Myths and realities of laboratory gloves

Virtually every task in the laboratory entails the use of gloves and it is fair to say that they are our constant companion for the most of the working day. Not surprisingly for something which shares such as an intimate relationship with our lives, gloves may be a frequent topic of discussion. With this in mind and taking into account the huge diversity of gloves used in the laboratory, is it any surprise that stories relating to gloves have reached mythical proportions.

We will now consider some of the most commonly encountered gloves myths and provide a reality check.

  1. Myth 1: Only natural latex gloves can give me an allergy
  2. Myth 2: All nitrile gloves offer the same chemical resistance
  3. Myth 3: Gloves of the same material and thickness offer a similar level of chemical resistance
  4. Myth 4: All gloves have the same barrier properties
  5. Myth 5: Gloves that are textured offer better grip
  6. Myth 6: Powder-free gloves are always “clean”
  7. Myth 7: One disposable glove can meet all my needs in the laboratory


Selecting gloves is a complex business and the huge diversity in glove choices does not make it easy. We have discussed a range of topical subjects which may cloud judgement. Hopefully a better understanding of the realities surrounding glove myths will contribute to selecting the correct glove for particular applications.

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