Disposable nitrile gloves refers to gloves that are intended for one-time use and have a thickness of 5-mil or less. Nitrile glove use is ubiquitous in heritage environments. However, not all gloves are created equal. Nitrile gloves are manufactured myriad ways, resulting in gloves with varied textures, chemical composition, and fit. Textured gloves should be avoided for use when handling art as should gloves that contain powders (gloves that are preferred are advertised as "powder-free").
Synonyms and Related Terms
Disposable gloves; "Rubber gloves"
Wearing gloves can protect art from having human oils and fingerprints deposited onto it. However, it should be kept in mind that the gloves themselves may impart materials onto art, which is why it is important to use the best (ie, most archival) glove when handling art.
Physical and Chemical Properties
|Manufacturer||Brand Name||Leaves a visible residue?||Modified Oddy Final result||Cl- content (ug/g)||Recommended for use?|
|Showa®||7500PF blue economy grade gloves||No||T||2||Yes|
|Ansell Ltd.||BioClean™ Biotac white nitrile cleanroom gloves||No||T||125||Yes|
|Uline||S-21081 black exam grade nitrile gloves||No||T||667||More work necessary|
|Fisherbrand™||Comfort blue nitrile gloves||No||T||--||More work necessary|
|Uline||S-14179 blue industrial nitrile gloves||No||T||--||More work necessary|
|Balco Industries, Inc.©||Premium Handcovers dark blue nitrile gloves||No||U||38||No|
|Showa®||8050PF N-Dex® blue disposable nitrile gloves||No||U||65||No|
|Condor®||Powder-free blue unlined nitrile gloves||No||U||--||No|
|Uline||S-16768 blue comfort industrial nitrile gloves||No||U||2630||No|
|Showa®||8005PF N-Dex® blue disposable nitrile gloves||Yes||T||2||No|
|Ansell Ltd.||Microflex® Onyx® N64 black exam gloves||Yes||T||--||No|
|Kimberly-Clark||KC500 Professional™ purple nitrile powder-free exam gloves||Yes||U||111||No|
|Ansell Ltd.||Microflex® FreeForm® SE blue powder-free nitrile gloves||Yes||U||357||No|
|The Safety Zone®||Black standard textured nitrile gloves||Yes||U||33||No|
|Sempermed®||SemperForce® black nitrile examination gloves||Yes||U||564||No|
|Showa®||6110PF green biodegradable disposable gloves||Yes||U||365||No|
|Kimberly-Clark||KC100 Professional™ Lavender™ nitrile exam gloves||Yes||U||642||No|
|NSI||FlexShield® 9.5" blue disposable nitrile gloves||Yes||U||588||No|
|Sempermed®||Sempercare® blue nitrile examination gloves||Yes||U||1580||No|
Forms and Sizes
Resources and Citations
Mason, J. (2018). Handling Heritage Objects Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa, Canada.
Hoffman, W. (2009). Silver tarnishing properties of gloves used in conservation [Research Report] Kingston (Ontario): Queens University.
Imamura, L. (2016). Investigation of nitrile gloves for the handling of silver objects [Research Report] Kingston (Ontario): Queens University.
Barker, C. S. (2010). How to select gloves: an overview for collections staff Washington, DC: National Parks Service. Report 1/12. Conserve O Gram.
Stephens, C. H., Breitung, E. M., Geiculescu, C., Strange, T. (2021). Determination of nitrile gloves appropriate for use when dry handling art Journal of the American Institute for Conservation doi.org/10.1080/01971360.2021.1913543
Summary: Results indicated that the best gloves to use when dry handling art include: Ansell Bioclean Biotac white cleanroom gloves and Showa 7500PF blue economy gloves. Ideal testing for nitrile gloves is ion chromatography, where the chlorine content should be determined. Gloves with less than 100 ppm chlorine are best to use. Testing of gloves should be conducted bi-annually to make sure they remain appropriate for use.
Fact Sheet: Disposable Nitrile Gloves in Chemical Labs. 2022. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Environmental Health & Radiation Safety Department. [accessed 4/11/2022]