The comprehensive guide to medical gloves

Everything you need to know about medical gloves

What kind of gloves do doctors use?

Doctors and general medical practitioners use disposable gloves to provide barrier protection between themselves and the patient. Doctors normally use non-sterile nitrile or latex gloves. Latex gloves have been used in the industry for longer. However, nitrile gloves are now more highly favoured as they offer higher puncture-resistant and don’t need to be powdered.

What kind of gloves do surgeons use?

Surgeons need to use a special sterilised disposable glove. As surgeons’ line of work often involves coming into contact with open cuts, they must use sterilised disposable gloves. Most surgeons need to use sterile disposable gloves that are packaged in individually wrapped packets per pair. However, some less high-risk practitioners can use sterilised disposable gloves that come in packs of 50 or 100 disposable gloves per box.

What gloves are better in the medical industry nitrile or vinyl?

In the medical industry, nitrile gloves are better than vinyl gloves. Nitrile gloves are of higher quality than vinyl gloves, and nitrile never has to be powdered. Nitrile gloves are less likely to break or become compromised then vinyl gloves meaning nitrile provides the wearer better barrier protection.

What do Nitrile Gloves protect against?

Nitrile gloves protect against physical hazards. They provide the user with a physical barrier of protection between them and potential hazard. Nitrile disposable gloves can protect you from bacteria, viruses, microorganisms, bio-hazards, dirt and chemicals.

Illustration of Medical Worker wearing medical gloves
Do hospitals use latex or nitrile gloves?

Hospitals use both latex and nitrile gloves. Latex allergies are on the rise, and frequent exposure to latex can cause severe dermatitis, so hospitals often have both nitrile and latex options available for their staff.

Why do doctors wear blue gloves?

Doctors wear blue gloves because it is easy to see when the glove fails. For example, it is easy to see if the glove has become compromised by being torn or punctured, or it is easy to see if the glove has become contaminated. The same theory applies to white disposable gloves, which is why white and blue disposable gloves are the most common in the medical industry.  

Does every country have the same standards for medical gloves?

No, each country can have different standards for a glove to be described and marketed as being medically safe. For example, in Australia, we have some of the strictest requirements for a disposable glove to be certified and registered as medically safe by our Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

What are chemotherapy gloves?

Chemotherapy gloves are disposable gloves that meet the standard ASTM D6978 for Assessment of Resistance of Medical Gloves to Permeation by Chemotherapy Drugs. Only disposable gloves that are certified to ASTM D6978 should be used in environments where contact with Chemotherapy is likely. The Glove Company have a new disposable glove that is ASTM D6978 certified coming out later in the year. Closer to the launch date, we will provide more detail and information regarding safe handling of chemotherapy drugs.

If you have any other medical glove questions, contact our Glove Experts.

Yvette Staples
Yvette Staples

Marketing & Communications Manager
Health & Safety Industry.

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