Dr. William Stewart Halsted invented the first rubber gloves in 1894. Serving as the initial surgeon-in-chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Halsted reportedly designed latex gloves to help protect his scrub nurses' hands from the abrasive antiseptics used to disinfect at the hospital. Some 125 years after the latex gloves' initial development, we can see that disposable gloves have surpassed just protecting nurses' hands – they are used in nearly every industry today.
If you're wondering how indispensable disposable gloves have been to humans, picture the dentist with his hands inside your mouth. We will not delve too far into this subject matter, but you never know where someone's hands have been. Simply put, they provide an essential barrier to protect the wearer's hands from contact with harmful substances, such as cleaning agents, metalworking fluids, germs, and bacteria.
Disposable gloves help prevent the spread of bacteria and help prevent the spread of germs from one person to another.
MCR Safety has been manufacturing and supplying disposable gloves for over 25 years. We offer over 30 different disposable glove options, with the below imaging highlighting the various polymer used. We've introduced numerous innovations during our time supplying gloves, which we will highlight below.
MCR Safety disposable gloves are made in various polymers: latex, nitirle, vinyl,
Disposable gloves consist of a variety of material types. This article will discuss three common glove material types: latex, neoprene, nitrile, and vinyl. By the end, you will have a solid understanding of what glove you should consider wearing.
What is the purpose of disposable gloves?
Disposable gloves protect hands from contact with infectious materials, liquids, oil, pathogens, and contaminants in the environment. These hazards may include chemicals, bodily fluids, or debris. Disposable gloves act as a shield by creating a waterproof barrier over one's skin, helping protect the hands from irritation and skin damage caused by frequent exposure to harsh environments.
The disposable glove market in the U.S. is projected for increased growth over the next several years.
Disposable gloves are super-thin and skin-tight, providing the most tactile sensitivity of all forms of hand protection. Since they are inexpensive, they are often only used once and are replaced and disposed of when contaminated, providing a quick and convenient solution for wearers.
What are disposable gloves used for?
There are numerous reasons why you should have disposable gloves at home. Any parent will tell you that some extra protection comes in handy when changing diapers. However, outside of the top dirty situations at home where you can wear gloves, most will recognize disposable gloves from seeing them in use by caregivers at nursing homes,, hospitals, doctor's offices, and restaurants. You will find disposable gloves used in various work applications for virtually every industry.
Disposable gloves are used in various industries, including:
- Assembly – working with oily parts
- Automotive - handling automotive parts, changing oil, painting, maintenance
60160 worn in an automotive body shop.
- Bakery -working with food and preventing the transfer of bacteria to food.
- Canning and Bottling– working with, handling, and preserving food
- Caregivers - coming into contact with blood, saliva, and feces
- Construction – preparing and curing cement, which can cause cement burns
- Doctors – examining patients; protection from blood and other bodily fluids, infectious materials
- EMT – attending patients; protection from blood and other bodily fluids
EMT wearing a 6001 disposable glove while helping a patient.
- Food Processing – handling raw meat, such as chicken or pork
- Food Service and Restaurant Workers – preparing food, avoiding cross-contamination of meats
Preparing barbecue with the 7010 disposable glove
- Forensic – processing a crime scene
- Hair Salons – dyeing hair
- Jailors – patting down inmates
- Janitors – cleaning facilities, such as toilets
- Laboratories – testing samples and handling chemicals
Working in the lab with the 7010 disposable glove
- Law Enforcement – interacting with unknown substances, patting down suspects
- Manufacturing – cleaning metal and plant maintenance
- Medical – preventing cross-contamination of pathogens, including bacteria and viruses
- Nurses – attending to patients; protecting from blood, infectious materials, and pathogens
- Pharmaceutical – handling chemicals and avoiding contamination of products
- Restaurants - used by workers for food safety and to prevent cross-contamination
- Tattoo Artists – applying tattoos to bare skin; coming into contact with bodily fluids, including blood
- Veterinarian – treating animals; contact with unknown substances
The remainder of our article will focus on the different polymers used in manufacturing disposable gloves. We will cover what makes each polymer unique in each section. However, if you want further insight into the polymers, we recommend the OSHA Glove Selection Chart to guide your efforts.
Different Types of Materials for Disposable Gloves
Users turn to disposable latex gloves when they require a durable yet thin and highly flexible glove. Combine these attributes with being soft and comfortable, and it is clear why latex remains one of the leading glove-making polymers on the market.
Latex gloves are worn in sensitive applications due to their fit. Because disposable latex gloves are elastic by nature, they stretch and allow for excellent flexibility, meaning that workers' movements aren't hampered or restricted by the gloves. Picture in your mind a stretched rubber band. Essentially, that flexibility is what protects your entire hand when wearing latex gloves.
Users turn to disposable latex gloves when they require a durable, yet thin and highly flexible glove. Combine these attributes with being soft and comfortable, and it is clear why latex remains one of the leading glove-making polymers on the market. Check out our top styles above.
As you probably already know, nothing is 100% perfect in life. Many people have latex allergies and cannot wear or come into contact with latex gloves. These workers, who are allergic to latex, will need a different disposable glove.
It is also important to note that as of January 2017, powdered latex gloves are not used in medical applications. Latex also degrades in oil, so automotive workers or those coming into contact with oil will need different disposable glove options.
Nitrile is known as the "jack of all trades" for polymers. It is one of the most robust polymers available, boasting up to 5x greater puncture resistance when compared to latex. Nitrile provides users with excellent tensile strength and the following: snag-, abrasion-, and puncture-resistant. Nitrile is also latex-free, so nitrile gloves are a safe option for those with a latex allergy.
Nitrile gloves are a safe option for those who have a latex allergy. Check out all our top disposable gloves above.
Nitrile is a durable synthetic rubber that offers resistance to numerous substances, including oils (petroleum-based and mineral and vegetable oil). With their resistance to oils and solvents, workers often wear nitrile gloves in oily and automotive degreasing applications. Because nitrile is both heat- and water-resistant, it is an excellent product for handling fats and greases and is used widely in the poultry and red meat processing industries.
The 6016B is great for protection against metalworking fluids in manufacturing.
Some people like to think Orange is the New Black. It is true; we do have some orange disposable gloves that people love. However, black remains one of the most popular colors found in PPE, especially nitrile disposable gloves.
As we mentioned, nitrile is the jack of all trades and has minimal weaknesses. Users still prefer disposable latex gloves over nitrile disposable gloves when working in sensitive applications, as latex offers a heightened sense of touch. So, what would happen if both polymers mentioned above were combined into one glove?
Neoprene - Limited Chemical Protection
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber developed as an oil-resistant substitute for natural rubber. It is heat-, chemical-, oil-, and ozone-resistant. Because of this, neoprene offers a broad range of chemical protection. One of the critical characteristics of neoprene is its resistance to temperature extremes. Neoprene remains flexible and elastic in cold temperatures and remains firm and not becoming sticky in high temperatures. Neoprene possesses outstanding physical toughness and resistance to damage caused by flexing and twisting. Offering neoprene disposable gloves is a relative innovation, however. More on that in a moment!
What happens when you combine latex, neoprene, and nitrile into one glove? MCR Safety's new 7036! This glove offers comfort, strength, dexterity, and resistance to cuts, snags, punctures, abrasions, chemicals, and other liquids.
Our ChemTech™ 7036 gloves are 6 mils thick and packed with pure performance! This glove combines the advantages of three different polymers: the puncture resistance of nitrile, the elasticity and tensile strength of latex, and the chemical resistance of neoprene into one exceptionally high-performing disposable glove! The 7036 provides limited chemical splash protection due to its use of neoprene. For example, it has a breakthrough time of 26 minutes for protection against sulfuric acid. Please check MCR Safety's Permeation Database for specific breakthrough times. Please let us know if there is a specific chemical you need to be tested by providing a comment below.
7036 is 12 inches long, protecting the wrist.
Out of all disposable gloves, vinyl options are the most versatile, worn across numerous tasks from food handling to household cleaning. Users wear disposable vinyl gloves for a handful of reasons. Most importantly, they are a reasonably-priced option, making them ideal for companies needing to cut costs and individuals on a budget.. In addition, they are incredibly flexible and lightweight, making them highly comfortable for those needing to wear disposable all-day. These gloves make sense for light abrasion and liquid protection. Plus, they are non latex disposable gloves!
For those needing extra durability, we stock a 6.5 mil option! You'll find these worn in industries with non-hazardous environments, such as food handling and janitorial services.
MCR Safety has introduced an assortment of new disposable gloves to our product line over the past decade. The Nitrile / Vinyl disposable glove was MCR Safety's first-ever bi-polymer disposable glove introduced. This disposable glove leverages vinyl's tensile strength and nitrile puncture resistance. Since its introduction in 2011, the 7010 is now worn by workers across numerous industries due to its affordability, feel, and performance.
Adding nitrile strengthens the above 7010 disposable gloves for extended use.
As we've mentioned in previous blogs, our Product Testing Lab ensures MCR Safety's products meet our high standards of quality levels. When it comes to disposable gloves, users need to know they're putting on thoroughly tested PPE. With that in mind, we've conducted lab experiments for our disposable gloves in the ITC. The intent is to benchmark existing products, allowing comparisons against MCR's competition and a better understanding of any gaps within MCR Safety's product line.
The test data in the chart below represents the most crucial testing criteria for disposable gloves, with the top two being:
- Puncture resistance
- Tensile strength
12 disposable gloves were tested for each criterion shown above, ensuring reliable data.
As you can see from the data, each polymer provides different benefits to users.
- Latex disposable gloves – Low Puncture-Resistance / Best Tensile Strength
- Nitrile disposable gloves – Best Puncture-Resistance / Lowest Tensile Strength
- Nitrile / Neoprene / Latex disposable gloves– Good Puncture-Resistance / Excellent Tensile Strength
- Nitrile / Vinyl disposable gloves – Good Puncture-Resistance / Good Tensile Strength
- Vinyl disposable gloves – Lowest Puncture-Resistance / Good Tensile Strength
Environmentally Friendly Disposable Gloves
Polyethylene or Poly Disposable Gloves that offer great value
Glove Wall Rack Double
Heavy Duty Disposable Gloves
Where can i buy disposable gloves near me?
- Many retailers in most cities carry disposable gloves: Walmart, Costco, CVS, Autozone, Target, and Home Depot. In addition, MCR Safety has distribution partners worldwide and in virtually every city. Leave us a comment if you're looking for a local distributor solution for ongoing supply. For standalone purchases, visit our Online PPE Safety Store.
What disposable gloves are food safe?
- Click here for all disposable gloves that have been approved for food contact.
Which disposable gloves are recyclable?
- Our 6041 shown above is our biodegradable and recyclable option.
Are nitrile disposable gloves food safe?
- Yes, nitrile gloves are food safe.
How thick should disposable gloves be?
- The thickness depends on the intended use of the glove worn. A thickness of 4-8 mil (0.1-0.2 mm) is typical. However, thicker options are better when handling harsher substances. Keep in mind the cost of disposable gloves increases the thicker you go up.
What is the best disposable rubber glove?
- The polymer quality and thickness play a key role in determining what makes the best gloves. Medical grade options should always be considered when searching for the best option.
Are disposable gloves a universal precaution?
- Yes, they are considered a universal precaution in the healthcare and medical fields. Wearing disposable gloves while cleaning up blood is an example of a universal precaution taken by all in healthcare roles.
Why are lightweight disposable gloves provided in the teaching labs?
- Disposable gloves provide a barrier of protection, often required in educational facilities to prevent substance exposure.
Are disposable gloves a good barrier for bloodborne?
Your Go-To Disposable Glove Supplier
Worker safety always matters, so you can count on MCR Safety's disposable gloves to protect you daily. When selecting disposable gloves, it is crucial to choose the option that is suitable for the specific task and provides the level of protection required. Our options range from latex, nitrile, neoprene, vinyl, and combinations, offering you constant protection. We hope the above has given you enough insight into this form of protection; if not, we're always ready to help!
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For over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether wearing disposable gloves in a lab, assembling a PC, or working at a construction site, we provide solutions to workplace hazards. It's all part of our commitment to protect people.
No matter your industry, we have the personal protective equipment you need.
Learn more about MCR Safety by checking out our most recent video. For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.