Materials of disposable gloves 13 - Disposable gloves

Materials of disposable gloves (1/3)

In selecting the most appropriate glove for our needs, we must take into account a series of factors such as time of use, the products that will come into contact, potential user allergies, level of protection, sensitivity etc., that finally determine the one that that best fits the purpose for which they are intended. As we can find in the market a lot of gloves made by different raw materials, and because it is not always easy to choose one economically and technically viable, we will detail below (and in later articles) the main characteristics of the more common gloves, directing them toward their best use.

Natural latex 

The natural rubber latex is derived from physical and chemical processing of the sap of certain species of trees, mainly the Hevea braziliensis. This process, including the vulcanization of rubber and latex molding, also incorporates a number of additives such as antioxidants, pigments, etc., to give the product its final properties.

One of the great advantages of latex is its elasticity. Nowadays it is difficult to find a material, either synthetic or natural, that after stretching recover the original form with the same precision than latex. This is what gives the glove its excellent properties of adaptability and dexterity and also a prolonged comfort that prevents fatigue.

Natural latex had good performance with solvents and with a large variety of the most common chemicals used in the laboratory, such as alcohols, ammonia, acetone, etc. On the contrary, it does not has a high resistance to petroleum-derived compounds, aromatic solvents (such as benzene), oils, animal fats, vegetable and minerals, and milk and dairy products.

Currently, the natural rubber latex glove is being replaced by synthetic alternatives, as there are people allergic to this material (type I allergy), whose the reactions may be severe (anaphylactic response), besides other dermatitis by contact on sensitive skin that are caused by debris of vulcanizing agents.

However, it is considered the most appropriate product for non-allergic people and it is the one who has the most people possible.

Within this category are, for example:

  • Latex glove AACHEN: It is the standard latex glove, perfect for patient explorations and instrument handling.
  • Latex Glove AACHENgrip: thicker than the previous one, is intended for a industrial use, because of its extra protection.


The nitrile is a synthetic rubber latex, derived from Acrylonitrile Butadiene copolymer (NBR). Is is considered as the main substitute of the natural rubber, as it is the material that most resembles the properties found in latex, eliminating its risk of allergy.

It is also a highly elastic material, with high adaptability, which provides the user a comfort similar to the natural latex´s. An added advantage is that it is easier to put on a nitrile glove than a latex glove, because of the treatment applied to the inner surface, which also reduces the risk of dermatitis by contact (allergy type IV). This advantage is very grateful for people with excessive sweating and little tolerance to the dust of other gloves.

Additionally, nitrile gloves are more resistant to friction and wear down than other gloves. Although their values ​​(for a disposable glove) does not allow this gloves to be classified as mechanical protective, does offer greater protection and durability that gloves with similar thicknesses. It has a good performance with petroleum products (diesel, gasoline, etc.), oils and animal fats, vegetable and mineral, milk and dairy products; as well as many of the acids, alcohols, aromatic solvents, etc. These properties make it a very appropriate glove for the chemical and food industry as well as for the health sector, instrument management, medical explorations and contact with cytostatic products, among other applications.

We can classify the following types of nitrile gloves:


This material is made ​​from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plus a number of plasticizers to confer specific properties. It is a very versatile material employed in many sectors, to make both lines as blinds, mats and containers, or, in our case, such as gloves. Despite the controversy about the disposal of waste by combustion, PVC is perhaps the more “hygienic” materials from those shown here and cleaner both in their manufacture and in their recovery.

The vinyl is free from natural latex and, consequently, vulcanizing agents, eliminating the risk of Type I allergies, and minimizes the chance of getting Type IV allergies, because its formulation is very simple and plasticizers are not considered harmful to the user.

This gloves have good performance with alcohols, some organic acids and solvents; however, because of its porosity, do not offer sufficient protection against chemicals, petroleum products, vegetable oils, etc., so its use is not recommended in laboratories, chemical or similar industry. Its properties make it an economical alternative for those tasks that are not required for high protection, such as cleaning, examination of patients, instrument handling, etc.

  • AACHEN Vinyl gloves: for short-term assignments, medical examinations, objects handling that do not involve chemical risk.
  • AACHEN Synthetic Vinyl Gloves: despite not having the elasticity of nitrile or latex, its resistance is superior to standard vinyl, and it is a good choice, top quality, for medical examinations, extractions, cleaning, or food industry.
  • AACHEN Vinyl gloves, blue: destined, by its color, to the food sector.


Polyethylene glove (PE), despite its simplicity, is one of the most consumed gloves, mainly in food industry and gas stations. Retains almost the exact properties of the original polymer, without plasticizers or other additives.

This material is rigid and transparent, it is not well suited to the user’s hand, but with a low thickness the enough hygienic protection to use it in short simple tasks is achieved. Usually its outer surface is granulated to improve grip.

Its formulation makes it the most suitable glove for use in food contact. The global migration of components is low with all food simulates, in compliance with Regulation 10-11 of plastic materials intended to come into contact with food. Therefore, its use is recommended  in Supermarkets, Hypermarkets, Self-services of fruit, etc. Besides, its use in service stations is widespread, because of its low cost and balance between protection and passage of time.

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