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A Complete Guide to Nitrile Gloves

what are nitrile gloves

What are nitrile gloves and why should we use them? Nitrile Gloves are alternatives to latex gloves and vinyl gloves. Nitrile disposable gloves offer many benefits over latex or vinyl, with less skin irritation and a lower risk of allergic reactions. 

While nitrile gloves cannot be used with all substances (due to the potential for degradation), they can successfully handle many tasks, from using toxic chemicals in laboratories to preparing dishes in a restaurant kitchen.

This nitrile gloves guide will help you decide if it's time to say goodbye to latex and vinyl gloves. 

What are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile disposable gloves are a synthetic type of glove. The nitrile rubber is resistant to common chemicals found in the lab including acids, bases, and solvents. Nitrile is also more puncture-resistant than latex and offers good tactile sensitivity.

Disposable nitrile gloves are significantly more durable and chemically resistant. They became the leading alternative to latex in the 1990's.

What are Nitrile Gloves Made Of?

Nitrile disposable gloves are made from synthetic rubber. The "nitrile" in the name refers to the chemical compound "butyronitrile" that is used in the production of these types of gloves.

What is Nitrile Used For?

Nitrile (nitriloin) is a synthetic compound derived from nitrate, and is the third most important industrial polymer (behind polyethylene and styrene). NBR (nitrile butadiene rubber) is used in a wide range of materials, from aerospace, shoes, molded products, glues, sealants, sponges, foam, and, of course, gloves.

How Are Nitrile Gloves Made?

The production process involves mixing materials together, injecting them into a mold, and allowing them to cure. The nitrile glove materials are then extruded through a spinneret which forms long strands that are later cut and formed into gloves.

What are Nitrile Gloves Used For?

Nitrile gloves are commonly used in chemistry labs and other industrial environments. They are good for the handling of corrosive acids, bases, and many organic solvents. They are also popular for use in general food preparation because they resist odors and stains.

Why Use Nitrile Gloves?

Chemistry labs, food factories, and other industrial environments use nitrile gloves because they offer greater chemical resistance than natural latex rubber.

When to Use Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are used in chemistry labs and other industrial situations where chemical hazards are present. They are also good for use in food processing protecting your hands from odors and stains. Chemistry labs, with their dry chemicals and corrosive acids, use nitrile gloves.

Who Uses Nitrile Gloves?

Healthcare providers, medical practitioners, doctors, surgeons, dentists, hairdressers, automobile mechanics, cafeteria workers, tattoo artists, lab techs, chemists, and scientists prefer using nitrile gloves.

What Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against?

The standard nitrile glove is an industrial protective glove for protection against chemicals, cuts, and abrasions. It does not protect against electric shock or heat. It is also an effective medical glove for protection against infections and bloodborne pathogens.

What Are the Benefits of Nitrile Gloves?

One major benefit is they offer greater puncture resistance and chemical resistance than latex gloves. They are available in both black and blue colors to help you identify punctures easier. Manufacturing has improved greatly offering a better level of touch sensitivity. This type of PPE is disposable and affordable for the amount of high level of protection offered.

Here are some benefits of nitrile gloves:

  • Stronger than latex with more puncture resistance
  • Latex-free, protein-free, and allergy-free
  • High level of sensitivity
  • Offers a great fit molding to the hand
  • Mimics the fit and feel of latex gloves
  • Great for use in high-risk situations where excellent barrier protection is needed around infectious materials and hazardous chemicals
  • Strong chemical protection and resistance
  • Highly resistant to oils, fats, and petroleum-based products
  • Becoming more comfortable with improved dexterity
  • Long lasting durability and flexible
  • Lightweight and breathable material, easy to use
  • Available in powdered and powder-free
  • Can be worn for longer periods of time
  • Affordable option for higher level of protection
  • Long shelf life

How to Properly Use Nitrile Gloves

The best way to use nitrile gloves is to roll them down over the fingers, shape them around the bottom of the hand, and roll the excess material up to form a cuff. This will provide a fit that protects both hands. Be sure to practice proper glove removal for personal and environmental safety.

Where to Use Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are a popular choice in food processing, food service industries, automobile repair, janitorial cleaning, chemistry labs, and other industrial environments where chemical hazards are present. These medical gloves can be used in hospitals, medical clinics, dental offices, tattoo parlors, hair salons, medical spas, and nail salons.

Are All Nitrile Gloves Medical Grade?

The term "medical grade" is sometimes used when talking about nitrile gloves. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts a series of checks on gloves before they can be sold to hospitals and medical facilities to ensure their longevity.

Nitrile gloves used in the food processing industry are generally not medical grade. Only surgical gloves and exam gloves are classed as medical grade which is referring to the purity of materials used.

What is the Difference Between Nitrile Gloves and Latex Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are synthetic, while latex is derived from natural rubber. Nitrile medical gloves are more puncture resistant than natural rubber (and a bit thicker). They are also latex-free with far fewer allergic reactions that are caused by the proteins in latex products.

Can I Handle Food With Nitrile?

Yes, they are great for use in food grade required applications and safe for food processing and food packaging.

Are Nitrile Gloves Food Safe?

Nitrile gloves are food safe and approved for use in the food and beverage industry because they do not contain protein. This means they can be used safely by people who are allergic to latex.

What About My Allergies?

Nitrile gloves do not contain the protein found in latex gloves. Therefore, they can be used by people who suffer from latex allergies. While nitrile gloves are latex-free, they do contain accelerator chemicals that cause a very low allergic reaction in less that 1% of people.

Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free?

Nitrile is chemically different from latex. It contains no protein, so it is latex-free. Even if you are not allergic to latex, it may still be a good idea to switch to nitrile. This will protect others who might suffer from latex allergies.

Can You Be Allergic to Nitrile Powdered Gloves?

The powder inside nitrile powdered gloves is cornstarch. If you notice your hands getting dry, this is likely caused by the corn starch. Many people mistake dry hands as a developed allergy.

Can You Reuse Disposable Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile medical gloves cannot be reused according to the FDA. All gloves will develop pinholes over time with use. It is highly recommended to discard gloves after every use. Change your gloves immediately if you notice a rip or tear. It is not advisable to wash or sanitize medical gloves either.

In summary, what are nitrile gloves? A high level type of hand protection that is latex-free and resistant to many chemicals and infectious bodily fluids. If you work in high-risk situations involving hazardous materials or transmissible illnesses, these gloves are right for you.

By the way, we carry a full supply of nitrile gloves at competitive prices. Contact us if you need additional help.