Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies

Sterile vs. Non-Sterile Disposable Gloves

Nitrile Gloves

Summary – The main difference between sterile and non-sterile gloves is that sterile gloves are free of microorganisms and germs. Sterile gloves prevent infections and protect healthcare workers in high-risk settings.

Sterile cleanroom gloves are also standard in sensitive critical environments common in pharmaceutical and biotech settings.

What is the difference between sterile and non-sterile gloves?

A sterile glove must meet strict criteria set by the FDA to sufficiently protect healthcare workers in high-risk settings. Manufacturers must sterilize “sterile” gloves and then send them to the FDA for testing to ensure quality guidelines are met.

Sterile gloves are most often used in surgical settings, and in many cases, gloves will be labeled as “sterile surgical gloves” to differentiate them from standard exam gloves.¹

Sterile gloves must also have more rigid barrier protection free from micro-holes that can allow infectious organisms to penetrate the barrier.  

The standard used to determine the quality of a glove is AQL: accepted quality level. The AQL is an internationally recognized standard for measuring a glove’s quality. For example, a standard nitrile glove may have an AQL of 1.5, which means approximately 1.5% of gloves contain defects.

Sterile surgical gloves must adhere to higher standards. Generally, a sterile glove has an AQL of 0.65 or lower, meaning less than 0.65% of gloves have a defect.²

Many companies try to convince buyers that a higher AQL score is better, but this is false and fraudulent sales behavior. If you encounter such a company, reporting them to a regulatory authority would be wise.

Where can I buy sterile gloves?

Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies is your source for wholesale disposable gloves, cleanroom, and medical supplies. Sterile gloves must meet the highest standards for cleanliness, safety, and durability.

If you’re unsure what sterile gloves you need, feel free to contact us using the form below.

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