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Rubber gloves are key for getting dishes squeaky-clean without damaging your hands. They’re also great for cleaning around the house.
The Casabella Premium Waterblock Gloves provide an unbeatable combination of comfort, protection, and grip.
I admit, I’m a relative newcomer to the idea of wearing gloves while washing dishes. But about a year ago, I was challenged to test out a pair for another site. It seemed like a sort of old-fashioned and unnecessary step in the dishwashing process, but I gamely donned the pair I was sent and made an effort to wear them.
Well, a week was all it took. Even just wearing the rubber gloves while cleaning up the dishes from one meal a day, I noticed that my hands were less dry and my nails were in better shape. Even after I filed the post, I kept using the gloves and noticed that they kept my manicures intact way longer. And what I initially thought might be a bother has become a habit: Now I will literally not wash a single dish without gloves on — and between two kids and working from home, I wash many, many dishes these days. My rubber-glove wearing habit has become borderline compulsive.
Dishwashing gloves can do amazing things. They’ll protect your hands and nails from damage from harsh dish soap, hot water, and other cleaning detergents. They can give you a better grip on your dishes or the glass of wine you like sip while you wash up. They allow you to use hotter water that you would normally to truly sanitize your dishes. They can protect your cuffs and sleeves from water splashes and over the long term, prevent damage to the material from exposure to soap and cleaning chemicals.
If your rubber gloves fit well and are well-made, they will stay comfortable and useful for months. Rubber gloves also come in handy for painting, cleaning, gardening, and other dirty jobs, though most pros recommend you use a different pair for washing dishes than you do for other projects.
But there are subpar dishwashing gloves, too. If the material’s too bulky or stiff, you won’t get the dexterity you need to clean delicate items like glassware or getting into the nooks and crannies your newest cooking gadget. If the gloves aren’t lined, it can get sort of sweaty in there and become hard to take the gloves on and off. If the cuffs of the gloves are too short, water will splash above the edges and get into the gloves, which just sucks. A flimsy material will quickly wear through or rip at the tiniest jag, making the gloves totally useless.
Over the past year I’ve tried quite a few brands firsthand, and for this story, I tested the top-rated styles from various companies to see which rubber gloves held up, and which barely helped the dishwashing job.
Here are the best rubber gloves you can buy:
Best overall: Casabella Waterblock Gloves
Best budget latex gloves: Playtex Living Premium Protection gloves
Best latex-free gloves: Mr. Clean Bliss Gloves
Best cult-favorite rubber gloves: Mamison Quality Kitchen Rubber Gloves
Best heavy-duty gloves: Spontex Bluette Gloves
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.The best rubber gloves overall
Why you’ll love them: Thick, long, and lined, the Casabella Premium Waterblock Gloves provide an unbeatable combination of comfort, protection, and grip.
I’ll admit: Casabella’s Waterblock Gloves were my “gateway” gloves, and they’re pretty darn great. Our guides editor Malarie Gokey has also been using these gloves to wash dishes every day for the past year.
Available in three sizes and in raspberry pink or light blue, these gloves have a slim, tailored fit, with grips along the fingers and palms to help with slippage under soapy water. When you put them on, they feel medium-thick. You can still maneuver, but feel like you have a layer of protection.
The gloves are lined with soft flocked cotton, which make them easy to pull on and off, and which helps absorb sweat so your hands aren’t sticky or stinky after you use them. Note that these are made of natural latex, which is a problem for people with latex allergies.
But the best this about these gloves is the cuff. The Waterblock gloves are longer than the typical rubber glove, 14 inches from tip of the finger to the end of the cuff. At the end of the cuff is what looks like a ruffle, but in fact, you’re supposed to flip the ruffle down, so it blocks any splashback from getting past the edge and inside the glove — hence, the “waterblock” feature. While other gloves have this feature, a crease in the sturdy material keeps the blocker in place, making it extra-useful.
While Casabella’s gloves may be a few dollars more than the competition, they consistently get high marks in test kitchens at food brands like Bon Appetit. These dishwashing gloves were the top pick in head-to-head tests in the kitchens at Cook’s Illustrated, where they found that the thick, 100% natural latex gloves kept hands up to 25 degrees cooler when submerged in scalding water and that the material did not lose its grip even after cleaning soapy dishes.
Pros: Strong, durable, heat resistant, long cuff, splash guard, soft inside
Cons: On the pricier side, natural latex
The best budget latex gloves
Why you’ll love them: The Playtex Living Premium Protection gloves are long and lined with a foldover cuff to keep water out.
At about half the price of our first-pick gloves, the Playtex Living Premium Protection gloves offer many of the same benefits. They are also 14 inches long, with a fold-over cuff at the end to prevent water from getting inside the gloves.
These gloves are made of a latex/neoprene/nitrile blend. While the sleeve of the glove is not too tight, the hand and fingers fit well. In fact, the packaging boasts that they were developed to follow the natural curve of a woman’s hand, which explains why they were so comfortable. The exterior feels a little rubbery compared to other brands, which was not my favorite, but that friction did help with grip. Inside, they’re soft and not rubbery at all.
These gloves have received the Good Housekeeping Seal in product testing and also claim to be America’s number one glove brand based on sales volume. While I didn’t like them as well as the Casabella gloves, they did the job well and I had few complaints.
In testing from Cook’s Illustrated, these gloves protected hands from scalding temperatures almost as well as Casabella’s Waterblock Gloves, and were among the reviewers’ top picks. But the testing team found that the gloves slipped down their arms because they were less form-fitting and that the cuffs had a tendency to come undone, allowing water in.
Pros: Grip well, long cuff, comfortable fit, splash guard
Cons: Made with latex, not as soft inside, cuff slips, rubbery texture
The best latex-free gloves
Why you’ll love them: Latex-free and super-soft inside, the Mr. Clean Bliss Gloves feel upscale and luxurious.
The best thing about the Mr. Clean Bliss gloves, besides looking almost-Instagrammable inside your kitchen, is the super-soft interior. The box calls the lining “pillow-soft,” and I tend to agree. The interior of these gloves is markedly softer than any of the competition, and it’s comparable to putting on snuggly winter gloves but not as toasty.
On the outside, these gloves have textured fingers and palms to help with your grip, though Cook’s Illustrated found that they got slippery when exposed to grease.
These gloves are available only in white but come in four sizes, while many other pairs only came in three sizes. The fit was snug, but not tight, and the medium-thick material was easy to maneuver. They also have a sweet flower embossing along the cuff that, compared to the others, gave them an upscale feel that made washing the dishes feel like less of a chore.
Does it come as a surprise that the favorite rubber gloves of housekeeping brand Real Simple only come in white instead of some bright color? Mr. Clean’s latex-free gloves also got decent marks from Cook’s Illustrated, but the shorter glove length (12 inches, compared to 14 for the two above) and lack of a foldover cuff made it easier for water to get into the gloves, which knocked them down a few spots in their test.
Pros: Four sizes, latex-free, soft lining
Cons: Only in white, shorter overall, no splash back protection
SEE ALSO: The best scrubbing brush you can buy
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