Which disposable gloves should you use when handling chemicals?

When it comes to protecting your hands while working with chemicals, there are so many choices available. It can be hard to know which are the best choice. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together this handy guide to help you decide.

If your job or even hobby requires you to be regularly handling chemicals, you’ll understand the importance of wearing the right gloves. But finding the right pair for the job all comes down to identifying exactly which chemicals you’ll be handling. Once you’ve decided which chemicals you need to protect your hands against, you’ll then want to match them to the material of the glove and which material offers the best protection.

Let’s take a look at the most popular types of disposable gloves for handling chemicals.

Disposable Nitrile Gloves

These are probably the most popular choice of glove for chemical handling, as they offer a really high resistance to most chemicals and are generally inexpensive too – especially when purchased in bulk! Nitrile is also a great non-latex option and is a naturally hypo-allergenic material, so shouldn’t irritate your skin either. Disposable nitrile gloves are resistant to nearly all petroleum solvents, including gasoline and kerosene, so are the gloves most commonly found at gas stations.

There are a few chemicals, however, which nitrile gloves will not be compatible with. These include ketones, oxidizing acids and organic chemicals which also contain nitrogen.

Disposable Latex Gloves

These are probably the least popular choice for chemical handling, as unfortunately they offer very little in the way of chemical resistance. Despite the popularity of latex gloves in other settings, we would not recommend using latex gloves to handle chemicals.

Disposable PVC Gloves

Another incredibly affordable option are PVC gloves. Made from a polyvinyl chloride, PVC gloves are most popular in petrochemical industries, as they are highly durable and even offer a fair level of cut resistance too.

However, you shouldn’t use PVC gloves with acetone, ketones or chlorinated solvents – these can actually harden the gloves and in extreme cases even cause them to go completely rigid.

When purchasing gloves for handling chemicals, you’ll also want to consider the length and fit of the gloves. This is essential for chemical handling, as if your wrists are left open to splashes, this could be incredibly harmful. It’s also worth checking whether a glove is resistant to punctures, cuts or abrasion – as any small nicks could create a hole in which a chemical is able to seep through and gain contact with your skin.

Finally, before purchasing any gloves for chemical handling we would highly recommend if you’re feeling uncertain whether a glove will be resistant to the chemical you’ll be using, that you contact the manufacturer. It is also worthwhile doing extra research to be on the safe side.

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