General Purpose Gloves vs. Medical Gloves

Date: 23.11.2021 | Nastah- The Hand Protector

Here at Nastah, we receive plenty of enquiries about medical gloves (including examination gloves and surgical gloves) which is a product category that we simply don’t produce.

Typically these enquiries come from a subtle misunderstanding of the difference between medical gloves and general-purpose gloves – which is completely understandable for someone coming from outside the glove industry.

As such, we thought we’d use this blog post to explain the differences between these types of gloves, to help clarify some of the confusion.

Let’s dive in.

1. Physical Properties.

The first difference is the actual physical properties of the respective glove types. Medical gloves tend to be thinner and more flexible than general-purpose gloves. This is because of the different use cases.

General-purpose gloves tend to be reused and therefore need to be more robust and thick. Medical gloves require high levels of precision (hence the flexibility) and then they are typically disposed of afterwards.

Unlike reusable general-purpose gloves that come with left hand and right hand in a pair, medical gloves are ambidextrous and can be used interchangeably for left and right hand.


2. Regulatory Requirements.

A glove that is medical-grade has been created specifically for high-stakes medical situations and it has to be certified by the appropriate authorities, i.e. they must comply with Medical Device Directive 93/42/EEC for patient protection.

What this means is that these gloves have to go through rigorous testing to ensure that they offer protection against blood, bodily fluids, and infectious diseases.

The relevant authorities must sign off on medical-grade gloves because of the high stakes of medical scenarios and the legal ramifications if there is to be contamination.

While general-purpose gloves are meant for user protection, they must comply with Regulation (EU) 2016/425 Module D. 

You should be able to see the legal certifications relevant to your country listed prominently on the packaging so that you know what you’re dealing with.


3. Application Areas.

Each type of glove is designed for very specific applications.

General-purpose gloves are created for household and industrial use and are built to be resistant to chemicals and other use cases that are more common in factories, labs, and like.

General-purpose gloves offer a wider range of use cases outside of the medical field and should be used in those contexts – to assist workers with protecting themselves from workplace hazards.

It’s crucial to reiterate that general-purpose gloves are not suitable for any form of patient contact. Medical gloves are the only type fit for patient contact because the risk of contamination has been mitigated through official certification.


This is not somewhere to cut corners. Identify the appropriate type of gloves for your particular use case and don’t sway from that. Then find a reliable supplier who can offer you those products on a regular basis.

Don’t fall victim to the myth that these products are essentially interchangeable. There’s a reason that the two types are produced, marketed, and sold separately.

Here at Nastah, we focus our attention on creating a vast array of different general-purpose gloves for various applications.

If you’re looking for a supplier in this regard, and you want to work with a company that goes above and beyond the call of duty, be sure to check out what we have to offer. Get in touch today and let’s see how we can help!

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