Should you choose nitrile or latex gloves?
- Nitrile is more puncture resistant than latex
- Nitrile outlasts latex in medical, food, and cleanroom environments
- Latex is a natural material, where-as nitrile and vinyl are synthetic latex-alternatives.
Until recently, latex was the go-to material for gloves across many different applications. Now, we have a couple of different choices when it comes to disposable gloves. Latex gloves are still commonly used in some medical applications. However, nitrile gloves are becoming an increasingly popular choice. Here, we’ll discuss the differences in features between these two types of disposable glove materials:
What are latex gloves made from?
Did you know? Latex is made of organic tree sap making it a 100% natural material. Nitrile, Vinyl, Chloroprene were all’ attempts to copy or improve on latex from glove manufacturers such as Duraskin.
Because latex is natural and comes from a tree, some people are allergic to it. But, allergies are generally mild and can be prevented easily; choose different glove materials! And, research showed that simply using powder free gloves can mitigate allergies.1
Regardless, Check your box to see if you have latex gloves because the FDA regulates medical suppliers requiring them to label products that contain latex.2
What are nitrile gloves made of?
Nitrile gloves are made of inorganic synthetic materials derived from petroleum. Nitrile is the obvious choice for many; tattoo artists love black gloves, hobbyists and surgeons like its precision. Because of covid, many tattoo artists even donated their nitrile gloves to essential workers and medical facilities. Generally, hospitals don’t use anything except medical grade nitrile, but covid caused shortages across the United States. Nurses reported having to disinfect their gloves with Purell because there was not an adequate PPE supply.
Are Latex Gloves Better than Nitrile?
Nitrile gloves provide more puncture resistance than latex and outperforms in demanding settings. 1
Latex balances comfort and protection. It is the most popular natural glove material. However, google search traffic shows that nitrile remains more popular than latex.
A study found that natural latex gloves have excellent barrier protection. The introduction of powder-free latex led to a reduction in allergic reactions among healthcare workers. 2
Nitrile is more puncture resistant and protects from a variety of chemicals. Surgeons, lab technicians, and tattoo artists are professions that appreciate nitrile’s dexterous material.
Academic labs and research facilities benefit from nitrile’s broad resistance. Always double check your chemical with the glove manufacturer’s material’s compatibility.
What are disposable gloves used for?
Disposable gloves are single-use personal protective equipment. Gloves are abundant in the healthcare, food service industry. Even prior to Covid-19, the majority of healthcare workers felt uncomfortable working without PPE such as latex or nitrile gloves. And rightly so, after Ignaz Semmelweis discovered bacteria, doctors found that washing hands in between patient visits reduced the spread of disease.3 The modern solution to Semmelweis’ discovery is the use of PPE; nitrile gloves play a crucial role in infection control.
Since 1847, the principles haven’t changed. Gloves need to be elastic while maintaining puncture resistant, and maintain structure throughout use. If a glove material easily tore, it would not be any use in medical settings. For most applications, there is a latex or nitrile glove suitable. But, nitrile gloves are more durable. Regarded as the highest quality replacement for latex, nitrile provides outstanding resistance against many common chemicals.
The typical shelf life of gloves is 5 years from date of manufacture. However, Covid-19 may have proved that gloves retain function beyond 5 years from manufacturing.4 Storage conditions may increase shelf life. Governments around the world stockpile PPE; kept in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area
Designed for short-term use, vinyl gloves offer a cost-effective alternative to latex while providing an effective temporary barrier against biological contaminants. Ideal for food preparation, light duty cleaning, and general maintenance. Like latex and nitrile, vinyl gloves are available in powdered and powder-free versions.
General purpose vinyl gloves are made from materials which meet requirements for food contact and handling. Medical exam vinyl gloves comply with FDA regulations.
Offering the best value, polyethylene gloves serve a low cost barrier between hands and material. Polyethylene gloves dominate the food service industry because of their low-cost and ease of donning; gloves are ambidextrous with an embossed grip.
Polyethylene glove allergies are rare, making them ideal for the broad applications. Since it is not a natural material, most allergies can be blamed on the petroleum. But, food service gloves come in a variety of material, not just polyethylene or vinyl.
As we wrote before, chloroprene and neoprene are the same material. People like chloroprene for its nitrile-like qualities. Some say that it combines that positive features of latex and nitrile to make the ultimate glove. Neoprene is a synthetic material, like nitrile, so it won’t inflame allergies and has a high degree of puncture resistance.
As standard practice, the CDC does not recommend disinfection of disposable medical gloves. However, some situations demand that gloves are reused.5
Alcohol based hand sanitizers can be used when the gloves are not visibly soiled. The CDC confirmed that multiple disposable gloves, latex and nitrile, maintained their integrity for up to 6 applications.6
Where can you buy nitrile gloves?
Regardless of your needs, Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies is here for you. Our product experts can match a glove to any application. We have over 8000+ customer reviews! Fast Shipping from the USA.
Our team is dedicated to giving you quality products, a high level of customer service and values you won’t find elsewhere.
Justin Hines is an author at Harmony Supply Blog. With over a decade of experience working with cleanrooms, controlled environments, and industrial manufacturers, Justin Hines provides content to Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies.