3 Differences Between Nitrile Gloves & Latex Gloves

Should you choose nitrile or latex gloves?

  1. Nitrile is more puncture resistant than latex
  2. Nitrile outlasts latex in medical, food, and cleanroom environments
  3. 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.

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.


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. 

Latex

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. 

Nitrile

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. 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.Storage conditions may increase shelf life. Governments around the world stockpile PPE; kept in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area

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