Disposable gloves are in very high demand in the UK and the rest of the world we’re currently living in. From medical and healthcare to many other types of employment, they are an essential piece of PPE. It’s important that businesses know what they’re using is correct and fit for purpose. If you’re looking for a trusted and established provider of disposable gloves in the UK, look no further.

How can we help?

We have decades of experience in providing a wide variety of quality-checked and accredited PPE to businesses in all sectors. By speaking with us we can provide more than just the supply of disposable gloves in the UK. Moreover, we can offer professional advice on the types of disposable gloves that suit your work. We can also direct you to the relevant sources if you’d like to read more on the subject. A great place to start is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) article on skin at work and glove types which can be read here.

What is the difference betwen Vinyl, Nitrile and Latex disposable gloves?

Disposable gloves come in many different formats and materials. The most common are vinyl, latex, neoprene, natural rubber, nitrile rubber and PVC to name only a few. The levels of protection, efficacy and suitability for the task at hand vary from one to another. So, you should always research what is required. An excellent overview on types of disposable gloves for working with chemicals can be found in this free download from the HSE.

Do not forget that, although usage of disposable gloves typically depends on the material they are made of, within this you also must consider which standards the gloves have been tested to. For more detail on the pitfalls to watch out for here, please see the Testing and Performance section below.

Typically, for most personal care, food handling and cleaning applications, the main types of disposable gloves you would need are:

1. Vinyl gloves.

The lower-cost workhorse of the disposable glove types, vinyl gloves are suitable for a wide variety of applications. Used for food preparation, janitorial/cleaning tasks, and light/low-risk examination procedures. Vinyl gloves are made from PVC (poly-vinyl chloride). They carry a very low risk of allergies and have a long shelf life.

Typically tested to all parts of EN 455, some vinyl gloves will also perform well in the EN 374 tests for chemical and virus protection. Make sure as a minimum they have passed the EN 455 part 1 freedom-from holes test to AQL 1.5 if you are using these for medical/examination use. However, AQL 2.5 and 4.0 are fine for general janitorial and industrial use. See our ‘Glove Standards’ explained section later in this page for more detail.

2. Latex gloves.

The ‘original’ (and used to be the most popular) disposable glove – and even now, people will ask for ‘latex gloves’ when they are looking for disposable gloves. Made from natural rubber latex, these are flexible, stretchy, lightweight, and strong. However, made from natural rubber, they tend to cause the most allergic reactions. Therefore, they do not tend to be used in patient care – even if the wearer does not have an allergy the patient may do. Otherwise, these can be used in very similar areas to vinyl gloves. As a more resilient material, they are more suited to wearing for longer periods and in more industrial usage where tear and snag resistance on sharp edges is important.

Latex gloves are only really tested to the 4 parts to the EN 455 standard as latex typically has poor chemical resistance. See our ‘glove standards explained’ document linked later in this page.

3. Nitrile gloves.

Nitrile disposable gloves have been significantly increasing in popularity for many years. A good alternative to Latex, they are stretchy and comfortable for extended periods of use. They have good puncture and tear-resistance and excellent chemical, bacteria and virus resistance. They are made of synthetic materials so have low frequency of allergies. Suitable for daily use in most aspects of hygiene, personal care and food preparation, they are also used extensively in invasive surgery, clean-room environments as well as gardening and industrial uses.

There is a wide range of nitriles on the market with varying performances. Typically, people will expect nitriles to perform well against chemicals, viruses and other mico-organisms. However, be vigilant as many have not passed the critical EN 374 part 5 test for virus penetration. See our ‘glove standards explained’ document linked later for more information.

The below image provides a useful quick comparison across the different disposable glove types, but it is important to always check industry/application specific guidance. Most experienced disposable glove suppliers will also be able to recommend the glove types most suited to your tasks. Again, please don’t forget to verify the specification of the disposable gloves you are using to ensure they meet the exact needs of your application.

types of disposable gloves scotland

Testing and performance

With the correct type/material for your disposable gloves, you now want to get products that meet the appropriate safety standards. Especially in personal care and food hygiene, you must ensure that the gloves are suitable for all the applicable tests.

In the document linked below, we provide an explanation of the main EN tests that are the benchmarks for performance. However, this is not an exhaustive list. As always, we advise to check current guidance for your industry and application. If you have any questions, please do give us a call and we will be happy to provide any advice, recommendations or suggestions where to go for relevant advice.

The links below contain useful and trustworthy information about disposable gloves and how/when to use them:

Shop our range of disposable gloves

We currently stock a wide range of disposable gloves and are strategically located to service the UK. All our gloves are from our trusted and accredited suppliers. Therefore, they hold the required quality standards for use in the current environment. Click the link below to shop our range, or get in touch today to chat about how we can help.

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