How to Avoid the Germs on Your Winter Gloves

Experts share tips on how to keep your gloves as clean as possible

ByABC News
February 26, 2015, 11:57 AM

— -- In the winter, gloves hold railings, open doors, push strollers and sometimes even act as your own personal tissue.

So what happens when all those germs transfer to your winter gloves?

"Good Morning America" took to the snowy paths in New York City's Central Park to swab people's gloves - ranging from wool to leather to nylon - and test for bacteria and viruses.

We also swabbed the gloves of some of our fellow ABC employees.

The results?

Out of the 27 samples tested, 26 were positive for bacteria. While most are harmless, nine of those tested positive for bacteria including staph and MRSA, which could be harmful if they came in contact with an open wound.

One of the samples tested positive for the corona virus, which doctors say is one of the causes of the common cold.

"Every time your glove comes into contact , you're taking away some of the bacteria that was on that surface," explained Dr. Susan Whittier, director of Clinical Microbiology Service at New York Presbyterian, Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

The good news for glove-wearers is that the bacteria and viruses that attach to gloves may not last very long, just hours or minutes in some cases.

"It's not going to be alive on the glove for very long because it has nothing to help it survive," Dr. Whittier said.

According to experts, these three steps can help protect you from potential germs on your gloves.

1. Let your gloves air dry instead of keeping them balled up in your pockets.

2. Wash gloves often. You can even use a disinfectant wipe for some fabrics.

3. Be conscious not to touch your face with your gloves.