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Can anyone tell me the difference between clean gloves and sterile gloves?thx

netbenben netbenben (New) New

thanks in advance. any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Clean gloves are the regular old "exam gloves" that come out of the box. Sterile gloves are individually wrapped (well, each pair).


Specializes in ED.

Clean gloves are gloves that have not yet become dirty whereas sterile gloves are clean gloves that have been sterilized.

Clean gloves are clean, that is they are bulk packaged in a box that normally stays in the patients room. These are used to protect the caregiver from the patient and any bodily fluids, as well as to protect the patient. Examples would be when the care giver has to empty a foley bag and uses clean gloves to protect themselves from potential splashing, starting an IV, or when the dental hyginist wears gloves to protect both themselves and the patient at the same time. Clean gloves are also cheap.

Sterile gloves on the other hand (pun intended) are, ...well,...., sterile. These are packaged as a single pair in a sterile packaging. The packaging keeps the gloves compleatly free of any micro-organisms (germs). These are used for sterile procedures such as inserting a foley, changing a wet to dry dressing, or general surgery. The person using sterile gloves must be properly trained (think doctor, nurse, surgical tech, etc.) in putting the sterile gloves on and remaining aware of where their hands are in order to stay sterile. Ever notice on TV shows, how the tv surgeon scrubs up and then holds the hands up in front of themself to stay sterile? The hands are kept in front, below the shoulders and above the waist. Sterile gloves are more expensive than clean gloves, so they should only used when needed in order to control cost.

I hope this answered your question, let me know if you need any more info.


Specializes in Addictions, Acute Psychiatry.

You'll learn that once you do your clinical skills labs...all the basics should be there.

Clean gloves are used for medical asepsis technique and Sterile gloves are used for sterile procedures


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