What Are Nitrile Gloves? | Primo Dental Products

The COVID-19 has increased demand for nitrile exam gloves across the globe. With many industries adopting disposable gloves for their workers, it is important to understand the differences in disposable gloves types. All disposable gloves have their pros and cons and it is important in making a decision behind a glove type.

Check out our selection of in-stock, disposable nitrile gloves

What Are Nitrile Gloves?

The most popular disposable glove today is made of nitrile. Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that is highly resilient. Nitrile rubber is more resistant than natural rubber to oils and acids as well as more puncture resistant than natural rubber gloves. However these benefits come at the expense of flexibility. While most professionals prefer the puncture strength and resiliency of nitrile gloves, professionals who require precise tactile feel will sometimes choose a different type of disposable glove. Because nitrile is a synthetic rubber, there are less cases of allergic reactions with these gloves vs. latex. The strength of nitrile in addition to less allergic reactions have made nitrile gloves the standard for most professionals in medical, dental, beauty and foodservices.

The increased demand in nitrile gloves have led to significant price increases across the world throughout the value chain. Malaysia is the largest manufacturer of disposable gloves in the world. These factories have been designed to run close to 100% capacity at all times. With the increased demand in gloves, expected to increase by at least 2x by 2026, factories simply cannot keep up with demand. The short term solution is to run their factories 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Even with this drastic increase in production, it only provides a little relief in shortage supplies. Until nitrile glove demand subsides or new production comes online, nitrile shortages and price increases will continue.

What Are Latex Gloves?

Latex gloves are made of natural rubber latex found in the sap of rubber trees. This latex is then processed and made into latex gloves. Latex benefits from having chemical resistance against most acids, bases, chlorine, iodine and formaldehyde. It has been historically the industry standard for disposable gloves. Most people prefer the fit of latex gloves as it closely conforms to a person’s hand providing a great fit and feel. Dental professionals prefer latex because the tactile feel to use small objects such as scalpels, tooth caps and tooth polish. For a small portion of the population, latex can cause an allergic reaction. This occurs when the proteins found in latex gloves are seen as a harmful substance by the body. As the body tries to fight this off, the wearer can surfer symptoms ranging from minor skin irritation to life-threatening shock. Potential concerns around latex allergies have shifted the industry to adopt nitrile gloves, which do not suffer from allergic reactions.

The Best Nitrile Glove For Most People

If you decide to go with a nitrile glove, we recommend the Medline SensiCare Silk Nitrile Gloves. These dark blue powder-free large nitrile gloves have a soft and comfortable feel while providing outstanding tactile sensitivity for touch perception. It meets both ASTM D6978-05 and USP 800 Personal Protection Equipment requirements for use of chemotherapy gloves when handling hazardous drugs. Each box also includes a Smartguard protective film barrier over the box opening that helps reduce excess gloves from coming out when grabbing a pair of gloves resulting in less waste.

Are Nitrile Gloves Latex Free?

Nitrile gloves are latex free. Latex gloves are made of naturally producing rubber materials in trees found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world, including Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia. This natural latex rubber is found in a variety of products including latex gloves, latex condoms and even latex clothing. Latex is known to cause an allergic reaction in a subset of the general population due to adverse reactions to proteins found in natural rubber latex. The symptoms can range from something as mild as skin irritation to as dangerous as life-threatening shock.

Because of this potential allergic reaction, it is recommended to use nitrile gloves in a professional setting. Nitrile gloves are made of synthetic materials, acrylonitrile and butadiene. It is extremely rare to be allergic to nitrile and is recommended in all cases as an alternative to latex gloves.

Are Nitrile Gloves Food Safe?

It is recommended to only use nitrile gloves marked as food safe when handling food. While some glove manufacturers market their gloves as food grade nitrile gloves, there is no formal criteria or certification to be labeled as food grade or safe for food handling. The only general guidelines around food grade gloves are that glove materials are substances that have been recognized as safe for use in food or food packaging. Because of the additional FDA certifications that surgical gloves must go through, these are the best types of gloves to use for food service. The AQL certification surgical gloves must go through means that you expect less defects and ensures a level of consistency in your gloves.

Can You Wash Nitrile Gloves?

Most Nitrile exam gloves are designed and manufactured for one-time, single use. These nitrile gloves are usually labeled as disposable nitrile gloves. While not as common, there are reusable nitrile gloves available. These gloves will be clearly marked reusable on the packaging. These reusable nitrile gloves are usually sold as a set and each pair is wrapped individually. These reusable nitrile gloves tend to be thicker and will not provide the same level of tactile feel as disposable nitrile gloves.

Do Nitrile Gloves Protect Against Viruses?

According to the CDC, nitrile gloves are not recommended for use outside of medical situations. Because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus spread primarily through droplets, it is more important to continue to follow social distance rules (standing 6 feet away from others), washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and practicing common sense preventative actions.

Nitrile gloves are recommended when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces of someone who is sick. Disposable gloves should always be used when there is a potential for contact with blood, stool, or body fluids, such as saliva, mucus, vomit, and urine. These nitrile gloves are designed as one time use and should be disposed of after every use. It is also recommended to wash your hands after removing and safely disposing nitrile gloves in the trash.

How Are Nitrile Gloves Made?

Nitrile gloves are made using a multi step process in factories specifically designed to manufacture nitrile gloves. 

  1. It begins with the mixing and compounding of chemicals that make up nitrile gloves. It is important that trained chemists are handling this to ensure that the final product will be a perfect nitrile glove.
  2. Once the chemical compounds have been measured, the chemicals are then mixed together using a variable speed intensive mixer and homogenizer.
  3. Before the compounds are extruded onto the hand formers, these porcelain formers must be cleaned with acid solutions and cleaning agents to ensure a smooth and clean surface for the compounds to bind onto.
  4. These cleaned hand formers are designed dipped into the compound for a controlled period of time as the compound settles onto the hand formers.
  5. Protein removal now takes place when additives are removed through hot leaching using an intensive hot water wash followed by heat drying. 
  6. Hypoallergenic compound is added to the inner side of the glove that comes in contact with the user.
  7. Gloves are then beaded on the end of the glove to provide grip during the donning of gloves and to prevent rolling up.
  8. Nitrile gloves are then put into a large specialty oven to cure.
  9. After gloves have completed their curing they are tested both visually and chemically. This is followed by leak testing every glove to ensure that there are no holes in the gloves.
  10. This is followed by additional chlorination treatment to remove the need for powder in addition to lowering the protein levels.
  11. Gloves are then packaged using high speed packaging machines that ensure the correct number of gloves goes in each box. Once this is completed, these finished boxes are then put into larger cartons and further packaged onto pallets as they wait for pickup to their final end user markets.

Are Nitrile Gloves Biodegradable?

Nitrile gloves are made up of synthetic rubber compounds and are not biodegradable. Nitrile gloves will take decades before they will break down. While there has been some work done on biodegradable disposable nitrile gloves, almost all of the disposable nitrile gloves available are not biodegradable. After use, nitrile exam gloves should be disposed of in the garbage. These gloves should not and cannot be recycled.

Are Nitrile Gloves Sterile?

Nitrile gloves come in both sterile and non-sterile form. While most nitrile gloves are in non sterile, nitrile gloves also come in sterile form. It is easy to tell the differences between the sterile and non sterile form by looking at their packaging. Generally, the non-sterile form of nitrile gloves will be packaged in a box. The sterile form will come with a packet that has instructions on how to use them and what steps need to take place before they are used.

When Are Sterile Gloves Used?

Sterile gloves should be used in medical procedures that explicitly require the need for a sterile environment. The sterile form of nitrile gloves is also used when performing operations and procedures where a non-sterile glove could potentially contaminate the area.

Once the sterile nitrile gloves have been taken out of their packaging, they immediately become non-sterile.

Where To Buy Nitrile Gloves?

Primo Dental Products is a trusted manufacturer and distributor of nitrile exam gloves. We offer a variety of popular brands including BeeSure, Cranberry, Medline and many more. We are also a manufacturer of our own branded nitrile gloves which have been highly rated by dental professionals and regular consumers alike. We carry only the highest quality nitrile glove brands on our store and we proudly ship exclusively from our New Jersey warehouse via Fedex.

What is the Difference Between Nitrile and Vinyl Gloves?

While both vinyl and nitrile gloves may seem the same, there are key differences between both glove types. Because of their different composition and makeup, each gloves have their own pros and cons. We will explore what some of these differences are and when certain gloves are used.

Nitrile gloves are made out of synthetic rubber latex that comes from a chemical reaction between ammonia and nitric acid. The major difference in composition is the fact that vinyl gloves contain silicone, which makes them much less useful when it comes to being used with strong chemicals or solvents; since these substances can easily cause the silicone material to deteriorate over time. Nitrile also has better resistance against punctures as well as excellent tensile strength. This means they provide more protection for your hands than other glove types on the market today. It also means that when working with with harsh cleaning products, nitrile gloves hold up better. Nitrile gloves have higher chemical resistance making it better to be used when dealing with harsh chemicals. Nitrile gloves are also better than vinyl when it comes to puncture resistance. Vinyl is more porous and can have microscopic defects which make it easier for chemicals or microorganisms to get through the glove, whereas nitrile offers increased protection in this area.

However vinyl gloves have their own benefits as well. Similar to nitrile exam gloves, vinyl gloves also are latex free. This is especially important for people who are have allergies when exposed to latex. Vinyl gloves also have a longer shelf life as they are less sensitive to temperature and humidity.

Vinyl gloves are commonly used in the food service industry. They are ideal for jobs that require frequent hand washing throughout the day, such as dishwashing. Vinyl gloves are also commonly used by painters as well. Not only do they offer protection from harmful chemicals and getting paint on your hands, but the gloves also contain a powder that helps to prevent paint from sticking.

Vinyl gloves should not be used in situations where there is a need for high puncture and chemical resistance. This is because their chemical composition does not provide the same level of strength as nitrile gloves. Vinyl gloves are also not as flexible and should only be used where there is no risk of hand punctures, such as assembly jobs or non-labor intensive tasks like labeling products.

Vinyl gloves, like nitrile gloves, should not be reused. Vinyl gloves are disposable gloves just like nitrile gloves. They should be disposed of after the first time they are used.

What is a Blended Disposable Glove?

With the increased demand on nitrile gloves worldwide, glove makers have begun producing blended nitrile gloves to meet demand. The tremendous increase in raw materials have led manufacturers to look for alternatives glove types to meet consumer demand at a more reasonable price.

These blended gloves were created as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These blended gloves utilize the vinyl glove production method by combining the PVC past with nitrile latex. These are commonly referred to as Nitrex, Nitrile Blended or Nitrile Equivalent gloves.

Blended disposable gloves offer significantly less barrier protection as nitrile, but are more cost effective. Manufacturers can save on production costs by using materials a mix of chemicals including vinyl and nitrile. Companies are able to save on raw materials costs by manufacturing blended disposable gloves.

The primary difference between blended disposable and nitrile exam gloves is the barrier protection they offer. Nitrile provides a greater level of protection against chemicals, while blended disposable offers less but at a direct cost savings to consumers. Manufacturers are able to produce more glove types for a wider variety of needs by utilizing materials with different levels of chemical resistance in their products. It is also important to note that manufacturers are not listing the chemical composition of these blended gloves. There is no way to know how much nitrile material is in these blended gloves.

How To Tell The Difference Between Blended Gloves and Nitrile Gloves?

While reputable manufacturers will clearly label if their gloves are a blended glove, some manufacturers are less straightforward. While they look very similar, there are some key characteristics that highlight the differences. One of the key ways to tell the difference is the elasticity. Nitrile gloves are incredibly flexible and can be stretched very aggressively while still being able to maintain their original shape. Blended nitrile and vinyl gloves can be stretched however they will not be able to retain their original shape. In addition, these blended gloves cannot stretch as much as pure nitrile gloves. These blended gloves are also much more susceptible to breaking and puncturing than pure nitrile gloves.

When Should Blended Gloves Be Used?

Blended gloves can be used safely for general purposes. These gloves should not be used when medical grade gloves are required. Most of the blended gloves that are sold have not been graded for medical uses. Medical and dental professionals should stick to pure nitrile exam gloves in their workplace to ensure the proper level of barrier protection.

Can Nitrile Gloves Be Used For Coloring Hair?


Hairdressers who are exposed to many hair products and their associated chemicals need to ensure that their hands, their most precious resource, are adequately protected. It is important to understand that not all gloves provide the same level of protection and which ones will keep hairdressers safe. Nitrile gloves are a great solution for hairdressers because they offer good protection against many chemicals.

The nitrile glove is made from synthetic rubber, which provides great protection against liquids and other substances that could damage the hands. The material can also withstand harsh detergents without causing any breakdown in its barrier properties or elasticity, so it will not rip when stretched like latex does. Nitrile gloves resist solvents such as acetone, alcohols, ketones and aromatic hydrocarbons found in many products used by hairdressers (including salon color). Certain types of acids may cause degradation to the nitrile but this would take much longer than with latex gloves.

According to this published study, many types of disposable gloves provide insufficient protection from exposure to the chemicals found in permanent hair dyes. The study utilized a variety of gloves types including vinyl, nitrile, latex and polyethylene gloves and tested the protective barrier against p-phenylenediamine, most commonly found in many permanent hair dyes.

This chemical is a common catalyst for an allergic reaction resulting in contact dermatitis. Because of the common nature of this chemical, it is important that hairdressers are able to work with this compound without triggering an allergic reaction on skin.

Across all the variety of gloves listed, nitrile gloves were shown to be the most effective in providing protection without triggering an allergic reaction. The other types of gloves including vinyl, latex and polyethylene did not offer protection and resulted in some of the users developing the contact dermatitis that prevents hairdressers from doing their jobs.

In conclusion, nitrile exam gloves are the best type of glove to use for hair coloring. The other types of gloves did not offer protection and resulted in some of the users developing contact dermatitis that prevents hairdressers from doing their jobs.

Can You Autoclave Nitrile Gloves?


Nitrile gloves are used across a variety of workplaces including nail salons, medical offices and tattoo parlors. In almost all of these environments, there is access to an autoclave machine.

An autoclave is a machine used to carry out industrial and scientific processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure in relation to ambient pressure/temperature. Autoclaves are used in medical applications to perform sterilization and in the chemical industry to cure coatings and vulcanize rubber and for hydrothermal synthesis. Industrial autoclaves are used in industrial applications, especially in the manufacturing of composites. Many autoclaves are used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to pressurized saturated steam at 121 °C (250 °F) for around 15–20 minutes depending on the size of the load and the contents.

It is unclear if nitrile gloves can be used in autoclave machines. Some recommend avoiding putting nitrile gloves in an autoclave machine because the high temperatures can cause a chemical reaction resulting in less protection when using the gloves. Others on Reddit, have said that because autoclave machines operate below the maximum allowable temperature of nitrile gloves, these gloves are perfectly fine to be used in a autoclave machine.

However it is important for the user to do their own research. If sterile nitrile gloves are needed, it is better to look for and to purchase nitrile gloves that are explicitly marked as sterile nitrile gloves.

If the user is looking to use nitrile gloves for protection against chemicals and not heat, then it should be safe to put them in an autoclave machine. But again, this all depends on the specific chemical and how much contact with that chemical there will be during a procedure or task. Before using any glove product, always read the label and make sure to follow manufacturer's instructions!

What Are The Thickest Nitrile Gloves?


Nitrile gloves come in a variety of thickness to compliment the variety of different uses for these disposable gloves. It is important to understand how the thickness of nitrile gloves are measured and what are the thickest nitrile gloves you can buy.

There are many uses for nitrile gloves, including using them to handle toxic substances. Nitrile gloves can also be used for household chores and cooking needs. A good rule of thumb is the thicker the glove you wear, the more protection it offers from hazardous materials like harsh chemicals, bleach or even hot oil.

The thickest nitrile gloves that we have found measure in at around 12mil thickness which provides a high level of protection against many harmful substances. The downside to these heavier duty nitrile gloves is they do not provide as much dexterity as other types such as latex or vinyl so if your job requires working with precision tools then this may not be an ideal option for you. If tactile feel is required, we recommend a lower mil nitrile glove as it will provide more flexibility and less rigidity in operating with these nitrile gloves on.

For example, we recommend nail salons, tattoo parlors and piercing parlors to opt for thin exam gloves. These gloves are usually within the 2-4 mil range and provide the most tactile feel, especially in the fingertips. One thing that is common within all of these industries is the use of precise equipment. Because of the exacting nature of their work, the feel within the fingertips is most important. This is why most of these professionals opt for nitrile exam gloves with the thinnest mil they can find.

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