attention to while weeding. Good luck finding those gloves

  • cre8tiv369cre8tiv369 Posts: 68 ✭✭✭

    I wear many many many different types of gloves and have different types for different applications. I own many different types of the fabric ones with the palms and fingers dipped in rubber or thinner slippery plastic/pvc, some are light, some are thick winter gloves, they are all different. I own many different brands and types of latex and nitrile gloves in various thicknesses (Harbor Freight is a good place to get a lot of different types for cheap). And I own all sorts of different leather gloves made from all different leathers. I don’t have any that are just the brown cloth “cheap/generic” garden gloves because those always get soggy and the seams are too thick on the finger tips and I hate them. I recommend trying some 5, 7, and 9 mil disposable gloves (regular surgical gloves are 3 mil, and thin can be great, but thicker protects better and still allows you to feel). Harbor Freight, Amazon, etc. (Auto stores can be ridiculous on the prices, so shop around). Also, look at various places and try out many of the different palm dipped ones, (Home Depot, Harbor Freight, etc), all of them are different and that can be to your advantage if you stumble across some you really like. Home Depot has some really thin palm dips (pvc) that come in multi packs that I like for summer weeding, raking, light hoeing (I could wear 7 or 9 mil disposables, but my hands get really sweaty in them and the light stretchy fabric on the palm dips let’s my hands breathe). There is a lot of variety out there, it’s just a matter of trying them to find what you like for a particular task. (And buy a good “hoarders stash” of them, because you know you’ll hate trying to find them again if you don’t).

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texasseeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 802 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey I've never used saddle soap; I'll look into that, thanks!

    This is going to sound strange, but when working with prickly pear cactus I did much better without gloves. I got a lot fewer thorns in my hands and arms and fewer thorns in my clothes. The only reason I came up with was that I must not have been as careful when wearing the gloves; they gave me a false sense of security.

  • gardneto76gardneto76 Posts: 310 ✭✭✭

    @seeker.nancy I have a pair of welding gloves I use when harvesting napoles/pads. Nothing has gotten through those yet. When harvesting the fruits/tunas I use tongs to pick them and then drop them into a bucket with plastic bags In the bottom. The bags help remove most of the glochids or tiny hairs that stick in your skin.

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