Shelf Life Guidelines
While an exact shelf life time period is dependent on what specific material the gloves are made of and storage facilities, a general rule of thumb is three years for disposable natural latex gloves and up to five years for disposable nitrile gloves.
While most manufacturers won’t guarantee it, many disposable nitrile gloves have been known to last up to 10 years in storage without any obvious or significant damage. Keep in mind, however, that these shelf lives do not apply to gloves that are removed from the original packaging or have been exposed to moisture.
If you pull some gloves off the shelf and they look relatively “normal”, meaning, they can be stretched without visible surface cracks and can be donned without ripping or tearing, then they are probably still safe to use and will provide the appropriate level of protection that you need. Gloves that are unsafe to use will be pretty obvious. They will have become quite brittle, tearing very easily and will have a hardened exterior that cracks easily when stretched.
There are many tips to consider upholding when it comes to storing your disposable latex and nitrile gloves, which will help maximize the shelf life of your gloves.
- DO NOT store gloves in an area where they are exposed to ultraviolet light or ozone for extended periods of time.
- DO NOT store gloves in areas where the temperature is greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
- DO NOT break the seal on glove packaging unless you’re ready to use those gloves. If left opened for a long period of time, those gloves risk becoming damaged and rendered unusable or unsterile.
- DO store your disposable nitrile and latex gloves in a space that is cool and dark.
- DO store your gloves in an area where they are not exposed to ozone and UV light. This includes lights like florescent bulbs and some electrical equipment that can generate ozone. *Natural latex gloves are particularly sensitive to these types of lights and can be damaged easily from exposure.
- DO store your gloves far away from heat sources like radiators or steam pipes.