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Where to buy latex gloves — and how to use them safely

latex gloves
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A lot of people wearing latex gloves with the intent of preventing contact with surfaces, so as to try and stop the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The only problem is that these gloves aren't as easy to use as you'd expect, and they come with caveats.

While we've got links for you to get latex and other rubber gloves online, we seriously recommend you only buy what you need. Yes, we all want to be protected, but do not hoard these gloves. Medical professionals need these gloves, just like they need the N95 respirators, face-masks and hand sanitizer. 

Personally, I'm using these gloves sparingly. As a part of social distancing, I'm cutting back on grocery store trips, and any trips outside where I'd touch anything other than my door, to get back in the building.

So, while we want to help make sure you can find these gloves, we're going to start with everything you need to know before putting a pair on. 

What to know about latex gloves

The biggest piece of advice we're seeing from medical professionals is to not treat latex gloves as an easy way to go back to living your life normally. They're not an alternative to washing your hands, using hand sanitizer or performing any of the other important safety measures we've been doing these days. 

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the Today Show that "Latex gloves can rip very easily ... They're not designed for going out, running up stairs, doing things in daily life. They're not very durable when it comes to pumping gas or anything ... They're going to get holes. They're not meant for wearing during activities and daily living. Even as a physician, I have my gloves rip all the time."

You should also know how coronavirus spreads, because the gloves won't protect against every method. Aline Holmes, an RN in New Jersey, told Today that the virus spreads through mucus and water droplets that people emit, and "those droplets go about four or five feet and then drop to the ground. Wearing gloves isn't necessarily going to do anything ... Eventually, you'll take those gloves off."

This is why I'm throwing away each pair of gloves after use, and taking care to avoid touching the outsides of the gloves. That last part is huge, as Adajla said people will likely touch their faces while wearing the gloves, which you shouldn't do. You wouldn't carve open a hot pepper wearing gloves and tap your gloves' fingertips against your eyes right?

Lastly, we've got proper glove removal instructions, straight from the CDC

How to remove latex gloves

  1. Do not touch your bare skin with the outside of a glove. 
  2. Using one glove, pull the other from the base at wrist. 
  3. Peel the glove away from your body, pulling it inside out. 
  4. Hold that glove in the still-gloved hand. 
  5. Using the hand that isn't in a glove, peel off the glove you're wearing, by inserting your fingers inside, at the wrist. 
  6. Pull the second glove inside out, and dispose of both properly. 

Where to buy latex gloves online

Currently, Amazon is all sold out of latex gloves, with remaining options giving weeks upon weeks of backordered delivery times. Target and Walmart are also out of stock. Right now, CVS is your best bet, and it's quoting a 3-7 day delivery window. 

Also, you'll probably notice a variety of kinds of rubber gloves in this list. While I could find yellow latex gloves at my local CVS, they're not the only option. If you see Nitrile gloves, those are a good option because they've got a stronger durability than Latex gloves, but still feature a high degree of protection against viruses. Avacare Medical, a firm that sells products for elderly care, explains more here.

Genuine Joe Max Protection Powdered Industrial Latex Gloves:  $14.49 @ CVS
These medium-sized gloves are "thicker than normal" for durability, but they're still meant for single use. 50 per box.View Deal

Curad Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves: $18.29 @ CVS
This box of durable Nitrile Exam gloves is sold here in medium and large, and has a light texture. Blue gloves, 150 per box.View Deal

Medline Aloetouch Ice Nitrile Exam Gloves: $29.99 @ CVS
The aloe coating in these gloves will help your hands from cracking and soft as you wash them all the time. X-Large, 200 per box.View Deal

Curad Powder-Free Vinyl Latex Exam Gloves: $11.99 @ CVS
Those with larger hands should check out these gloves, which have a textured surface. White gloves, 90 per box.View Deal

Purple Nitrile Safeskin: $15.29 @ CVS
With 100 gloves — remember to use them once and dispose of them afterward — these gloves should last you a good amount of time. A reviewer notes that they're "durable and comfortable."