person in blue nitrile gloves holding a vial

What to Use Instead of Rubber Gloves

When Were Rubber Gloves Invented? Reading What to Use Instead of Rubber Gloves 6 minutes Next How Long Do Rubber Gloves Last

Working in environments where you could be exposed to dangerous materials, it is imperative that you wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. Gloves are an essential safety precaution for anyone who works with hazardous materials. From welders to those using dangerous chemicals like acids and solvents, gloves help protect the hands from injuries caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals.

While latex rubber gloves are definitely an option, they aren't right for everyone due to their common allergic reaction.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that between 8 to 17 percent of health care workers and others who use latex gloves regularly are allergic to latex. People who are exposed to latex through their occupation or through contact with others who have developed an allergy to latex are at greater risk of developing a similar allergy.

Let's have a look at other glove types that can be alternative gloves for latex rubber.

Nitrile Gloves

One of the most common alternatives to latex rubber gloves is nitrile. Nitrile gloves, made of synthetic material and available in a variety of sizes, are popular for use by medical professionals because they do not cause allergic reactions like latex does.

The Nitrile Material

Nitrile is a synthetic material made of acrylonitrile, butadiene and carboxylic acid monomers. Nitrile gloves, which do not contain protein, are replacing latex gloves because they do not cause latex allergies and are safe for people with Type I sensitization.

Nitrile gloves provide superior protection against a range of hazards and are more durable than natural latex gloves, making them a more effective choice for a variety of applications.

Acrylonitrile monomer is used to make nitrile gloves. Its ability to resist chemicals and its resistance to heat makes it an ideal choice for using with mineral oils, vegetable oils, grease, gasoline, diesel fuel and many acids.

Nitrile gloves offer several advantages over other types of gloves, including better overall protection and puncture resistance. They are also more elastic and comfortable to wear than latex or vinyl.

Nitrile gloves are made of butadiene, which makes them flexible and allows for excellent tactile sensitivity. A nitrile disposable glove's elasticity and ability to conform to a hand when warmed by body heat make it an ideal choice for tasks requiring dexterity.

person putting on a blue disposable gloves person taking off a pair of blue disposable gloves

Advantages of Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile disposable gloves are often used in food processing, medical facilities and other industries that involve hand protection. They offer a high level of puncture resistance, making them a safe and effective alternative to latex gloves.

Nitrile is used in many medical-grade gloves. Its hyper-elasticity allows it to withstand high levels of force without being punctured.

They have a high level of resistance to the penetration of foreign substances. These gloves protect your hands from danger during circumstances that may cause infection.

Neoprene Gloves

The synthetic rubber known as neoprene has better resistance to degradation than natural ones, which means that these types of gloves will last longer as alternatives. The neoprene glove is useful in a variety of industries, including industrial chemical processing, printing and publishing, oil refineries, automotive paint shops, agricultural and environmental clean-up.

The Neoprene Material

Neoprene is a synthetic material made from chloroprene, a polymer created through a process called free radical polymerization. In this process, chemicals are added to the chloroprene in order to make it flexible and resistant to chemicals.

Because they are made with synthetic material, neoprene gloves can be used to protect wearers from harmful environmental factors such as oils and flames, as well as heat and abrasion. The gloves can also protect against hydraulic fluids and alcohols, such as gasoline and alkalis. They are not effective against organic acids, however.

a right hand wearing blue disposable glove

Advantage of Neoprene Gloves

Neoprene gloves are excellent for cold conditions and provide a comfortable fit. The most beneficial features of these gloves are their resistance to impact and weather and the ability to provide excellent finger mobility.

Neoprene gloves are used for many different tasks. They are suitable for outdoor use and resist degradation by sunlight, weather, oxidation, ozone, aging, freons, and mild acids. Moreover, these neoprene gloves are highly flexible and durable. Even if you stretch a neoprene glove out of shape, it will easily spring back to their original size.

Though neoprene gloves are a useful alternative in certain situations, they have limitations. Neoprene gloves are more durable in outdoor conditions and are resistant to the effects of weathering. The right glove type should be chosen for the job at hand and the environment in which you need protection.

Butyl Gloves

For alternatives to disposable gloves in a chemical environment, try using butyl gloves. A butyl glove protects against a variety of industrial chemicals, including those used in manufacturing. It's tough enough for the tough jobs and flexible enough for detail work.

The Butyl Material

Butyl gloves are manufactured from a synthetic rubber copolymer of isobutylene and isoprene. These gloves are resistant to a wide variety of industrial chemicals, including corrosive acids and bases; ketones; and other harsh chemicals. They provide good tactile grip while protecting the hands from gas and water vapor permeation.

Advantages of Butyl Gloves

Butyl gloves are an economical solution to many industrial applications because they are durable, resist a wide range of chemicals, and can be reused multiple times.  If you work in a chemical environment and need to protect your hands, disposable gloves may not be the best choice. Butyl gloves can be used repeatedly without crumbling or falling apart.


There are an abundance of alternatives to latex rubber gloves. However, these solutions are not right for everyone. As with any gear purchase, personal protective equipment such as gloves should focus on the job being done and the hazards faced. In order to find the right solution for your particular needs, you have to consider a number of factors relating to both your work environment and personal health history. While there's no perfect glove for every situation, hopefully this list will help direct you to the best gear for your needs.