Passing the Scrub Test: How to Pick the Right Gloves for Deep Cleaningperson cleaning counter with a sponge

Passing the Scrub Test: How to Pick the Right Gloves for Deep Cleaning

Tackling a heavy duty cleaning job? Then you need heavy duty gloves. But how do you know which ones to pick? With so many brands to choose from it can seem overwhelming, but we're here to help. 

Let's start off by going over some basics, and then we'll dive into disposable glove materials, brands, durability, and chemical resistance levels

The Difference Between Sterile and Non-Sterile Gloves

The short answer is that non-sterile gloves have not been made to FDA specifications and sterile gloves have been right out of the box. For sterile gloves, the FDA is hyper-focused on making sure that the final product is free of microbes and can be used during surgery. 

While this type of glove was created for medical applications to stop the spread of infection, they can certainly be used for other purposes. But the bottom line is, you might not need sterile gloves if your cleaning solution does the sterilizing for you. 

It's easy to find non-sterile disposable gloves for a wide range of purposes. However, when you need special gloves that can handle hardcore chemicals and rough scrubbing, let's keep looking.

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are the most prominent, and offer both increased flexibility and lower pricing than vinyl gloves and nitrile gloves.

Relatively speaking, latex gloves are a cheap option. And they are very resistant to cuts and tears as well as punctures, abrasions, and many common household chemicals. Being very heat-resistant is a nice bonus.

One of the best things about these gloves is that they are a little thinner. This helps provide more dexterity when you are using them for various dirty jobs, you'll still have a full range of motion.

Latex gloves may not hold up well to automotive, painting, and refinishing chemicals, however. But they still offer the stretching flexibility you may need for tight spaces and maneuverability. So for fine motor skills cleaning and less astringent cleaners, like home entertainment systems and gaming consoles, latex gloves are ideal.

Vinyl Gloves

When it comes to disposable gloves, vinyl gloves are very specialized. They don't handle quite as much as latex gloves or nitrile gloves; but what they do handle, they handle very well.

For example, vinyl gloves are great at enduring garden chemicals. And they do a great job at handling household chemicals, painting chemicals, and refinishing chemicals. In comparison, latex gloves don't hold up with those last two chemicals, so vinyl may be a bit more resistant to deep cleaning and sterilization.

In most other major categories, however, vinyl gloves aren't as versatile or flexible as latex gloves, but they are more durable. For example, vinyl gloves are not as resistant to tears, punctures, and heat.

In the long run, it's fair to say that vinyl gloves sacrifice dexterity for durability, at least when it comes to chemicals. Vinyl gloves handle harsh chemicals very well, but they can break or otherwise get damaged much more easily than latex gloves. 

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile is the reigning champion in the glove arena, and for good reason.

Nitrile gloves can handle everything that latex and vinyl gloves can handle, with ease. In fact, nitrile gloves are even more resistant to punctures and abrasions than vinyl, and they more heat-resistant than latex.

To get higher quality, however, you pay a higher price. Nitrile gloves tend to be more expensive than all other gloves, so that's definitely something to keep in mind when making your choices.

The situation doesn't always call for nitrile, and oftentimes you can get away with latex or vinyl for a cleaning job - this is especially true if you only need the gloves for a few specific purposes. 

In the final analysis, nitrile gloves are the most durable disposable gloves you can get, but they are also more costly overall. Nitrile is not quite as elastic or flexible as latex, but just as strong as vinyl for handling harsh chemicals - with higher durability.

Hybrid Gloves

These newcomers came about as an eco-friendly alternative to latex, vinyl, and nitrile; as well as a combination of all their strengths to form a custom solution. Hybrid gloves are latex free for those with latex allergies, as well as powder free. They have 3 mil thickness that rivals vinyl, and all while being less expensive than nitrile gloves. 

Hybrid gloves won't stand up to harsh chemicals as well as nitrile, but are as effective as latex and vinyl all while being recyclable and reducing material waste. They're FDA food accepted, and phthalate-free, as well as middle a good middle-of-the-road choice that also helps the environment.

The Right Glove for the Job

Take stock of what you need the gloves for and then make the right choice. Here are a few use case scenarios to help you make your decision:

  • If you're planning on using less abrasive cleaning solutions and are focused on saving money, latex gloves are the way to go.
  • If you're staring at an oven with years of debris to remove, choosing vinyl is perfectly reasonable.
  • When cleaning a laboratory, you'll need sterile medical grade nitrile gloves at a higher price point.
  • If you avoid harsh chemicals at all costs and are careful about minimizing your waste and protecting the environment, but are looking at a heavy scrubbing job, hybrid gloves are perfect for you.
Stay safe out there, glove up and get the job done!