The snapping sound of someone putting on latex gloves is a familiar part of going to the doctor's office. Latex gloves have a wide variety of uses, however, and are not just for doctors. Because latex gloves are cheap, disposable, sanitary and minimally affect your sense of touch, they are useful in situations where you want to protect your hands from fluids, chemicals or infection.
Latex gloves are used by any medical practitioner who may come into contact with bodily fluids. Gloves protect the practitioner from any potentially infectious fluids, blocking the transmission of chemicals, microbes and diseases like HIV. Sterile latex gloves are disposable so the doctor does not have to worry about transmitting fluids or infections from one patient to another.
Researchers working with dangerous chemicals use latex gloves to protect their skin. Other types of plastic gloves are suitable for most scientific uses, but according to the University of Bath, Great Britain, only latex gloves protect against chemicals like methanol and acetone. The EPA warns that some chemicals will penetrate latex gloves, such as the chemicals used to strip polyurethane finishes.
Just like researchers use latex gloves to keep chemicals away from their hands, you can use latex gloves to protect your hands when cleaning house. Gloves will protect your hands from heavy dish washing soap that dries out your skin and from cleaning products like bleach and ammonia.
Police officers and forensic investigators wear latex gloves to avoid corrupting evidence at a crime scene and to protect investigators from contact with potentially dangerous fluids and chemicals. According to Police Magazine, it is important to wear gloves when handling evidence to avoid destroying fingerprints left on nonporous surfaces like glass. Wearing gloves also prevents the investigator from leaving behind her own prints at the scene. Because latex gloves are disposable, the investigator can use a new pair of gloves at each crime scene.
Hold the opening of a latex glove up to your mouth and blow on it to make a balloon. Latex gloves are airtight. If you seal the balloon by tying off the bottom, you can draw on the balloon with a permanent marker. Draw on the glove after inflating it, because the surface of the glove will stretch when you inflate it.