Nitrile Gloves Chemical Resistance: What You Should Know

Whether you're a doctor, a nurse, a lab technician, a cosmetologist, a cleaner, or someone who works with chemicals, it's crucial to protect your hands. Chemical hazards can lead to negative health effects. Suitable gloves can protect you against harsh chemicals. One type of glove recently gaining popularity is the nitrile chemical-resistant glove.

In 2021, the global market for nitrile gloves was around $8.76 billion. People are opting to protect their hands with these gloves. The demand increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let's look closely at the nitrile glove chemical resistance. Which chemicals can you protect yourself against?

Are Nitrile Gloves Chemical Resistant?

Yes. Nitrile gloves are among the best chemical-resistant gloves in the glove market today. These nitrile gloves are resistant to some chemicals for shorter periods. Depending on the chemical, you may be able to use it for two hours before it reaches its breakthrough time.

If you're handling harsh chemicals, dispose of the gloves after brief contact of 15 minutes. Ensure proper glove removal and discard your gloves if they become soiled or when you notice a tear or puncture to prevent chemicals from penetrating inside.

One of the features that makes these gloves resistant to a variety of chemicals is the synthetic rubber material. The synthetic rubber is an artificial elastomer synthesized from petroleum byproducts. It has a variety of properties that make it useful for different purposes. For example, synthetic rubber is often used in tires because it is durable and highly resistant to heat.

Since nitrile gloves are made of synthetic rubber, they have become famous in many industries, including healthcare, automotive, and food service.

Nitrile gloves used to be blue. Now you can choose from a wide range of colors, such as pink, purple, black, white, orange, and green.

These gloves are available in various sizes and thicknesses. Of course, choosing one that matches your industry is the best. Mechanics prefer black nitrile gloves since they can hide grease, grime, and dirt.

Evaluation Criteria for Nitrile Gloves Chemical Resistance

You can grade nitrile glove chemical resistance based on these three criteria:

  • Degradation: This is when the gloves start to deteriorate, changing their physical properties when they come into contact with chemicals. You can easily note that your glove has started to degrade when you see signs of cracking, swelling, shrinking, or softening.
  • Breakthrough time: The total time it takes for chemicals exposed to the outside of the glove to permeate inside, offering no protection.
  • Permeation rate: The rate at which chemicals flow into the glove once it reaches its breakthrough time.

It's good to note that temperatures, duration, and movement can affect the above factors in disposable nitrile gloves or any other glove on the market.

Besides nitrile gloves being chemical resistant, they have the following outstanding features:

  • Tears and punctures are easily evident
  • Good choice for chemical and petroleum applications
  • Offers great tear, abrasion, and puncture resistance
  • Higher durability
  • Powder-free for lower risk of allergies
  • Textured fingertips for increased tactile sensitivity
  • Ambidextrous design
  • An alternative for those with a latex allergy

What Chemicals Are Nitrile Gloves Resistant To?

Nitrile gloves are generally safe for use with most chemicals. Some substances can cause them to degrade more easily and quickly. Exposing nitrile gloves to chemicals for an extended period causes them to degrade more rapidly, reducing their protection. Some chemicals you can use with nitrile gloves for excellent protection include the following:

  • Weak acids
  • Weak caustics
  • Fuels
  • Greases
  • Vegetable oils
  • Petroleum products
  • Household detergents

Nitrile gloves offer poor protection to:

  • Ketones
  • Some alcohols
  • Esters
  • Strong acids

Avoid using nitrile gloves on the following chemicals:

  • Acetone
  • Sulfuric acid 95%
  • Tetrahydrofuran (THF)
  • Nitric acid 70%
  • Benzaldehyde
  • Ethyl acetate

The following table provides information on some chemicals you can use with nitrile gloves and the ones you can use alternatives. It's important to note that testing is done under perfect conditions. Consideration has not been done under real situations where temperature, chemical combinations, or duration come into play.

Chemical

Latex

Nitrile

Chemical

Latex

Nitrile

Acetaldehyde

F

P

Isopropyl Alcohol*

E

E

Acetic Acid

G

G

Kerosene

P

E

Acetone

G

NR

Lactic Acid

E

E

Acetonitrile

F

NR

Lauric Acid

G

E

Ammonium Hydroxide <30%*

G

E

Linoleic Acid

P

E

Amyl Acetate

F

E

Linseed Oil

P

E

Amyl Alcohol

G

G

Maleic Acid

P

E

Aniline

P

NR

Methyl Acetate

P

P

Animal Fats

P

E

Methyl Alcohol

E

E

Battery Acids

G

E

Methylamine

E

E

Benzaldehyde

F

NR

Methylene Bromide

NR

NR

Benzene

NR

P

Methylene Chloride

NR

NR

Benzoyl Chloride

P

NR

Methyl Cellosolve

P

F

Butane

P

E

Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)

G

NR

Butyl Cellosolve*

P

F

Methylisobutyl Ketone

F

P

Butyl Alcohol

E

P

Methyl Methacrylate

P

P

Butyl Cellusolve*

E

E

Mineral Oil

P

E

Carbolic Acid

P

P

Mineral Spirits

NR

E

Carbon Disulfide

NR

NR

Monoethanolamine

G

E

Carbon Tetrachloride

NR

G

Morpholine

G

NR

Castor Oil

E

E

Muriatic Acids

G

G

Cellosolve Acetate

G

G

Naphtha V.M & P

NR

E

Cellosolve Solvent

E

G

Nitric Acid <30%

G

P

Chlorobenzene

NR

NR

Nitric Acid 70%

F

NR

Chloroform

NR

F

Nitric Acid Red Fuming

P

NR

Chloronaphalens

NR

F

Nitric Acid White Fuming

P

NR

Chlorothene VG

NR

F

Nitrobenzene

P

NR

Chromic Acid

NR

F

Nitromethane

G

F

Citric Acid

E

E

Nitropropane

E

NR

Cottonseed Oil

P

E

Octyl Alcohol

G

E

Cresole

P

G

Oleic Acid

P

E

Cutting Oil

F

E

Paint Remover

F

G

Cyclohexane

P

E

Palmitic Acid

G

G

Cyclohexanol

P

E

Pentachlorophenol

P

E

Dibutyl Phthalate

P

G

Pentane

P

E

Diethylamine

NR

F

Perchloric Acid 60%

P

E

Di-Isobutyl Ketone

P

E

Potassium Hydroxide <50%*

E

G

Dimethyl Formamide (DMF)

E

NR

Printing Ink

G

E

Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO)

E

E

Propyl Acetate

P

F

Dioctyl Phthalate (DOP)

P

G

Propyl Alcohol

E

E

Dioxane

F

NR

Perchloroethylene

NR

G

Ethyl Acetate

P

NR

Phenol

G

NR

Ethyl Alcohol

E

E

Phosphoric Acid*

G

E

Ethylene Dichloride

P

NR

Picric Acid

G

E

Ethylene Glycol

E

E

Propylene Oxide

P

NR

Ethyl Ether

NR

E

Rubber Solvent

NR

E

Ethylene Trichloride

P

P

Sodium Hydroxide <50%

E

G

Formaldehyde

E

E

Stoddard Solvent

P

E

Formic Acid

E

F

Styrene*

NR

NR

Freon

NR

F

Sulfuric Acid 95%

NR

NR

Furfural

E

NR

Tannic Acid

E

E

Gasoline

NR

E

Tetrahydrofuran (THF)

NR

NR

Glycerine

E

E

Toluene

NR

G

Hexane

NR

E

Toluene Di-Isocyanate (TDI)

P

NR

Hydraulic Fluid Petro. Based.

P

E

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

NR

E

Hydraulic Fluid Ester Based

P

P

Tricresyl Phosphate (TCP)

G

E

Hydrazine 65%

G

E

Triethanolamine 85% (TEA)

G

E

Hydrochloric Acid*

G

E

Tung Oil

NR

E

Hydrofluoric Acid

G

E

Turbine Oil

P

G

Hydrogen Peroxide

E

E

Turpentine

P

E

Hydroquinone

G

E

Vegetable Oil

P

E

Isobutyl Alcohol

E

E

Xylene

NR

G

Iso-Octane

NR

E


Note: P = Poor, F = Fair, G = Good, E = Excellent, NR = Not Recommended *Chemicals for cleaning

Information source: Webfiles.ehs.ufl.edu

It's crucial to pick nitrile gloves depending on the chemicals you're exposed to. The gloves are designed for different purposes. If you're in the industrial sector working on automobiles, choose a glove that can withstand chemicals derived from petroleum, like grease and oil. Get exam-grade gloves if you work in the healthcare, cosmetology, or pharmaceutical sectors.

Ensure that the glove thickness is correct depending on the job you want to use them for. Nail technicians' gloves should allow for better dexterity and flexibility and maintain a sense of touch. Industrial jobs will need a glove thickness that can provide superior protection with a higher rate of puncture resistance.

Another crucial factor in choosing nitrile chemical resistant gloves is size. You'll want to choose a size that fits comfortably on your hands. Besides comfortability, the glove size can determine chemical resistance. Wearing a small size makes the glove overstretch and less protective.

Are Nitrile Gloves Acid Resistant?

Yes, but it depends on the type of acid. Nitrile gloves are synthetic rubber resistant to many chemicals, including some acids. Nitrile gloves offer limited chemical protection in some strong acids, such as hydrofluoric acid (HF) ≥30%,which breaks down the glove material upon contact.

In cases where you use chemicals with higher permeation, you can consider double gloving. It's good to note that nitrile gloves' acid resistance is the best when compared to standard nitrile gloves.

Can Nitrile Gloves Protect Against All Chemicals?

No. Nitrile gloves are not resistant to all chemicals. It's good to note that no glove can protect you against all substances. Most nitrile gloves are protective against a wide range of chemicals, but there are some exceptions.

Some fluids can be chemical hazards, like acetone, which can penetrate nitrile gloves. Choosing suitable gloves for the job is essential. Some gloves are also more resistant to tearing and punctures than others. It's important to choose a glove that will be durable enough for the task at hand.

How Thick Should Nitrile Chemical Resistant Gloves Be?

The thickness you choose for your nitrile gloves depends on the application. If you're using gloves for light chemical resistance, you might want a thinner glove. If you're using them for heavy chemical resistance, you might want a thicker glove.

Most disposable nitrile gloves' thickness ranges from 4 mils to 10 mils. The most common glove thickness is between 6 mils and 8 mils. Anything above 8 mils is considered heavy duty.

Where Can I Use Nitrile Gloves?

Nitrile gloves are common in healthcare facilities as they are stronger at providing a barrier against blood-borne pathogens. Disposable gloves can also help prevent cross-contamination. Besides using nitrile gloves in healthcare facilities, you can use them in other industries such as food service, cleaning, cosmetology, painting, and mechanical.

Protect Your Hands With Disposable Nitrile Gloves

Our hands are the most important tools for performing many tasks in our homes and workplaces. You can use nitrile chemical resistant gloves to provide maximum protection to your hands if you deal with hazardous chemicals. Some chemicals can permeate nitrile gloves. So ensure you understand substances that cannot permeate nitrile gloves.

If you're looking for disposable nitrile gloves, WellBefore is your one-stop shop. We offer high-quality and affordable products. Visit our store today and browse our wide selection of nitrile gloves.