Hygiene on pasture

Now I am not generally paranoid about hygiene, but it does make me feel queasy to see the absolutely filthy hands that some detectorists, especially the ones with black crescents under their fingernails, use to handle their lunch.

Over the summer I’ve been experimenting with vinyl disposables gloves – not because I wanted to keep my hands warm but because most of my digging is on pasture where the soil is full of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, worms, flukes, mites and other unpleasant things from livestock. E.coli, for example, usually gets into the food chain during the slaughter process where the carcase is contaminated by the gut contents of cattle, but the bacteria is present in the soil of pasture where cattle are grazed.

Using a fresh pair of gloves in the morning, discarding them at lunchtime so I can eat with clean hands, and using another pair in the afternoon has been fairly successful. The downsides have been two:

  • In warm weather your hands can get rather damp and tend to be slightly wrinkly when you take the gloves off, rather as though you’d been in the bath; and
  • The vinyl ones don’t fit snugly so entering information about finds in the field has been frustrating at times.

Most recently I’ve been trying latex disposables as they fit much more closely so cleaning finds and entering finds information into the phone app has been much easier. Both types have been robust in use, though my fingers have pushed through the ends of the vinyl ones once or twice, and both types are waterproof and windproof and can be worn under other gloves.

Obviously the latex gloves aren’t an option for those with an allergy to latex, but the vinyl and other latex substitutes do work well enough, and all can be bought cheaply online in boxes of 100.