Chemical Resistant Gloves: Protection Levels

No matter what you’re handling, whether it’s harsh chemicals or just everyday cleaning supplies, you want to make sure your hands are protected. But with so many different types of gloves out there, how do you know which one is right for the job?

Chemical resistant gloves – an overview

Chemical-resistant gloves are made of various materials including rubber, neoprene, latex, nitrile, and Kevlar. They are used to protect hands from hazardous chemicals, oils, greases, and other dangerous substances.

When choosing a chemical-resistant glove, it is important to select one that is appropriate for the task at hand. It is also important to choose a glove that fits properly. Loose gloves can be difficult to work with and can provide less protection than well-fitting gloves.

Different levels of protection offered by chemical-resistant gloves

Chemical-resistant gloves need to meet or exceed OSHA’s personal protective equipment (PPE) standards for general industry (29 CFR 1910.132-1910.140). Standard (29 CFR 1910.138) mandates that employers are required to provide chemical-resistant gloves when they are working in environments exposed to chemical hazards.

Also, the ANSI/ISEA 105-2016, American National Standard for Hand Protection Classification, provides a method for manufacturers to rate the protection level of their chemical-resistant gloves against certain chemicals and contaminants.

If you are searching for a chemical-resistant glove that meets the needs of the environment you are working in, make sure to review the manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet(s) (SDS – formerly called Material Safety Data Sheet) and give most attention to sections 8 and 11. Also, follow the manufacturer’s chemical resistance guide for the glove materials. However, the chemical resistance of the gloves will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Factors that affect the protection level of chemical-resistant gloves:

  • Glove size and thickness
  • Glove linings
  • Glove material
  • Glove care

The level of protection offered by a glove depends much on the material it is made of and the thickness of the glove. The thicker the glove, the more protection it offers. However, thicker gloves can also make it more difficult to do delicate tasks.

Of the materials on the market, butyl rubber and nitrile rubber are two of the most popular materials used in chemical-resistant gloves. Butyl rubber provides excellent resistance to a wide range of chemicals, including oil, gasoline, and other hydrocarbons. However, it is not recommended for use with strong acids or alkalis.

Gloves made of latex or nitrile offer good protection against most chemicals and oils. Nitrile rubber is also resistant to a wide range of chemicals, but it performs better than butyl rubber when exposed to strong acids and alkalis. In addition, nitrile rubber is more puncture resistant than butyl rubber. However, they are not as effective against strong acids or bases.

Gloves made of Kevlar are stronger and more durable than other types of gloves. They offer excellent protection against cuts and abrasions. However, they are not as effective against chemicals or heat.

Factors to consider while choosing the right chemical-resistant gloves

Chemical-resistant gloves are made of different materials, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. To choose the right gloves for your needs, you’ll need to consider the following factors:

  • The type of chemicals you’ll be using: Some chemicals will cause gloves to degrade more quickly than others. If you’ll be using a particularly aggressive chemical, you’ll need to choose a glove material that can withstand it.
  • The duration of use: If you’ll only be using the gloves for a short period of time, you may be able to get away with less durable material. However, if you’ll be using the gloves for long periods or on a regular basis, you’ll need something that will hold up over time.
  • The level of protection you need: Certain materials provide more protection than others. If you’re working with dangerous chemicals, you’ll need to choose a material that will provide the highest level of protection.
  • Your budget: Obviously, more durable and protective materials will cost more than less durable materials. You’ll need to balance your budget with your needs to find the suitable gloves for your situation.

How to use chemical-resistant gloves effectively

Chemical-resistant gloves are made from a variety of materials, each with its own set of characteristics that make it ideal for specific work environments and tasks. To select the best glove for your needs, you need to consider the following factors:

  • The type of chemical you will be working with
  • The concentration of the chemical
  • The length of time you will be exposed to the chemical
  • The temperature of the chemical
  • The potential for skin contact

After you have considered all of these factors, you can narrow down your choices and select the glove that will provide the best protection for your specific needs.

Some common myths about chemical-resistant gloves

There are many myths about chemical-resistant gloves. We are here to clear up some common misconceptions.

Myth #1: All gloves provide the same level of protection. Wrong! The level of protection provided by a glove depends on several factors, including the type of glove, the material it is made of, the thickness of the material, and how well it fits.

Myth #2: Chemical-resistant gloves are all made of latex.

Wrong again! There are many different materials used to make chemical-resistant gloves, including latex, neoprene, nitrile, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Myth #3: Thicker gloves always provide more protection. Not necessarily. While it is true that thicker gloves will provide more physical protection from punctures and abrasion, they may not always provide better chemical protection.

It depends on the specific material the glove is made of. For example, a thick latex glove will provide more physical protection than a thin nitrile glove, but the nitrile glove will provide better chemical protection.

Myth #4: I don’t need to worry about chemicals if I’m wearing gloves. Wrong! Even if you are wearing gloves, you should still take precautions to avoid contact with chemicals.

Remember that chemicals can enter your body through your skin, so it is important to select a glove that provides adequate coverage and that fits snugly so that there are no gaps through which chemicals can enter. In addition, you should always wash your hands thoroughly after removing your gloves to remove any residual chemicals that may be on them.

Do’s and don’ts while using chemical-resistant gloves

There are four main levels of chemical resistance for gloves: Level 1 offers the least protection, while level 4 offers the most. Do’s:

  • Read the glove manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Follow the recommended maximum use time for the chemical.
  • Inspect gloves regularly for signs of degradation, such as cracks, holes, or tears.
  • Wash gloves after each use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Store gloves in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.


  • Don’t use gloves that have been exposed to chemicals without first washing them.
  • Don’t wear gloves that are too big or too small.

How to take care of your chemical-resistant gloves

No matter what type of gloves you choose, it is important to take care of them properly to ensure that they will be effective in protecting you from chemicals. Here are some tips on how to take care of your gloves:

  • Store your gloves in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  • Do not store your gloves in an area where they will be exposed to chemicals or other substances that could damage them.
  • Before using your gloves, inspect them for signs of wear or damage. If you find any damage, do not use the gloves and contact the manufacturer for replacement or repair.
  • After using your gloves, clean them with soap and water and dry them completely before storing them.
  • If you are using reusable gloves, sanitize them between uses with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.

Some frequently asked questions about chemical-resistant gloves

Q: What are chemical-resistant gloves made of?

A: Chemical-resistant gloves are usually made of latex, nitrile, or neoprene.

Q: What is the difference between gloves that are resistant to chemicals and those that are not?

A: Gloves not resistant to chemicals will provide no protection against them. Gloves resistant to chemicals will provide some level of protection against them.

Q: How do I know if a glove is truly chemical resistant?

A: The best way to know if a glove is truly chemical resistant is to check the product literature or ask the manufacturer.

In Closing

Chemical-resistant gloves are designed to protect the hands from dangerous chemicals while working in certain environments. While there are safety standards that employers and glove manufacturers must adhere to, they can vary from one job and manufacturer to another. Make sure to check the Safety Data Sheet and the manufacturer’s chemical resistance recommendation for the gloves you are considering.

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James Sylvester
About James Sylvester

James S. Sylvester is an experienced OSHA Safety Supervisor with years of experience in the construction and oil & gas industries. He focuses on workplace safety, occupational health and safety systems. Learn more about James' here or connect with him on Twitter