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4 Best Gloves For Janitorial Cleaning

Choosing the right cleaning gloves for your janitorial or commercial cleaning company can be difficult. Typically, gloves used for performing janitorial and commercial cleaning tasks may be disposable or re-usable. How to find the best glove at the right price while maintaining a safe work environment for your employees is imperative. Always refer to the safety data sheet for guidance on the type of glove required for the chemical that is being used. This will ensure you are choosing the best gloves to use when providing janitorial cleaning services.

Disposable gloves (like other PPE) that are contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious materials may need to be treated as bio hazardous waste. Please refer to State, city and or county regulations concerning the transport and disposal of bio-hazardous waste. If you are providing janitorial services to a healthcare facility, follow the guidelines of that particular facility for disposing of gloves or other potentially contaminated materials.

How To Choose The Right Cleaning Glove?

Select the right cleaning gloves by choosing the type of gloves that are appropriate for the cleaning task. Most of the tasks janitorial workers will be performing will involve incidental contact with chemicals (i.e. tasks that don’t typically involve direct contact with the chemical). An exception to this may be the dilution process. If chemicals are being diluted manually, it may require a chemical resistant glove that offers additional barrier protection and resistance to permeation by the chemicals used.

The 4 Most Common Gloves For Janitorial Cleaning

1)Medical Exam Gloves

The FDA reviews “medical grade” gloves prior to approval to ensure that performance criteria such as leak and tear resistance are met. Just because a glove has not been submitted to the FDA for medical grade approval does not mean it isn’t safe. “Industrial grade” gloves may imply that they are strong, but it doesn’t mean that they are any stronger than “medical grade” gloves.

There are 3 different standards created for each type of material to be considered as a medical exam glove:

a) Nitrile Gloves: D6319

Nitrile gloves are made of a synthetic material and have rubber like properties. They are more puncture and chemical resistant than latex or vinyl gloves

b) Latex gloves: D3578

Latex gloves tend to fit better than nitrile or vinyl. They are less expensive, but some people are allergic to latex. Skin and more severe allergic reactions have been reported with latex. Therefore, latex gloves have gone out of favor recently.

c)Vinyl gloves: D5250

Vinyl gloves tend to be thinner and are less expensive. They are a good option when gloves are changed often. They are popular in the food industry.

*Just like you would read the label on a chemical solution before using (or buying it), you need to be more informed about gloves that you are buying.

2)Industrial Gloves:

General-purpose and or industrial gloves are adequate for many types of janitorial duties when exposure to hazardous chemicals or bio-hazardous materials is not anticipated. In order for gloves to be considered “medical grade,” they must pass certain safety tests required by the FDA.

Many industrial, general-purpose gloves are acceptable for most routine cleaning tasks that are outside of a hospital or healthcare facility. If you are cleaning a facility and anticipate contact with blood or other potentially contaminated materials, medical grade gloves are a safer choice.

How Thick Do Cleaning Gloves need to be?

General purpose gloves typically come in thicknesses between 4 and 8 millimeters. Thicker gloves are more protective (they are less likely to tear or puncture and offer a thicker barrier).

Tip: Always refer to the Chemical’s Safety Data Sheet for Guidance on Proper Glove Selection


3)Chemical resistant gloves:

Utility and chemical resistant gloves are more protective and are typically used when exposure to highly hazardous chemicals is anticipated (or when the SDS sheet specifies the use of a certain type of glove for a particular chemical). The use of caustic chemicals, e.g., strippers, alkaline degreasers, etc., are some examples.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheet for information (usually in section 8) relating to the type of glove that is required for the chemical you are using. Many chemical resistant gloves can be decontaminated and reused.

The ASTM standard below relates to chemical resistant gloves- this is important to consider when using caustic chemicals, including strippers that contain hazardous chemicals will be used;

*You can look up the chemical listed in the sds to find a glove that meets the criteria listed in the sheet- the sds will typically not recommend a brand of glove but will give the specs the glove should meet:

For more information on chemically resistant gloves read this:

4)Powdered Gloves:

The FDA banned the use of powdered medical gloves in March 2017 because of the potential allergic reactions to patients and doctors if the powder becomes airborne. Inhalation of the powder was found to cause severe allergic reactions. While powdered gloves may be easier to put on and take off, they do represent an increased risk to janitorial staff and probably should be avoided.

*Powder free- powder is usually corn starch- can cause allergies when inhaled

Here is a list of things you should look for when buying Cleaning gloves;

1)Type of material - Latex vs. vinyl vs. nitrile

2)Thickness of glove- 4-8 ml- 4-6mm are for general purpose without

3) Powdered or not

4)Level of risk- or potential for exposure to chemicals

Key Takeaways:

  • Gloves intended as bacteria barrier and not chemical barrier. If it’s just incidental contact with a chemical that’s ok, but when you are dealing with greater potential for contact- thicker, chemical resistant gloves should be used.

  • Latex can cause allergic reactions due to proteins present in the glove. They are a plant-based product that have proteins that can cause the allergic reaction. A lot of allergies in food are due to the presence of certain proteins that the body’s immune system responds to.

  • Disposable gloves should be changed after a splash or spill. Not for medical use means it hasn’t gone through any quality testing.

© 2022 Ace Cleaning Systems, Inc. All rights reserved


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