The recommendation is that disposable gloves are stored in a cool and dry environment anywhere between 50- and 72-degrees Fahrenheit to maintain optimal glove conditions. Most manufacturers offer a glove shelf life which should be followed, however if you can’t find the manufacturer recommendation, a good rule of thumb is no longer than five years.
If large quantities of gloves are stored at high temperatures, it has been reported that they could spontaneously combust. This particular risk occurs with chlorinated latex gloves, where a chemical reaction occurs causing the latex to actually catch on fire. If you are needing to store pallets of disposable gloves, you really need to ensure that the temperature is kept cool.
When storing large quantities of disposable gloves, you should follow these precautions to help maintain safety and keep gloves in their optimal condition for use:
- Always remove shrink wrap from pallets of stacked boxes of gloves
- Restack and reconfigure boxes of gloves to help facilitate cool airflow among the boxes
- Check gloves periodically for signs of deterioration like tackiness, brittleness, or an acrid chemical smell
- Use glove stock on a first in, first out basis
You should also take care to keep natural rubber gloves, like latex, stored out of UV light. Ozone gas can penetrate the glove material and cause rapid deterioration of the gloves. Ozone gas is not just limited to sunlight but can be emitted from other things like furnaces, AC unites, fans, and other electric motorized equipment and devices. One easy way to tell if your gloves are deteriorating from ozone is if they become discolored or brittle.