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Nitrile. What is it exactly? Why use it for gloves?

What is Nitrile made of?

Nitrile is one of the most common glove materials. But do you know what nitrile is? And why are nitrile gloves one of the most popular in comparison to latex or vinyl? Read below to find out!

What Is Nitrile?

Nitrile is a form of rubber. The full name is nitrile butadiene rubber. It is technically classified as a type of latex. Don’t worry, unlike traditional latex, nitrile does not contain traditional latex in it. It is a synthetic version that is perfect for anyone who cannot wear rubber latex gloves due to latex skin allergies.

Creating nitrile is chemically complex, as it involves mixing two synthetic rubber polymers together. These two copolymers, known as acrylonitrile and butadiene, are mixed, blended, and stabilized in order to create a thin, elastic synthetic latex that is then shaped into nitrile gloves.

Why Create a Synthetic Latex Material?

There are several reasons why nitrile, and nitrile gloves, were developed. First, there is the allergy problem; a significant number of people who would otherwise wear latex gloves as part of their everyday jobs simply could not because of latex skin allergies.

There are additional reasons why nitrile gloves are a better choice. Nitrile gloves have a higher resistance to acids and oils than those made from natural latex, which makes them advantageous when people are in situations where they may be exposed to such material.

Nitrile gloves are also naturally abrasion and puncture resistant as well, which adds even more protection to the wearer. Finally, nitrile gloves, even disposable nitrile gloves, provide elevated levels of tactile sensitivity and conform very well to the hand - sometimes even better than a natural latex glove.

Uses for Nitrile Gloves

When it comes to gloves, nitrile can be used in an almost unlimited number of ways and across dozens, if not hundreds, of professions. Thanks to the nature of these gloves, nitrile has often become the first choice for many professionals throughout the globe. Nitrile gloves are often used in the following ways, though this is certainly not a complete list:

  • The medical industry loves this material, as it provides great protection against contamination and better durability than latex.

  • Scientists handling caustic or dangerous materials rely on these gloves to ensure they have enough dexterity to handle samples safely.

  • Tattoo artists and body piercers use these gloves to keep their customers safe and healthy while performing body modifications.

  • Food service professionals use nitrile gloves as the material can be made food-safe, making these gloves an excellent choice for preparing, handling, and serving food.

  • Hairdressers often wear these gloves while dyeing or treating customers’ hair to protect themselves from hair chemicals and to provide a sterile environment for their customers.

  • Auto mechanics and other tradesmen use nitrile gloves to protect themselves from grease, oil, and other related damage while working on engines, transmissions, and other components.

  • While Carpenters and construction workers do not use disposable nitrile gloves very often, many wear cloth or canvas safety gloves coated in nitrile to provide an extra layer of protection and grip while on the job.

Disposing of Nitrile Gloves

Since a nitrile glove is created through a synthetic process, many may think that these types of gloves may not be as easy to dispose of as a traditional latex glove or one made from a different type of material. While it is true that nitrile is much more durable than traditional latex, a nitrile glove is indeed biodegradable, just like its traditional latex cousin. This process does take longer than natural latex, however, due to the synthetic nature of this latex.

At the same time, nitrile gloves have an advantage over latex in that they can be recycled, whereas a typical latex glove cannot. Recycling nitrile gloves is not as easy as typical consumer recyclables, though. Instead, nitrile glove manufacturers have programs where they offer collection and return services for their own personal protective equipment made from recyclable materials (including nitrile) so that this equipment can be recycled properly.

Increased durability, its versatility, and its ability to be recycled and reused. As a result, nitrile has become increasingly popular across multiple industries.

Will nitrile ever completely replace traditional latex? Most likely not. Will it continue to provide the best of both worlds for a long time to come? It is almost certain. Nitrile is here to stay!

Advetage Solutions LLC is proud to be a trusted supplier to hospitals, state and local health agencies, and the federal government. Give us a try and experience the quality of our exam gloves for yourself. We may be reached at (424) 292-8432, or by email at

To purchase gloves right away, and online, please use this link: Guardian™ NC4 Gloves


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