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Glove Fabrics & Care

If you are having trouble deciding what type of gloves to purchase, you need to consider what tasks you will be doing. What tasks you plan to do will in part dictate which fabrics you should you consider. Many of the glove materials are washable and will last several years. Some gloves are less expensive and made of lighter weight fabrics and thus will last only a couple of seasons, while some canvas or leather gloves might last several years with the proper care. A better fitting glove will also last longer because there will be fewer loose spots to wear or catch and tear. And they will be less likely to rub blisters on your hands if they fit properly.



  • Woven
    • lightweight
    • canvas
  • Jersey or knit
    • stretch to fit fingers snuggly
  • Can also be obtained with various gripping mediums attached or dipped into
    • plastic or PVC dotts or mini dots
    • dipped in rubber/latex
  • Machine or hand washable but line dry for best care
    • Some shrinking may occur
  • Durability: lightweight cotton less than jersey less than canvas
  • Cotton gloves will absorb liquids


  • Cowhide
    • smooth
    • suede
  • Pigskin
    • Very supple and soft
    • Holds up well
  • Goatskin
  • Deerskin and elkskin
  • Full leather gloves
  • Leather palms on canvas gloves
  • Can be washed
    • Fully washable leather gloves can be machine washed and line dried
    • Regular leather gloves can be hand washed and line dried;
    • Mink oil or other leather treatment may help regain suppleness after glove has dried but do not use mink oil on suede leathers
  • May be dyed colors
  • Durability: suede leather: less than smooth leather, and leather palmed gloves less than full leather gloves
  • Leather gloves will absorb liquids and discolor with use

Synthetic Leather:

  • Feels like suede leather
  • Machine washable
  • Can be printed as well as dyed solid colors

Rubber, plastics, and synthetics:

  • Latex/Rubber
    • Some people are allergic to latex!
    • Heavier weight gloves often have a cotton lining
    • Lighter weight gloves usualy unlined
    • Good resistance against tearing, cutting or abrasions
    • Good gripping & tactile characteristics
    • Good temperature resistance but do not use near open flames
    • Good for water-based solutions
    • Heavier styles resist paint thinners, strippers and strong cleaning agents
    • Can be cleaned off with soap and water; use a good dishwashing detergent like DawnTM
  • Nitrile
    • Usually molded gloves and may be flocked insided for comfort
    • May have long gauntlets or cuffs
    • Resistant to many chemical solvents, caustics, kerosene, terpentine, oils greses, acids, naptha, alcolhol, herbicides, and pesticides
    • Resists cuts and punctures
    • Flexible and performs well in a wide range of temperatures
  • Neoprene
  • Vinyl/PVC
    • Thin gloves are inexpensive and disposable
    • Good for short-term protection against caustics, fats, acids, oils and petro-hydrocarbons as well as alcohols
    • Do not use PVC gloves with non-petro-hydrocarbons and ketones
    • Protection in a limited temperature range
    • Less flexible than latex/rubber and easier to tear

Other Features

  • Long guantlets will protect arms from thorns and spines
  • Knit cuffs will help keep dirt and debris out of glove
  • Straps to tighten cuffs will help keep dirt out and keep gloves on


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