Three types of gloves, 'Biogel', 'Regent Dispo Surgical' gloves and Ansell gammex were perforated, and contaminated with Escherichia coli or Pseudomonas aeruginosa as test organisms applied either to the hand or the glove surface. The glove surface was decontaminated with alcoholic chlorhexidine ('Hibisol'), methylated spirit, or soap and water. The experiments were performed in triplicate on three separate days. The experiments were designed to study the ability of the three disinfection methods to reduce the bacterial count of 10(6) colony forming units (cfu) ml-1 (applied to perforated gloves or hands) sufficiently to permit the re-use of such gloves for non-sterile ward procedures. The best method of disinfection was using alcoholic chlorhexidine which not only reduced glove surface carriage but also reduced transfer of bacteria to the hands through the perforation in the gloves. Soap and water was the least effective. Escherichia coli was more easily removed than P. aeruginosa. We recommend that non-sterile ward procedures may be carried out even after gloves have been perforated provided alcoholic chlorhexidine is used between each procedure to reduce cross-infection between patients.