White Glove Test

White gloves being used to test the thoroughness of a cleaning job. If you run your finger across the mantelpiece, shelf, or back of a chair and if it comes back clean, you know a good job was done. Truth in Television (the basic motion, with or without the gloves).


  • On Hayate the Combat Butler's first day, he does this so well (to a window ledge, but same principle) that the maid says (at least in the sub) "Very thorough in the smallest places."

Film - Live Action

  • Discworld: Nanny Ogg uses this test after her daughters-in-law clean her house.
  • In Carole Nelson Douglas' Spider Dance, Sherlock Holmes is asked to investigate a matter in the home of William Kissam Vanderbilt. Holmes comments on the cleanliness of the house (he's actually chagrined that so much evidence is lost), and it is noted that Mrs. Vanderbilt tests the cleaning staff's efforts this way and fires those who fail.
  • Roald Dahl wrote about a prefect at his Boarding School of Horrors who would do this after having his fags clean his study.

Live-Action TV
  • Navy SEALs: BUDS Class 234, a documentary on basic training for U.S. Navy SEALS. In one episode the instructors perform an inspection of the candidates' rooms, including a white glove test on the room's furnishings to see if they're clean.
  • In Upstairs Downstairs, Rose the head house and parlour maid does this to see if the new girl Sarah has done passably or not.
  • Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced "bouquet") from Keeping Up Appearances does this on occasion. She's rarely impressed.
  • In an episode of Hannah Montana, Jackson, disguised as a health inspector in an attempt to get his Mamaw to quit as school lunchlady, tries this. It fails spectaculary (He even despairs "They're cleaner then when I put them on!"
  • In Black Books, when Manny brings in a professional cleaner to clean the shop, he puts on a pair of white gloves and wipes a finger through the air. The finger of the glove turns black.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Ensigns of Command." The Sheliak are hailing the Enterprise, but Picard makes them wait by going over to the dedication plaque and performing the White Glove Test gesture. This confuses Worf but amuses Riker. Remember that the Enterprise is a contained environment and dust is unlikely to ever settle on the dedication plaque unless things have gone horribly wrong.

Video Games

  • An Urban Legend from the army about an officer who liked to do this. Whenever he found dust (and he always did), he would blow it into the face of the poor grunt and ask "Can you still see me?" One day, one of them retaliated by slapping both his hands on the officer's ears and ask back "Can you still hear me?"