1000 words about nitrile gloves because why not?

Blue nitrile gloves are The Bestest Thing Ever, and I may never again bake (and clean up from baking) without wearing a pair. I know I’m late to the party, but I’m excited and this is my space for gushing & ranting, so here goes.

The rest of the world has known about these forever, right? I mean, I’ve been watching contestants use them on Great British Bake Off for years, and medical personnel wear them all the time. Why did it take so long? Look. All I can say is, I had no reason to believe they were special. I also saw most people go barehanded if they could, same as I go barehanded as much as possible.

My perspective shift started in spring 2021 when I developed wicked serious eczema on my hands and feet. I left it untreated for months except for moisturizing because I didn’t know what it was. I’d had occasional eczema breakouts in the past on my knees and feet, but they’d itched like crazy, alerting me to the need to heavily moisturize the areas and then ignore them until they cleared on their own.

This time? The hardened, scaling (splitting, bleeding) skin on my hands and feet ached and stung where it split open, but it didn’t ITCH. I only went to the doctor when the weird thick skin, the bleeding bits, and the numbness began to worry me. The doc was surprised it didn’t look like I was aggravating things by scratching the outbreak spots. (Guess who is really, REALLY good at tuning out sensations my brain decides aren’t relevant?)

Yah, anyway. Nine months later, things are not yet fully under control. I’m making headway, pinning down triggers and managing flares, but it’s slow going. Any abrasion or minor scrape on my hands or feet becomes an instant new outbreak, plus skin affected by eczema is terribly fragile and prone to tearing. So every time I get one set of torn fingertips, knuckles, toes or heels calmed down, another spot or thre**e rips open. And then all the other spots act up harder.** Lemmee tell you, typing with open gashes on your fingertips is not the funnest thing ever.

So I have been wearing gloves Rather A Lot. The day I came home with the eczema diagnosis I bought rubber dish gloves, cotton moisturizing gloves, a box of disposable vinyl cleaning/food handling gloves, and yes, a box of blue nitrile gloves.

Why so many different kinds? Firstly, I wanted different options to try. I have always hated wearing gloves. My hands feel smothered. I hate the loss of sensation. I hate the bulkiness. So I didn’t have much Glove Experience. Secondly, because the doctor recommended using gloves whenever doing things that might irritate the skin. The problem being my hands, that meant I was going to need All The Gloves.

EVERYTHING was a hazardous activity and dishwashing was a freaking Red Flag Danger Zone. (Not only does soaking in hot water aggravate the outbreaks, but also I react to an ingredient found in liquid soaps.)

Every type of glove had its downsides. Dish gloves are an absolute PITA to put on and take them off constantly while cooking and cleaning as you go, plus that requires twisting and pressing and creates friction, which is a potential for new tearing every time. Cotton gloves are useless for wet tasks. Work glovesw (which I didn’t buy because I already had lots because gardener herem, hello) are awful for anything requiring dexterity.

And vinyl gloves rip easily, get annoying when wet, and are lousy for tasks that require fine motor control. And they’re one-use only at best. For tough activities I might go through 2 pair. Grr. Wasteful.

And NONE of those gloves be worn while using electronic devices with a touchscreen or a trackpad.

The nitrile gloves? Their downside was that they were expensive and something I’d never used before. Plus they looked like vinyl gloves crossed with latex gloves-which I had used but loathe because they’re tightly clingy and I have tactile issues. (see: “I hate gloves as a general concept,” above)

I only bought the blue ones because at that time the store only allowed purchase of 1 box of vinyl gloves per visit, and I was afraid I might run out. Since I never did, the blue gloves sat unused for months.

Spouseman took over much of the washing-up duties & many other hand-related chores, but baking is a me thing. Between my hands hurting a LOT and not being able to easily clean up as I go, kitchen puttering hadn’t been much fun for a long time.

And then I had a big eczema flare RIGHT WHEN IT WAS TIME TO BAKE CHRISTMAS COOKIES. GRR.

I’d resigned myself to wearing the vinyl gloves, but ew, I dinna wanna, and I was feeling all GRUMPY when noticed the neglected box of blue gloves languishing under the box of the other kind.

And inspiration struck in the form of: “What the hell, why not try them?” Maybe they would last through more than one washing-up between batches and I wouldn’t have to keep changing them & feeling tlike a Wasteful First-World Bad Environmentalis

I went to work measuring, and stirring and scooping and washing with my blue-glove hands, and HOLY FUCKING WOWZA. I’d been hoping they would be tolerable, but NO. A bunch of things were EASIER than if I wasn’t wearing the gloves.

Handling sticky dough. Greasing the baking dishes. Getting all the dough out of the mixing bowl. Washing up. Everything was easy again. I could feel things tright through the material, and it didn’t tear. Oh, and at least for me, the gloves even worked with my phone screen.

So. Bottom line, I now fucking love blue nitrile gloves, and they are my go-to handiwork accessories.

Temps are gonna be in the single digits tomorrow night, so I’ll be baking biscotti (double bake time = double the extra warmth for the house) I’ll for sure be wearing my favorite new gloves.

That is all for now, except here’s a random cat picture, because Pippin is the cutest.

Until later!


** I’m extra-annoyed that one new trigger appears to be eggs. Not eggs in things, but eggs-cooked-alone. (like, say, scrambled, which I had been LOVING for the 4 years since I stopped having other allergic reactions to them) GRRRRR.

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