What are the Different Types of Rubber Gloves?

M.R. Anglin

There are different types of rubber gloves that are used in a variety of fields depending on how durable the gloves are. The most popular of all is latex which is commonly used in the medical field. Nitrile is also used in the medical field but is not used in surgery.

Rubber gloves can be used around the house to protect hands while cleaning various surfaces.
Rubber gloves can be used around the house to protect hands while cleaning various surfaces.

Latex is the most popular and notable of all the types of rubber gloves. Latex is strong, elastic, and slip resistant. It is also leak and tear resistant which makes it ideal for the medical profession and is used often in surgery. They are exceptional in wet situations and allow the wearer greater sensitivity when using tools and instruments. Latex gloves are also slightly tacky which further increases the wearer’s sensitivity.

Latex gloves are often used by nurses and doctors.
Latex gloves are often used by nurses and doctors.

Though latex gloves are resistant to chemicals and fluid bound diseases, more and more people are developing latex allergies. Latex is a natural product, and the protein it is composed of may cause adverse reactions. Some of these gloves are powdered, and that powder further can act as a carrier of the protein and cause more allergic reactions.

Nitrile is an alternative to latex. Nitrile is a synthetic material, and as such, does not have protein. Therefore nitrile gloves are not likely to cause allergies in people. Nitrile interacts to the heat of the wearer’s hand in order to create a snug fit. This is ideal for increased sensitivity.

Nitrile rubber gloves are also soft and resist chemicals much like latex. However, its ability to resist liquids is not as documented as latex is. Nitrile is appropriate for the auto and industrial fields. It is also used in law enforcement, dental, and pharmaceutical fields.

In addition to the medical, auto, and law enforcement industries, rubber gloves are often used in the home. Dishwashing gloves protect the hands from the water and grease. Lately, dishwashing gloves are including sponges on the palms and fingers to increase cleaning ability. Manufacturers are also rethinking glove design and are making them more fashionable.

Cleaning gloves are used around the house to clean various household surfaces. They are often made out of latex and some have antibacterial treatment in order to inhibit the growth of bacteria. These rubber gloves often have folded sleeves that catch chemicals and liquids in order to prevent them from going down the arm. Some cleaning gloves are even adding scouring pads on the fingers and palms to make cleaning easier.

Rubber gloves are sold in three grades: medical, high risk and utility.
Rubber gloves are sold in three grades: medical, high risk and utility.

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Discussion Comments


Can neoprene and nitrile rubber gloves withstand ammonia?


I wore disposable rubber gloves to clean the room where my nine puppies were staying last fall. It got pretty nasty in there.

They were born in a barn, and I would have let them stay there, but one of them got his head trapped inside a glass jar. I knew then that I had to keep them in a safe place where I could monitor them.

I started keeping them in our outdoor utility room. It has a concrete floor, and I covered it with newspaper every day after I removed the dirty paper. I used my rubber gloves to roll up the soiled paper and shove it down in a bag.

I loved the protection that a simple pair of disposable rubber gloves offered me. I would have hated to touch that paper with my bare hands.


I have to use dishwashing gloves in the winter to protect my hands. They become very dry in the winter. If I expose them to water for several minutes, they often crack and bleed, and it is very painful.

I tried simply putting lotion on them after they cracked, but it burned. I knew I needed to shield them from the water.

I like wearing dishwashing gloves, because I don’t feel the need to wash my hands after scrubbing a particularly greasy dish. I simply rinse the grease off the gloves and keep on washing.

Since I began using the gloves, I haven’t had any problems with cracked skin. Applying lotion to my dry winter skin is no longer painful.

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