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A Complete Guide to Nitrile Gloves

A Complete Guide to Nitrile Gloves

What are nitrile gloves and why should we use them? Nitrile Gloves are alternatives to latex gloves and vinyl gloves. Nitrile disposable gloves offer many benefits over latex or vinyl, with less skin irritation and a lower risk of allergic reactions. 

While nitrile gloves cannot be used with all substances (due to the potential for degradation), they can successfully handle many tasks, from using toxic chemicals in laboratories to preparing dishes in a restaurant kitchen.

This nitrile gloves guide will help you decide if it's time to say goodbye to latex and vinyl gloves. 

What are Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile disposable gloves are a synthetic type of glove. The nitrile rubber is resistant to common chemicals found in the lab including acids, bases, and solvents. Nitrile is also more puncture-resistant than latex and offers good tactile sensitivity.

Disposable nitrile gloves are significantly more durable and chemically resistant. They became the leading alternative to latex in the 1990's.

What are Nitrile Gloves Made Of?

Nitrile disposable gloves are made from synthetic rubber. The "nitrile" in the name refers to the chemical compound "butyronitrile" that is used in the production of these types of gloves.

What is Nitrile Used For?

Nitrile (nitriloin) is a synthetic compound derived from nitrate, and is the third most important industrial polymer (behind polyethylene and styrene). NBR (nitrile butadiene rubber) is used in a wide range of materials, from aerospace, shoes, molded products, glues, sealants, sponges, foam, and, of course, gloves.

How Are Nitrile Gloves Made?

The production process involves mixing materials together, injecting them into a mold, and allowing them to cure. The nitrile glove materials are then extruded through a spinneret which forms long strands that are later cut and formed into gloves.

What are Nitrile Gloves Used For?

Nitrile gloves are commonly used in chemistry labs and other industrial environments. They are good for the handling of corrosive acids, bases, and many organic solvents. They are also popular for use in general food preparation because they resist odors and stains.

Why Use Nitrile Gloves?

Chemistry labs, food factories, and other industrial environments use nitrile gloves because they offer greater chemical resistance than natural latex rubber.

When to Use Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are used in chemistry labs and other industrial situations where chemical hazards are present. They are also good for use in food processing protecting your hands from odors and stains. Chemistry labs, with their dry chemicals and corrosive acids, use nitrile gloves.

Who Uses Nitrile Gloves?

Healthcare providers, medical practitioners, doctors, surgeons, dentists, hairdressers, automobile mechanics, cafeteria workers, tattoo artists, lab techs, chemists, and scientists prefer using nitrile gloves.

What Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against?

The standard nitrile glove is an industrial protective glove for protection against chemicals, cuts, and abrasions. It does not protect against electric shock or heat. It is also an effective medical glove for protection against infections and bloodborne pathogens.

What Are the Benefits of Nitrile Gloves?

One major benefit is they offer greater puncture resistance and chemical resistance than latex gloves. They are available in both black and blue colors to help you identify punctures easier. Manufacturing has improved greatly offering a better level of touch sensitivity. This type of PPE is disposable and affordable for the amount of high level of protection offered.

Here are some benefits of nitrile gloves:

  • Stronger than latex with more puncture resistance
  • Latex-free, protein-free, and allergy-free
  • High level of sensitivity
  • Offers a great fit molding to the hand
  • Mimics the fit and feel of latex gloves
  • Great for use in high-risk situations where excellent barrier protection is needed around infectious materials and hazardous chemicals
  • Strong chemical protection and resistance
  • Highly resistant to oils, fats, and petroleum-based products
  • Becoming more comfortable with improved dexterity
  • Long lasting durability and flexible
  • Lightweight and breathable material, easy to use
  • Available in powdered and powder-free
  • Can be worn for longer periods of time
  • Affordable option for higher level of protection
  • Long shelf life

How to Properly Use Nitrile Gloves

The best way to use nitrile gloves is to roll them down over the fingers, shape them around the bottom of the hand, and roll the excess material up to form a cuff. This will provide a fit that protects both hands. Be sure to practice proper glove removal for personal and environmental safety.

Where to Use Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are a popular choice in food processing, food service industries, automobile repair, janitorial cleaning, chemistry labs, and other industrial environments where chemical hazards are present. These medical gloves can be used in hospitals, medical clinics, dental offices, tattoo parlors, hair salons, medical spas, and nail salons.

Are All Nitrile Gloves Medical Grade?

The term "medical grade" is sometimes used when talking about nitrile gloves. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducts a series of checks on gloves before they can be sold to hospitals and medical facilities to ensure their longevity.

Nitrile gloves used in the food processing industry are generally not medical grade. Only surgical gloves and exam gloves are classed as medical grade which is referring to the purity of materials used.

What is the Difference Between Nitrile Gloves and Latex Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are synthetic, while latex is derived from natural rubber. Nitrile medical gloves are more puncture resistant than natural rubber (and a bit thicker). They are also latex-free with far fewer allergic reactions that are caused by the proteins in latex products.

Can I Handle Food With Nitrile?

Yes, they are great for use in food grade required applications and safe for food processing and food packaging.

Are Nitrile Gloves Food Safe?

Nitrile gloves are food safe and approved for use in the food and beverage industry because they do not contain protein. This means they can be used safely by people who are allergic to latex.

What About My Allergies?

Nitrile gloves do not contain the protein found in latex gloves. Therefore, they can be used by people who suffer from latex allergies. While nitrile gloves are latex-free, they do contain accelerator chemicals that cause a very low allergic reaction in less that 1% of people.

Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free?

Nitrile is chemically different from latex. It contains no protein, so it is latex-free. Even if you are not allergic to latex, it may still be a good idea to switch to nitrile. This will protect others who might suffer from latex allergies.

Can You Be Allergic to Nitrile Powdered Gloves?

The powder inside nitrile powdered gloves is cornstarch. If you notice your hands getting dry, this is likely caused by the corn starch. Many people mistake dry hands as a developed allergy.

Can You Reuse Disposable Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile medical gloves cannot be reused according to the FDA. All gloves will develop pinholes over time with use. It is highly recommended to discard gloves after every use. Change your gloves immediately if you notice a rip or tear. It is not advisable to wash or sanitize medical gloves either.

In summary, what are nitrile gloves? A high level type of hand protection that is latex-free and resistant to many chemicals and infectious bodily fluids. If you work in high-risk situations involving hazardous materials or transmissible illnesses, these gloves are right for you.

By the way, we carry a full supply of nitrile gloves at competitive prices. Contact us if you need additional help.

Nitrile vs Latex Gloves - What's the Difference

If you need to buy new gloves, you might wonder if you should purchase nitrile or latex gloves.

Both are very popular, but it’s important to consider how they vary and which one is better.

Isn’t nitrile the same as latex?

While both nitrile and latex gloves are durable and made from rubber, nitrile doesn’t contain the same proteins that are found in latex, which is why they’re safer for people with latex allergies.

With that in mind, let’s check out the pros and cons of nitrile vs latex gloves. This will help you to find out exactly how they differ from each other and which one is best for your needs.


Latex gloves are popular because they’re strong, and this makes them a solid choice in industrial and medical fields.


  • Latex gloves fit hands like a second skin, which gives them tactile sensitivity and dexterity.
  • The above point makes them valuable for use in sensitive and precise applications, such as surgery.
  • They are usually lightly powdered, and this makes them easier to put on and take off.
  • They are very elastic, and that increases their level of strength.


  • Since latex gloves are powdered, this can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Latex in general is an allergen, which can make it dangerous to use when it comes to healthcare settings.
  • Due to their color and how they’re like a second skin, latex gloves can make it difficult for you to detect tears and punctures in them.
  • Latex gloves do not handle chemicals and solvents very well, offering minimal protection against them.



Nitrile is a synthetic rubber compound that’s often used to make nitrile gloves.


  • Nitrile gloves are extremely strong and durable, while being resistant to punctures and tears.
  • These gloves come in a variety of colors so that it makes it easier to notice if they have tears in them. Their colors can also help to conceal substances that could be on them, such as tattoo ink or blood.
  • Nitrile gloves are highly resistant to chemicals and solvents.
  • Medical-grade gloves are usually made out of nitrile because this material is resistant to fats and oils in the body.
  • Since they don’t contain any latex, nitrile gloves are safe for people who have latex allergies. This is especially beneficial because some allergic reactions to latex can be life-threatening. An example is anaphylaxis.


  • Nitrile gloves tend to be a bit more expensive than latex gloves.
  • These gloves are not as comfortable as compared to latex gloves. This is something to bear in mind if you need to wear the gloves for long periods of time.
  • Nitrile is said to have less tensile strength than other glove materials, such as latex. Tensile strength is the load that a material can tolerate before cracking or breaking. That said, nitrile still offers excellent protection against tears, cuts, and punctures.


Before you choose between nitrile and latex gloves, it’s good to consider what you’ll need them for. Both types of gloves can be used for almost all the same purposes, but there are some exceptions.

  • Latex gloves can be used for general usage, dishwashing, janitorial tasks, and medical exams. When it comes to food cooking and preparation, it’s worth bearing in mind that latex gloves are not always recommended as a result of their potential to cause latex allergies. In addition, the powder that’s usually used on latex gloves to make them easier to put on and remove can leave behind a residue on food. Since they have excellent tactile sensitivity, they are recommended for use in healthcare settings, such as dentistry and surgery. 
  • Nitrile gloves can be used for many of the same tasks that latex gloves are used for, such as general usage, dishwashing, janitorial work, and medical exams. However, since they are powder-free and latex-free, they can also be used to cook and prepare food. This gives them an edge over latex gloves because it makes them more versatile.


Are nitrile gloves waterproof?

Nitrile gloves are completely waterproof.

They are also greaseproof and oilproof, as well as being resistant to many chemicals.

How well do nitrile gloves handle friction?

Nitrile gloves have a low resistance to friction.

This makes them easy to put on and remove, without them tearing easily and without you needing to apply powder to them.



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