Sterile Vs Non-Sterile Gloves: What’s Best For Your Business


From Empire Managed Solutions

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are some of the most important items to invest in for your business. Whether it’s COVID-19 or food safety, it pays to be extra diligent when selecting your PPEs. Gloves are no exception and knowing the difference between sterile and non-sterile gloves will help you pick the right ones for your industry and needs!

What’s Sterile and What’s Not?

Sterilization concerns itself with a medical definition in that for something to be sterile, it must be free of all microbial life forms. Healthcare facilities carry out sterilization through chemical methods.

Sterilization is not to be confused with disinfection. Disinfection removes all other pathogens except for bacteria.

Understanding the difference between the two will help you determine which product works for your use case. If a glove is listed as “partially sterile” it’s likely that it’s been disinfected and not sterilized.

What Is A Sterile Glove?

Sterile gloves are those designed to meet the FDA requirements for sterilization. There are acceptable minimums the gloves must meet in order to be deemed sterile and safe for use in surgical procedures.

Sterile gloves have an acceptable quality level of pinholes that is lower than 1.5 which means that 1.5% or less will have a pinhole in a sample size of 100.

Sterile gloves are approved for use in surgical settings and procedures requiring direct contact with an individual’s open wound or sensitive parts of the body. Sterile gloves help limit the spread of pathogens.

What Are Non-Sterile Gloves?

Non-sterile gloves are still designed to meet FDA standards but aren’t held to as strict of a standard. In general, non-sterile gloves have an AQL between 1.5 and 2.5 meaning that 1.5% to 2.5% of a sample size will have pinholes in them.

Non-sterile gloves may be used for non-surgical medical procedures, examinations, food handling, labs, warehouses, beauty salons, and around the house. Non-sterile gloves made of nitrile are especially effective in these scenarios as nitrile doesn’t leave residue or have powder that’ll get into food.

Non-sterile gloves also help prevent the spread of pathogens but are limited in their sterilization against bacteria.

Should I Use Sterile Or Non-Sterile Gloves?

The answer depends on your use case! In most situations, non-sterile provides plenty of protection and is ideal for all non-surgical uses. The biggest difference between sterile and non-sterile is how they’re treated against pathogens. Sterile gloves are statistically shown to be treated against bacterial microbes. Non-sterile aren’t. And the difference is a more sensitive issue, the closer you get to open wounds, invasive procedures, and surgical practices.

Need Gloves?

If clean, dependable non-sterile gloves are what you’re looking for, Empire Managed Solutions has what you need.

Empire’s nitrile gloves are non-powder making them ideal for food preparation and situations where latex powder isn’t desirable.

Whether you’re in the food, beauty, medical, or distribution industries, EMS has high-quality PPE’s to keep you, your staff, and your products safe for use.

Empire Managed Solutions

901 Officers Row
Vancouver WA, 98661
United States
(904) 343-5750

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