Gloves are an important element of your gardening equipment. The image of someone gardening in movies and television, take Gardening Australia for example, always seems to include a few things, a wide-brimmed straw hat, loose clothing, and gardening gloves. The hat is an excellent idea because it helps protect the gardener from the cancer-causing rays of the sun, and the clothing protects the wearer as well, while allowing them to remain cool. Whether mowing the lawn or just working in the garden, wearing the correct protective gear is important for safety.

But why the gloves? There are excellent reasons why it’s a good idea to use gardening gloves and to use them all the time.

Why are they important? Believe it or not, consistently wearing gardening gloves can save your health and possibly your life. There are many risks involved in gardening, but many of them aren’t always visible to the naked eye.

Dirt is (lovely and) Dirty

While you don’t expect dirt to be clean, many different types of bacteria can lurk in the earth, including unopened potting soil.
The bacteria legionella loves moist conditions, and if you get legionella in your system, it can eventually kill you. These bacteria are the cause of Legionnaire’s Disease, a type of lung infection (a variety of pneumonia) that is a proven killer.

Keeping your hands covered while working with dirt, potting soil, or mulch will help prevent an infection of this type. Legionella isn’t the only infection looking for a way to get into your body from the soil, either; another threat is the bacterium that causes tetanus. While most people think that the most significant risk of a tetanus infection is through a wound caused by rusty metal, this bacterium will cause the same problem no matter how it enters your body.

A small cut, scrape, or scratch on your hand is more than enough for an infection to be transmitted from the soil to your system, meaning a trip to the doctor instead of back to tending your garden.

Block the Bites

When working on your garden, you’ll come into proximity with a wide variety of creatures, and you may not notice many of them. Everything from small insects like ladybugs and mosquitos to larger creatures like lizards will be going about their business while you work in your garden. If you leave them alone, they’ll do the same. Let’s be honest; there’s not much a small lizard can do to you even if you don’t leave them alone. Insects are an important part of your garden although often they can cause a lot of damage to your crops if not managed.

Spiders are a different story; however, while they will go their way if you don’t disturb them, you may not notice them while toiling away in your garden. If you startle a spider or cause it to feel threatened, they’ll bite you in self-defense.

Most parts of the world have spiders that are poisonous enough to cause serious health risks for humans, but if your hands are protected by a thick pair of gardening gloves, that bite (and the poison it carries) won’t reach your skin.

The Plants Strike Back

Spiders aren’t the only poisonous or potentially harmful things living in your yard; there is a surprisingly wide variety of plants that can cause reactions of varying degrees. The most well-known are poison ivy and poison oak, which produce an itching, burning rash when they contact your skin, but they’re not the only plants that can have that effect.

The problem is made worse by the fact that everyone reacts to various plants in different ways. While the sap of a plant may not have any effect on one person, it could cause a severe allergic reaction in another.


The best way to deal with this is not to let unknown plants meet your bare skin. It’s much better to wonder forever if a plant is harmful to you as you handle it with your gardening gloves than it is to deal with the reality that you’re allergic to it.

Cat Poop

Stop laughing. Cats are notorious for using any available spot as their own personal restroom, but what you may not know is that cat faeces can be harmful to humans; toxoplasmosis is a disease caused in humans by bacteria found in cat poop. If you are hoping to try to avoid having cats in your garden, click here for some tips.

Gardening gloves can keep you from coming into contact with something that you probably wouldn’t want to touch even if it weren’t harmful.

Jessica Meier

Jessica Meier

Garden fairy / mother of 2... also, I like to cook :)

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