Glove Selection Guide

This exhaustive glove selection guide will help to determine what type of work gloves are needed in different working situations and environments.

What to do

How To Do It

1. Acknowledge the dangers of the materials you'll be working with.

 1. Base selection of glove type and material on the type of exposure and nature of the hazard. Some chemicals can easily penetrate gloves that work very well for other chemicals.

Consider these factors:

  • Chemical type

  • Temperature extremes, cryogenic properties

  • Physical hazards (sharps, piercing objects)

  • pH

  • Toxicity

  • Infectious potential of biological hazards

2. Read theSafety Data Sheets (SDSs) for each chemical involved.

2. Determine if you'll have incidental or extended contact with the hazardous materials.


Incidental contact 

(little or no direct contact with the hazardous material) includes these situations:

  • Accidental spills or splashes

  • Accidental overspray from a dispensing device

  • Handling infectious agents that require barrier protection

  • To prevent contamination of materials during handling

If you will have incidental contact, go to the Step 3.2. Extended contact includes these situations:

  • Handling highly contaminated materials

  • Submerging hands in a chemical or other hazardous substance

  • Need for physical protection from temperature extremes or sharp/piercing objects

If you will have extended contact, go to Step 4.

3. For incidental contact, follow these selection guidelines.

Disposable, surgical-type gloves are appropriate for incidental contact.Nitrile gloves are preferred over latex because of their chemical resistance, their tendency to visibly rip when punctured, and to prevent possible latex allergies.

  • See the Glove Selection Chart below for advantages and disadvantages of commonly used surgical-type gloves.

Disposable glove usage:

  • Check for rips or punctures before use.

  • Remove and replace gloves immediately with new ones when a chemical spills or splashes on them.

  • Never wash or reuse disposable gloves.

  • Always remove glove before touching common objects such as doorknobs, phones, or elevator buttons.

4. For extended contact, follow these guidelines.

More substantial gloves are required for extended use.

  • Norfoil gloves are recommended for highly toxic materials and materials that are absorbed through the skin.

  • See the Glove Selection Chart below for advantages and disadvantages of commonly used gloves for extended contact.

Many gloves intended for extended contact are reusable.

  • Examine the gloves for

    • Prior contamination

    • Rips or punctures before and after each use

    • Look for changes in color or texture (Signs of deterioration)

      • Replace gloves as soon as signs of degeneration appear.

      • Wash non disposal gloves after removal and air dry in controlled environment.

      • Wear inner surgical gloves for added measure.

5. Dispose of used and damaged gloves according to whether or not they're contaminated with a hazardous material.

ALWAYS wash your hands after removing gloves. 

Once selected, glove use requirements for your lab should be posted in your Chemical Hygiene Plan flipchart under the Standard Operating Procedures section.Consult the Glove Comparison Chart for an overview of commonly used glove types for laboratory use and their general advantages and disadvantages.Glove Selection and Usage above for more information on how to select the right glove for a job.Once selected, glove use requirements for your lab should be posted in your Chemical Hygiene Plan flipchart under the Standard Operating Procedures section.

Glove Comparison Chart

Glove material

Intended use

Advantages and disadvantages

Latex (natural rubber)

 Incidental contact

  • Good for biological and water-based materials.

  • Poor for organic solvents.

  • Little chemical protection.

  • Hard to detect puncture holes.

  • Can cause or trigger latex allergies


 Incidental contact (disposable exam glove)Extended contact (thicker reusable glove)

  • Excellent general use glove. Good for solvents, oils, greases, and some acids and bases.

  • Clear indication of tears and breaks.

Good alternative for those with latex allergies.

Nylon Inspection Gloves

Incidental contact

  • Lint free nylon Stretchable

  • Reversible

  • Disposable

  • Handle hotter parts Feel for flaws

  • Protects hands

  • Keep parts clean

  • Avoids static

  • Prevents scratching

Cotton Inspection Gloves

Extended contact

  • Bleached cotton jersey

  • Soft & hypo-allergenic

  • Eliminates scratching

  • Handle hotter parts sooner

  • Prevents transfer of hand oils• Disposable & recyclable

  • Great value & quality

For QA Quality Control department, jewelers, hobby & coin collectors, antique & art handling, PCB electronic film inspection, dark room, photography and print departments and more

Butyl rubber

 Extended contact

  • Good for ketones and esters.Poor for gasoline and aliphatic, aromatic, and halogenated hydrocarbons.


 Extended contact

  • Good for acids, bases, alcohols, fuels, peroxides, hydrocarbons, and phenols.

  • Poor for halogenated and aromatic hydrocarbons.

  • Good for most hazardous chemicals.


 Extended contact

  • Good for most hazardous chemicals.

  • Poor fit (Note: Dexterity can be partially regained by using a heavier weight Nitrile glove over the Norfoil/Silver Shield glove.


Extended contact

  • Good for chlorinated and aromatic solvents.

  • Good resistance to cuts and abrasions.

  • Poor for ketones.

  • Expensive.

 Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

 Specific use

  • Good for acids, bases, oils, fats, peroxides, and amines.

  • Good resistance to abrasions.

  • Poor for most organic solvents.

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)

 Specific use

  • Good for aromatic and chlorinated solvents.

  • Poor for water-based solutions.

Stainless steel Kevlar


Specific use

Cut-resistant gloves.Sleeves are also available to provide protection to wrists and forearms.(If potential for biological or chemical contamination: wear appropriate disposable gloves on top of your cut-resistant gloves and discard after use).

Cryogenic Resistant Material (Leather)

Specific use

For use with cryogenic materials.Designed to prevent frostbite. Note: Never dip gloves directly into liquid nitrogen

Flexible PackagingIan McClure