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CleanFingers is a new product that can help decrease the transmittal of disease by food service workers. CleanFingers is a strip which could be made of a translucent plastic or polyvinyl with pockets at each end that cover only two or three fingers, i.e., the thumb, index, and, if needed, the middle finger. Typical plastic gloves take two hands to put on the gloves, which take extra time, and removing the gloves also requires the use of both hands. This extra effort is inconvenient when the food handler is in a hurry, which results in the continued use of soiled gloves or the gloves not being used at all. The primary difference between CleanFingers and the conventional plastic service gloves is that “CleanFingers” are easier to put on by using only the two or three fingers to be covered and can be just as quickly and easily removed. The convenience of using CleanFingers will encourage service providers to use them and change them often especially when they are in a hurry. For good gripping, CleanFingers may have “dimples and pimples” embossed on each strip allowing the user's fingers and thumbs some traction while they are inside the pockets as well as providing a grip on the plate or glass.

Ayala, Jorge L. (Oak Park, IL, US)
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Primary Examiner:
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
I claim:

1. CleanFingers (invention) is made up of a rectangular stripe made of flexible material which has an opening in middle to allow selected fingers and thumb (of either hand) to slip through into pockets at each end.

2. CleanFingers (invention) may have “dimples and pimples” embossed on each strip allowing the user's fingers and thumbs some traction while they are inside the pockets

3. CleanFingers (invention) is to be used on selected fingers of the users' hands for the purpose of maintaining hygiene. a. CleanFingers (invention) allows a hand to easily insert the thumb into one pocket and other fingers to enter the other pocket.

4. CleanFingers (invention) is ambidexterity which simplifies usable by either hand.


This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/812,800, Filed Jun. 12, 2006 by the present inventor.


Not Applicable


Not Applicable


This invention relates specifically to providing and maintaining hand hygiene while serving the private and public sector of our society using disposable finger protectors.


At the present the hygiene and cleanliness among service workers is constantly being challenged by the management of health clinics, hospitals, restaurants, and all other public places where people come into contact with food and serving items, e.g., bowls, plates, glasses, flatware, ladles, etc. And they are addressing this issue with many different approaches, one of which is distributing plastic hand gloves.

Even though there are stringent requirements for service workers' cleanliness including laws governing hand-washing and wearing hairnets, in many areas, there are still too many cases of communicable disease outbreaks that result from food service workers not properly washing their hands before commencing service or after breaks. The lack of cleanliness is not limited to commercial food service workers as there are many people who become sick after eating at home, visiting hospitals and open air festivals offering food. Hands, arms and fingers of food employees may become contaminated with fecal microorganisms after using the toilet. These organisms include salmonellae and cold viruses—coli and salmonella are just some of the nasty items found on food server's hands. There have been many articles as well as television investigative reports regarding the cross contamination of bare hands for bodily fluid such as, blood, saliva, mucus, or urine. Not only common sense, but scientific research has proven the dangers of spreading illness by hand contact with these and many others contaminates. Now we need to be aware of the establishments' ability to demonstrate food code—compliant hand washing to its workers. Without proper hand hygiene, germs and bacteria can stay on your hands and be transferred to the food plate, glasses, the itches you scratch, and almost anything else you touch. If you use a public restroom at between breaks for example, you don't know what the last person who flushed the toilet has for hygiene habits. Inadequate hand washing by service workers is an important contributing factor to food borne disease outbreaks in retail food establishments. Hands, as well as contaminated gloves, serve as vectors for transmission of disease transmission pathway transient microorganisms. Transient bacteria cause great concern to the medical and food service industry because these organisms are loosely attached to the surface of the skin and can easily contaminate sterile or food products if employees do not wash their hands adequately.

There is a “Clear and Present Danger”, to our general health in America and abroad. One only has to note the frequency of food poisoning cases being admitted at hospitals. Today we also have a new threat to add to the above since we are presently living under the tick tock clock of an impending N5r1 virus pandemic. (Bird Flu). In recent weeks the avian flu has emerged as a matter of urgent concern for poultry farmers, health officials, and government leaders in Asian countries. Cases of infected poultry have been reported in China, Vietnam, Thailand, and seven other countries, with widespread culling and bans on chicken exports in many of these. The bird flu, how humans could become infected, and why human-to-human transmission could present the entire world with a disastrous public health problem in the very near future. Transient organisms are of concern because they are readily transmitted by hands unless removed by the mechanical friction of washing with soap and water.


Plastic gloves:

  • 1. Plastic gloves offer a false sense of security, because it really only protects the user, not the person he is servicing. And at times the plastic gloves stay on for 2 to 8 hrs. with the idea of reducing food-borne illness in restaurants, pointing out that most studies involve health care but not the foodservice industry.
  • 2. Plastic Glove permeability, one must note that “if you put a clean glove on a contaminated hand, there is virtually no protection from cross-contamination.”

Using plastic gloves or removing ill workers—is a “silver bullet” solution. I noted, for example, that preventing ill employees from touching food often is not effective because their symptoms may not be evident for about two weeks after they are infected. Even though a worker will wash her/his hands as required, there still are bacteria remaining. Coupled with the remaining bacteria are the unconscious “touches” such as rubbing a nose or scratching an itch. To combat this problem, many food service companies require their workers to wear special plastic gloves that cover the entire hand even though only a couple of fingers are used in serving, which wastes the rest of the glove.

In healthcare, contaminated gloves have led to patient-to-patient spread of nosocomial infections. And considering the glove to be protective can promote poor hand washing practices and increased microbial growth on the hands. And also it is not uncommon for gloves to be worn for long periods of time without being changed and it is not unusual for food employees to put gloved hands to their mouths or noses without changing their gloves. It is my opinion that the wearing of gloves to prepare and serve food does not prevent cross-contamination since glove wearers continue to touch contaminated surfaces or raw foods, thereby inoculating the glove surfaces with microorganisms.

The use of gloves alone does not provide a sufficient barrier against transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from food or medical employees to consumers.


“CleanFingers” is a disposable utility consisting of a flexible material which may be made of a flexible material such as plastic or polyvinyl with pockets at each end. It will quickly cover a person's fingers of both hands to prevent cross-contamination and decrease the transmittal of disease or food contaminants by people serving the general public”.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler.” Albert Einstein

Exhibit Photo 1 Drawing of utility Invention showing top view “CleanFingers”.

Exhibit Photo 2 Photo of Invention, “CleanFingers” showing hand wearing item.

Exhibit Photo 3 Photo of Invention, “CleanFingers” showing finger and thumb insertion.

Exhibit Photo 3a Photo of Invention, “CleanFingers” showing spread of finger and thumb mounting.

Exhibit Photo 3b Photo of Invention, “CleanFingers” showing finger and thumb disposed from supply.

Exhibit Photo 3c Photo of Invention, “CleanFingers” showing finger and thumb fully deployed on hand.

Exhibit Photo 4 Photo of Invention, “CleanFingers” showing it holding item.


The “CleanFingers utility is made up of the following.

    • 1. A rectangular bottom strip of material comprising of polymeric films or other flexible material (Exhibit Photo 1)
    • 2. Two shorter (approximately ⅓ one third the size of the bottom strip) adjacent strips at each end of bottom strip material sheet. The two shorter strips are bound to each other (with heat-sealed seams) at the far ends and each side to form the pocket areas
    • 3. Both pockets are made of polymeric films or other flexible material. The pockets are comprised of two (heat-sealed seams) adjacent material which are independent from each other with sufficient space so as to allow relative movement of the thumb and selected fingers. (Exhibit Photo 3a)