Nitrile Gloves
Acid Resistance

  • 4 minute read
  • 20 March, 2020
  • Donald Gillespie

Often labelled the ‘workhorse’ of the safety glove industry, nitrile gloves are popular disposable glove choice because of their high levels of chemical resistance – including resistance to certain acids - especially when compared to latex or vinyl gloves.

At Unigloves, we’ve been producing disposable gloves for a range of industries for over 30 years. In that time, we’ve innovated our manufacturing process to make nitrile gloves more durable, more flexible, and more comfortable to wear, making them the perfect disposable safety glove for almost any application. Here, we outline the benefits of nitrile gloves’ acid resistance and take a closer look at the types of acids commonly found in UK workplaces for which nitrile gloves are a superior safety solution.

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Nitrile: The chemical resistant glove

Nitrile gloves are a synthetic rubber glove which is latex-free and designed to protect against a range of hazardous materials. Nitrile gloves’ acid resistance, in particular, makes them superior to other types of gloves in many important ways. Their composition of acrylonitrile, butadiene and carboxylic acid monomers creates a robust and versatile glove which is resistant to many of the chemicals and solvents commonly encountered in the workplace. EN374 is the European testing standard that Unigloves nitrile gloves ranges are tested to, certifying their resistance to chemicals including:

  • Acetic acid 10%
  • Benzalkonium chloride
  • Chlorhexidine digluconate 4%
  • Ethanol 20%
  • Formaldehyde 15%
  • Formaldehyde 37%
  • Glutaraldehyde 50%
  • Hydrogen peroxide 30%
  • Nitric acid 10%
  • Nitric acid 36%
  • Paraformaldehyde 50%
  • Phenol 1%
  • Povidone-iodine 10%
  • Sodium hydroxide 40%
  • Sulphuric acid 47%

Chemical resistant nitrile gloves

Importantly, Unigloves nitrile gloves are also medical grade and tested to EN1186, meaning they’re safe for use with all food products. They also comply with standards EN374 and EN420, making them compliant with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) standards.

Nitrile gloves acid resistance

The HSE recommends mitigating all potentially hazardous materials from the workplace and considers the use of safety gloves a last resort in worker protection. Unfortunately for many workplaces, removing these risks entirely is simply not possible. Using the correct nitrile glove can not only protect workers against the risks posed by acids but prevent cross-contamination, which may result in risks to other workers and end-users and customers.

Nitrile gloves acid resistanceFor many workers, the potential hazards present in the workplace include acids, which can cause damage to the hands and arms and even be absorbed into the bloodstream if the proper precautions are not taken. Choosing the right glove for protecting workers against these risks involves selecting the appropriate material for the task and taking other factors into account, including the comfort of workers and the dexterity necessary to complete their work effectively while wearing the gloves. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE):

“There are four requirements which must be met for any protective glove selected to be suitable. The glove must: be appropriate for the risk(s) and the conditions where it is used; take into account the ergonomic requirements and state of health of the person wearing it; fit the wearer correctly, if necessary, after adjustments; either prevent or control the risk involved without increasing the overall risk.”

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Nitrile gloves’ acid resistance, on the other hand, offers protection to workers across a range of industries and against a range of acids.

Corrosive sign

Some of the most common acids encountered in UK workplaces include acetic acid, hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid and nitric acid. These kinds of acids are often found in laboratory environments but are also common in cleaning products and in industrial workplaces such as automotive manufacturing and servicing plants, kitchens, food processing plants, agriculture, and more.

Contact with these types of acids can result in skin irritation at best and, at worst, burns and even poisoning.


Note: Disposable nitrile gloves are intended for brief contact with hazardous chemicals and should be removed and discarded immediately after being contaminated by contact with chemicals.

Selecting the right acid resistant nitrile glove

We offer a wide range of industry-specific protective gloves, designed to protect workers against common risks found in their fields. Some of the industry sectors we cover include:

Automotive: Our Unigloves PRO.TECT range is designed to be more robust than standard single-use gloves and was developed specifically with the hazards of the automotive industry in mind. Our PRO.TECT nitrile gloves’ acid resistance protects automotive workers against the acids commonly encountered in the industry, such as sulphuric acids found in car batteries, as well as grease and oils regularly present in automotive workplaces.

Food: Many weaker oil-based acids are used regularly in the food industry, making latex (suitable for weaker, water-based acids) and vinyl gloves an insufficient protective material. Our Pearl range, which comes in 15 different colours, protects against a range of acids and chemicals, as well as fats and oils regularly found in food. The colour options allow for colour-coding, for enhanced protection against cross-contamination.

General industry: Industrial workers come into contact with a huge variety of daily hazards, including abrasive materials, chemicals (including acids), and biological hazards. This is why we’ve developed an extensive range of gloves for industrial workers. These gloves protect workers against a broad range of weaker acids, bases, pathogens and abrasive materials. Browse the full range available for industrial workers here and filter the ranges for more more specific information about your needs.

For decades, Unigloves has been committed to keeping hands safe and making jobs easier with our award-winning range of safety gloves. Innovations made in the manufacturing of nitrile gloves over the last several decades has resulted in nitrile becoming the preferred glove material for many of our clients’ industrial applications, given their superior protection against acids, and a range of other harmful chemicals. Our wide selection of nitrile gloves means we have the perfect glove to suit your application, keeping workers safe and ensuring they can continue to do their jobs effectively and in comfort.

Browse the full range of our acid resistant nitrile gloves in our product catalogue or contact our team for a sample today.

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