I used to work for someone who said I shouldn't buy gloves, I should grow them. He meant that I should work with my hands until they were calloused enough to not get sore.
That might work for someone who is working in a controlled environment, but working in public places you can encounter all kinds of things you don't expect. Plus, who really enjoys rough, calloused, dirt-stained hands?
But that's far from the only reason to wear gloves. Here are some other instances to take into consideration:
If you've worked outside long — you know that soil dries your skin out and causes cracking — especially around your fingernails. Many people have skin that absorbs the dirt and gets so stained you can't get them clean for days.
One of the things you never know about your soil is who or what was there before. And what did they leave behind? Hypodermic needles, pieces of glass, nails, old tools, cans, and other things that are even worse. I've found them all and was glad to be wearing my gloves when I did. Any kind of wildlife or rodents — even dogs and cats — can carry obscure worms and other parasites in their feces that you can gather under your nails and ingest by accident. Those worms or even tape worm segments can stay in your soil, invisible to your eyes. They can be transferred to you and become active if they are ingested accidentally.
I feel the soil at my house is healthy, but it's still soil. Soil can have living things that you wouldn't want to get into a cut or scrape. Gloves can help keep cuts or openings (even in the form of a rash or eczema) free from infection.
If you live in fire ant country — gloves are your first line of defense against being stung unexpectedly by a fire ant that manages to cross your hands.
When working with plants that attract bees and wasps, it's good to have gloves on for the unexpected encounter with one. Most of these creatures are not very aggressive — but if you touch them by accident with your bare skin you can get stung.
It's easy to encounter Poison Ivy roots in the soil when you're digging. You might not see them, but it can still cause the same reaction as getting mixed up with the leaves of Poison Ivy.
When cutting Miscanthus (a variety of ornamental grass that is very sharp) and pruning bushes with thorns, gloves prevent punctures and cuts.
The leaves and pollen of some plants (like viburnum) can cause a rash on most skins. Gloves really help.
And obviously, if you're working with hand tools, etc. gloves will protect your hands from blisters, bangs, and bumps.
How To Choose the Right Gloves
The right gloves make all the difference. Let us help you find the best work gloves for landscaping, yard work, tree work, thorns, and more. Our comprehensive guide will clear up any confusion, and get you back on the job with the right gear, quickly.