As we’ve seen in many of our other blogs, nitrile gloves are quickly rising to the top of the popularity list when it comes to disposable gloves. There are so many reasons for their surge in use. Nitrile gloves possess many of the same benefits that natural latex gloves have, including flexibility, dexterity, and a snug fit. But, they eliminate the potential for allergic reactions because nitrile is a synthetic rubber, without the properties in latex that cause allergies. These gloves are so widely versatile, across nearly any application or industry. They have excellent puncture resistance, and are tough enough to resist chemicals and withstand grease and oils, yet they are fitted well enough to give you the tactile sensitivity needed for performing delicate procedures.
First Breakdown: Industrial vs. Exam
When choosing the best nitrile glove for your application, the first step is to look at the two main categories of nitrile gloves: industrial grade or medical grade. The main determining factor on which grade of nitrile glove to use depends on how the gloves will be used. Below, the two grades of nitrile gloves will be explained:
Industrial Grade: This category of nitrile glove is best suited for applications that necessitate the handling of harsh chemicals and solvents. Typical industries where this grade of nitrile glove would be used include automotive, janitorial, and any other industry that involves chemical safety, and even food service. The most important features of this category are the glove’s chemical resistance and high levels of puncture resistance.
Medical Grade: Exam, or medical grade gloves, are typically suited for use where there is a risk of coming in contact with blood born pathogens or environmental contaminants. This category of nitrile glove is commonly found in hospitals, medical and dental offices, and laboratories. Medical grade gloves are rigorously tested and have to meet specific guidelines from the FDA so that they ensure that these gloves will provide the strength, durability and barrier for these applications. Nitrile gloves are also particularly popular in medical and dental offices because they eliminate the potential for any allergies.
What about Glove Size and Color?
Many people underestimate the importance of a well fitting glove. Manufacturer sizing of disposable gloves can differ, so it is highly recommended to try samples if possible so you can determine what size glove you need. The correct size glove will enhance your comfort and tactile sensitivity in every application.
One of the most fun things about disposable nitrile gloves is that they come in a rainbow of color. These colors are not just a fashion statement, however. There a several practical tips for utilizing colored nitrile gloves to promote safety and efficiency in your workplace. By color coding your nitrile gloves, you can assist in differentiating glove sizes and help prevent cross contamination. Blue nitrile gloves are the standard color, and are helpful in differentiating between nitrile and latex gloves in a medical application. Black nitrile gloves are commonly used in automotive applications, or other work environments where oil and grime is present. The black gloves hide this messiness. Brighter color nitrile gloves like orange, green, or pink can be helpful in several situations. They help increase safety compliance, because the gloves are easily seen, so you know when employees are wearing them. If you need extra protection, you could wear a double layer of nitrile gloves, with the bright color underneath. This way, if a cut or puncture occurs, the bright color becomes visible and you are alerted to a problem.
Other Glove Features to Consider
Glove Thickness: Most disposable nitrile gloves come in different thicknesses, or gauges, ranging from four to eight mil thick. The vast majority of heavy duty industrial grade nitrile gloves will be 6 - 8 mils thick. Due to the harsh environments that generally utilize industrial grade disposable gloves, the extra thickness will provide a thicker barrier of protection. Thicker gloves will provide a longer permeation timeframe when working with chemicals as well as more tear resistance than thinner light duty nitrile. Basically, the lower the gauge the higher level of dexterity and flexibility you will find, and vice versa.
Texture and Finish: If you are in need of enhanced grip on your nitrile glove, look for a nitrile glove that has a textured finish on the palm and fingers. Typically a diamond pattern, this texture will increase grip in both wet and dry conditions. Most nitrile gloves are finished with a chlorinated coating which helps to reduce stickiness and makes it easier to put on and pull off your gloves.
Powdered vs. Powder Free: These are two common options when it comes to nitrile gloves. Powder free gloves are where the chlorinated or polymer finish comes in. This finish makes it easy to don and doff your gloves without the messiness of powder. The powdered option is helpful because it absorbs any extra moisture, which aids in putting on gloves, however it can leave behind some residue.
When choosing your next disposable nitrile gloves, be sure to take all of these factors into consideration, so that you can perform to the best of your ability. Check out our inventory of nitrile gloves here.