How to Eliminate the Smell from Rubber Gloves

Pair of yellow rubber gloves, view from above.
David Murray/Getty Images

People wear rubber gloves mainly for two reasons: to protect your hands from smells, substances, and temperatures that wouldn't be healthy for them, and to keep your skin soft and wrinkle-free. Rubber gloves really do a great job achieving both those goals, but it seems to defeat the purpose if you walk around for hours afterward smelling like a tire.

Here are a few options for minimizing and eliminating the smell of rubber gloves.

1. Choose Scented, Disposable, or Non-Latex Gloves

New scented gloves are available on the market and can leave your hands smelling of something other than rubber. Brawny, for example, has a glove with a vanilla scent. Vileda's Soft and Care Disposable gloves have a light chamomile fragrance. Do give a sniff before you buy, though, as one person's lovely scent can be another person's stink.

While rubber gloves really are essential for some tasks, lightweight disposable gloves may be an option for less messy or dangerous work. If disposables are an option, you can buy them inexpensively in bulk. Grab a pair, use them, and toss them, and the smell won't be an issue!

There are a number of latex-free gloves on the market. Many are made of a product called nitrile, which is described as being tougher than latex, easier to put on, and less smelly. People with skin reactions will, of course, appreciate the latex-free properties.

2. Turn Your Gloves Inside Out

If you love your gloves but hate their smell, you may be able to manage the problem quite simply. When you're done using the gloves, turn them inside out. Then put them on again. Wash your hands thoroughly wearing the inside-out gloves, using an antibacterial soap with a scent you like. Hang the gloves to dry. This method isn't foolproof, but it can make a big difference.

3. Use a Deodorizing Powder

Baking soda is one of the cheapest, safest deodorizers around. Try sprinkling baking soda into your gloves before you put them on. Not only will the powder help the gloves and your hands smell fresh, but it will also help the gloves slip on and off your hands more easily. You can even add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your baking soda to ensure you smell terrific when you're done with your chores.

4. Apply Lotion

Apply lotion to your hands prior to washing dishes. Slip the gloves on. When you finish, your hands will be moisturized and won't smell like the gloves. This isn't a great idea for gloves lined with cotton or foam, but give it a try with your unlined gloves. It can really help reduce the smell.