Buying Gardening Gloves

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
August 11, 2011
Garden gloves displayed on grass

Gardening can be tough on your hands. All that digging, pruning, and weeding can leave your hands looking and feeling sad and neglected. A good set of gardening gloves is one the most important tools in a gardener's tool shed. Here are some tips for finding the perfect pair.


3 Reasons to Wear Gardening Gloves

Spend just one glove-less day working in the garden and you'll probably come up with dozens of good reasons why you should wear them. Here are just three:

  1. Protection. No more worrying about scratches, thorns, and dirty fingernails.
  2. Increased grip. Gloves increase your ability to grip tools, rocks, and heavy objects.
  3. Moisture retention. Without gloves, soil tends to suck the moisture right out of exposed skin.

A Glove for Every Job

No matter what the gardening task is, a perfect glove exists to help with the job.

  • Working with chemicals: When spraying chemicals or handling fertilizers, use gloves made from chemical resistant fabrics like rubber, nitrile, or neoprene. These fabrics are also flexible, which allows you to pick up small object like caps and nozzles. Rubber is the most impermeable and will prevent liquids from coming into contact with your skin the best. The downside of impermeability is that it doesn't breathe as well, so you can expect your hands to get sweaty in a hurry.
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  • Heavy-duty jobs: For jobs like pruning brambles or moving stones, you need thick gloves with long cuffs to protect your wrists from cuts, scrapes and prickly thorns. "Rose gauntlet" gloves are a perfect choice. They feature long, stiff cuffs to protect the forearms, and a soft leather hand for flexibility. Gloves made from synthetics materials such as Spectra and Kevlar are also great choice - especially when working with saws and knives. They are cut resistant, lightweight, and are designed to protect your hands when working with spiny plants or anything with a sharp edge.
  • Working with water: "Bog Gloves" are made from cotton that is dipped in a coating of Latex or PVC to waterproof the fingers and palms, making them the perfect choice for working around ponds and water features or when light tasks need completing during rainy or dewy conditions.
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  • Everyday tasks: For less demanding tasks like raking, weeding, and cultivating, many gardeners prefer a medium-weight glove made from lightweight leather (usually goatskin or pigskin) or gloves made from a cotton/polyester blend. Another great fabric choice is bamboo. Not only is it lightweight and durable, bamboo is also vegan (not made from animals), anti-microbial, and offer more stretch than traditional fabrics. As an added bonus, bamboo doesn't shrink or bleed when you wash it.

Getting the Right Fit

When trying on gardening gloves, they should fit "snug" but never feel restrictive or tight. Men's and women's hands are shaped differently. To prevent blisters and avoid excess bulk, it's always best to select a glove that is made specifically for your gender.


A good pair of women's gloves will usually be cut narrower across the palms and slightly longer in the fingers to accommodate contours and fingernails of a woman's hands. If possible, try before you buy. If you're buying gloves blind (e.g. from a catalog or from an online store) try to choose among brands that feature a sizing chart.

Extra Special Features

At minimum, any gardening gloves you buy should be flexible, breathable, washable, and the appropriate weight for the job. For those who like a little more luxury, here are some other special features to look for:

  • Fabrics that offer UV protection.
  • Padded palms for extra comfort.
  • Gel-filled fingers to help prevent blisters.
  • Grommets or carabineers for easy attachment to clothing.
  • Velcro closures at the wrist to prevent dirt and debris from entering the glove.
  • One-piece construction at the fingers (no seams) to allow for greater sensitivity of touch.
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  • Terry cloth "brow wipes" for wiping away sweat and debris (or scratching your nose).

Caring for Your Gardening Gloves

The best way to care for your gardening gloves really depends on the type that you have. Some can be machine washed; others will shrink and bleed. Check the manufacturer's care instruction on the label first. If the label is missing, try searching for the manufacturer on the Internet.Unless the care instructions specifically advise against it, nearly all gardening gloves can be machine washed in cold water using a mild detergent and dried on a low setting in the dryer.

Gloves made from cotton can be bleached. Leather and bamboo gloves can also be machine washed (cold water, mild detergent), but should be air dried. To restore their shape, squeeze them a few times and slip them on when they are nearly dry. Gloves with combination fabrics and rubber gloves should also be air-dried rather than placed in the dryer.


Another way to clean leather gloves is to gently scrub them with a pumice-based soap, such as Lava (you can do this while you're wearing them). Rinse them in a bucket of warm water and then hang the gloves on the line to dry. When they are nearly dry, put them on to restore their shape.

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Silver Post Medal for All Time! 288 Posts
July 16, 2010

It will be three years at the end of August that I have been fighting a rash caused from garden gloves made in China. The inside seams were not finished. After seeing several doctors I have about got it licked.

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