What are Black Latex Gloves?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Black latex gloves are latex gloves which have been colored with a black dye, so that they are a deep black color rather than the more conventional white or cream. Several companies also make black nitrile gloves, which look very similar to latex gloves but are manufactured from nitrile, a material which will not trigger latex allergies. Companies which stock gloves such as medical and beauty suppliers tend to carry black latex gloves, and these gloves can also sometimes be purchased at drug stores.

Tattoo artists use black gloves to frame the site of a tattoo.
Tattoo artists use black gloves to frame the site of a tattoo.

The color isn't the only thing about black latex gloves which stands out. These gloves tend to be tougher and more durable, and while they are not sterile, they are usually thick enough to keep bacteria and viruses from penetrating the glove, which makes them safe for use in biohazardous situations. Black latex gloves also do not show stains, which can make them less distracting.

Black latex gloves are often tougher than other colors such as green or white.
Black latex gloves are often tougher than other colors such as green or white.

Tattoo artists often like to use black gloves because they can be used to frame the site of a tattoo, allowing for clear and crisp visualization of the area. The gloves also do not show ink stains, reducing distractions and allowing the tattoo artist to focus on the area of interest. Automotive mechanics, beauticians, and other people with somewhat messy jobs use black latex gloves to reduce visible stains as well, making it easier for them to focus and see what they are doing.

People who have latex allergies should inform medical personnel so that the appropriate gloves are used.
People who have latex allergies should inform medical personnel so that the appropriate gloves are used.

Classically, black latex gloves are not powdered, and many companies texture their gloves to provide additional grip and traction. The lack of powder can make the gloves a bit more difficult to put on, and it is important to draw the gloves on carefully so that they do not tear or rupture, thereby compromising their ability to protect the hand. Powder-free gloves will also not leave stains and marks, as there is no powder to create distinctive markings, which is a definite benefit in the eyes of some users.

Some medical personnel like to use black gloves because they do not show stains from blood and other body fluids. In regions where latex and latex-free gloves are used, the latex-free gloves may be black, blue, or purple so that they can be readily identified, making it easy for first responders to pick the right gloves for the task. People with latex allergies should make sure to inform medical personnel about their allergies so that appropriate gloves are used.

Latex-free gloves may be black, blue or purple so that they can be readily identified.
Latex-free gloves may be black, blue or purple so that they can be readily identified.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

jcraig

@kentuckycat - I know I have seen black vinyl gloves. They might be a little more durable, but I don't know necessarily about multiple uses. I'm sure if you looked around it wouldn't be too hard to find black rubber gloves from an online site. I'm sure someone sells them.

I have never gotten any tattoos, but I thought it was interesting that tattoo artists would use black gloves to frame whatever they are working on.

kentuckycat

@TreeMan - I have never used them for painting, but I have used them for shellacking, because I am allergic to shellac. I agree that they can get very hot.

I really like them, though, because they are a little thicker than the normal disposable gloves you can buy. Does anyone know if they make black rubber gloves or something that might be a little more durable for multiple use?

TreeMan

I was helping my friend paint outside one day, and we were wearing black latex gloves, since that is all she had for some reason. They might show fewer stains, but they get hot a lot faster than normal exam gloves would.

The next day I made sure to bring a pair of my own gloves.

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