Whether you are swapping out an engine or working on your brakes one of the last things we all seem to forget is putting on a pair of gloves to protect our hands. In this how to we will look at your options for hand protection for your Garage projects.
If you are a professional your hands will come into contact with a lot of dangerous chemicals over a long period of time. Where a weekend warrior might not need to wear gloves every time they check out a problem with their car you as a professional should always wear gloves. Anything that is petroleum based has the danger of carcinogens or chemicals that can cause cancer. A single contact with gasoline or paint reducer will probably not cause you harm however multiply this over a few decades and you do run the risk of a variety of problems from Cancer to Liver damage.
There are two basic types of gloves that you might want to use. The first is water or chemical proof gloves that will keep your hands clean when you are working with chemicals, paint or other liquids. The second type of glove is a cloth or leather glove you can use to protect your hands from scratches, cuts or just basic abuse.
One trick that you can use is to use both types of gloves in really hazardous conditions. If you are dropping your transmission or doing something else where there is a chance that you can get covered in oil and possibly hurt you can put on a tight fitting pair of leather work gloves and back that up by wearing a pair of Nitrile gloves on top.
Chemical or liquid resistant gloves
There are three basic types of gloves you will come across.
Latex which is good for projects where you are not dealing with caustic or petroleum based chemicals. They are good for general use to keep your hands clean. If you are working with products like wood glue, soaps or general dirt the cost of basic latex gloves is much less than other options so you should keep a box to reduce your overall cost.
Nitrile gloves are a step up from Latex and they are chemically resistant in addition to being thicker and less prone to rip while working. They are inexpensive enough to be disposable but they should last you all day. If you are using petroleum based paints, gasoline or oils they offer added resistance to chemicals so they won’t melt on your hands. They are also a good choice for people who are allergic to latex.
Rubber Gloves are a good choice for use around caustic chemicals. Rubber Gloves come in a variety of thicknesses from the yellow gloves you might use for washing dishes to very thick rubber that can be used around caustic chemicals like Acids and Paint Strippers. This type of glove does cost much more than your other options but should be factored into any job where you are likely to be injured from the chemicals you are using.
Cloth and Leather Gloves for hand protection
Cloth and leather gloves are good choices when you need to protect your hands from physical damage. If you are turning a wrench or welding you will definitely want to wear a pair of gloves to protect yourself and there are a variety of options for every job.
The most basic are cotton or fabric based gloves. They are a good choice for general labor or working in your garden. They are light and offer a reasonable amount of protection for their cost. You can usually pick up a 5 pack set for less than $10 and although they are not disposable after every project they are a good deal.
Leather gloves come in two different types today. There are the heavy work gloves that are good for carpentry or for working in your garden while dealing with things like rose bush thorns and there are lighter mechanics gloves that are often fingerless for easier manipulation of your tools.
Doubling Up on your gloves for serious situations
There are times when you are deep into a project and might come into both caustic chemicals or wet conditions and the need to protect yourself from hand damage.
A trick I was taught that works really well is using a pair of cotton gloves under a pair of yellow rubber gloves. The rubber gloves protect your hands from getting wet while the cotton gloves protect you from injury.
Obviously you want to pick a pair of cotton gloves that are tight and a pair of rubber gloves that are over sized but this is a pretty good trick for working outside all day in rainy or wet conditions.
Although we normally forget to grab a pair of gloves or safety glasses you will find that if you do this for a few projects it will become a habit. Although I probably don’t need to do it for every project I have found just throwing on a pair of nitrile gloves real quick keeps me from scrubbing my hands to the bone or digging out grease or paint from under my fingernails. That alone is worth the preparation.. and like anything you need to prepare for your projects.
One word of caution if you are working on a live engine or other device you need to be careful. Some situations call for bare hands because wearing gloves could cause you to get snagged by a belt or a saw which end up in injury.
Read the directions of your tools and read repair manuals and take their advice and warnings seriously.
If the product you are using says contains carcinogens then protect yourself.. If the manual says don’t wear gloves then don’t.