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Types of gloves: a basic guide to choosing the best one

Since the creation of guidelines on personal protective equipment in 1986 by the European Union, gloves have been an indispensable part of occupational care in many industries. However, it is key to know the different types of gloves in order to choose the right ones for your sector.

With the above in mind, this article will explain the specifications of various types of gloves so that you are clear about their functions.

Why is it important to use the appropriate types of gloves?

Before establishing the characteristics of the different types of gloves, it is key to recognize the importance of using the right protective glove for each task. This is because the materials of each glove are specifically chosen to fulfill certain functions.

Thus, if working with chemicals, gloves for chemicals should be worn as otherwise the gloves may dissolve and the individual risks burns.

On the other hand, in medical scenarios disposable gloves have different categories, so some are thicker than others taking into account the level of fluid transmission that may be present in a particular procedure, so that the same types of gloves cannot be used for a surgery as for a routine examination. 

The following is a list of the most common types of gloves used in personal protective equipment.

1. Nitrile gloves

Nitrile gloves are the most popular chemical resistance gloves. Thus, these types of gloves are made of nitrile butadiene, which is a type of synthetic rubber. Due to their components, nitrile gloves are suitable for handling all types of chemicals, including oil, fuel and other chemicals used in automotive industries, laboratories, factories, among others.

In addition to being ideal as gloves for chemicals, these types of gloves are characterized by their resistance to punctures and tears. Nitrile gloves are also the ideal choice for those who suffer from latex allergy.

However, although nitrile gloves are suitable for handling all types of chemicals, they are not made of a flexible material and are therefore not ideal in spaces where small objects or tasks involving a high level of manual dexterity are involved. 

2. Latex gloves

Latex gloves are one of the most recognized types of gloves worldwide for their multiple uses. Thus, these are made with, as its name says, latex. This is a component extracted from rubber trees, so, unlike nitrile gloves, these are not synthetic. 

Thus, they are the most common disposable gloves in the medical industry due to their high protection against bacteria and viruses. Another of their advantages is their flexibility and elasticity, which allows them to be useful for detailed tasks, which is why they are so frequently used as surgical gloves. 

Also, these types of gloves are widely used in the cosmetics industry due to their insulating characteristics and flexibility for precision work. They are also used in some laboratories; however, they cannot be classified as chemical resistance gloves because there are some solvents that can break down latex.

On the other hand, some people are allergic to latex so they are not recommended for food handling. 

3. Vinyl gloves

One of the most frequently asked questions is which is better: vinyl vs. latex gloves. However, each has its particular advantages. Thus, these types of gloves are mainly composed of polyvinyl chloride, in addition, they are plasticized.

Their uses are very similar to those of latex gloves, but in the vinyl vs. latex gloves discussion, the advantages of the former is that they are ideal for handling food, so the allergy to it is almost nil, unlike latex.

On the other hand, because they are not available in different density grades for fluid protection, they are only used in the medical sector for low-risk procedures, such as routine examinations.

They are usually more economical due to their manufacturing process, so it is common to find them in work activities that require sanitary protection but do not handle chemicals or hazardous substances, so they are not gloves for chemicals. 

 4. Neoprene gloves

These types of gloves, unlike those mentioned above, are not classified as disposable gloves, but this does not mean that they are less used as implements of personal protective equipment. Neoprene is another type of synthetic rubber, which makes it very resistant.

Thus, it is possible to find neoprene gloves that are perfect as chemical resistance gloves, so they are useful for activities that require that kind of resistance but are repetitive, causing the cost of purchasing disposable gloves to be too much, for example, general cleaning tasks.

 They can also be found in the electrical and plumbing industry or work involving contact with heat. 

5. Cloth gloves

Finally, and although these types of gloves are less common, fabric gloves or gloves covered with a layer of fabric are also used as a protective glove in some industries. Their function is not exactly antibacterial, but they protect against physical injuries such as cuts or burns. 

Therefore, it is commonly found in industries such as beekeeping, agriculture, gardening or construction. Its main protection is against dust, cuts and minor burns, and it is also excellent for absorbing sweat.  

 Like neoprene gloves, these are reusable. However, their use is not permitted in tasks that require avoiding cross-contamination or contact with certain substances. 

We hope this article has been helpful in identifying what types of gloves are needed for the particular industry in which you work. If you are looking for excellent quality disposable gloves in the Canada area, we recommend Divocco Medical, which has professionals who ensure that their manufacturing is of the highest quality.