Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: About Disposable gloves

  1. #1
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Francisco, CA

    About Disposable gloves

    Hi folks thought I would post the line to the National Parks Services Conserve O Gram just made available entitled "How To Select Gloves: An Overview For Collections Staff"

    This is a useful publication that makes many important points.

    Although I would say it is basically accurate in what it covers, no document of this type can be truly comprehensive of course.
    No article of any size can provide all of the context and experience we would like have available in order to make the best choice for our specific circumstance.

    That of course is what we are here for.
    Please share information that you think would be helpful by posting comments on this thread.
    At the same time if there are questions that arise that another member might be able to help out with please post those as well (several other people out there are probably wondering the same thing).

    In that light I will start off.

    In many situations found in collections work you have an alternating set of activities that at one point involve handling an object directly followed by handling materials, tools, conveyances etc... the next and then back to the object etc...
    Under those circumstances there are real advantages to wearing gloves that can be easily removed and put on.
    Nitrile gloves are the worst kind of gloves in use in the museum setting in that regard and as a result they are often not taken off as often as they should be due purely to logistical limitations.
    An alternative solution is vinyl gloves. They vary in thickness from gloves that are easy to reuse if that is what is needed, to ones that are almost as thin and flexible as nitrile.

    In addition the cost of vinyl gloves is so much less than that of nitrile that handlers can feel freer to change gloves more frequently enhancing both object and personal safety.
    As I write this in the beginning of 2011 a full box of vinyl gloves cost $4 dollars a box. The best deal out there on nitrile gloves doesn't come close.

    This may not be the ideal product but as far as I am concerned in the real world affordability plus being able to put gloves on and take them off easily while working under real deadlines means that handlers end up actually wearing gloves more consistently while handling the objects.

    Another thing I noticed is that the table included in the article mentioned that vinyl gloves have the potential to degrade and create a residue. Presumably that is why they are not recommended for handling basically any type of material in the right hand column.

    In reality however they are routinely used on a variety of objects by some highly regarded museums.
    I would certainly not recommend that objects be stored with gloves attached to them (don't know why you would want to do that) but unless your gloves are old, or are exposed to a lengthy period of high humidity and/or high levels of UV radiation, danger to many objects types is minimal to non-existent.

    Certainly handling framed paintings or anything in a modern wood frame - like contemporary photos or prints - (not actually "objects" anyway) is not a real concern. The same actually holds true for the majority of objects in ethnology and archeology collections.
    In other words vinyl gloves are perfectly suited for much of what many art handlers find themselves handling day in and day out.
    Polished metal - ok - so maybe not, but polished metal is just begging for trouble. You probably shouldn't be even breathing in the presence of polished metal.

    Another topic that is not addressed is a common concern expressed that many nitrile gloves are not in fact safe for use on objects (I have heard people say that only "the purple ones" are really safe). I have no comment to make about that.

    Oh yeah one other comment. When you don't wear gloves "Clean hands" actually aren't after a relatively short period of time.
    Even if you don't touch a thing after washing them the oils and salts generated by your body replenish over time.
    If you don't wear gloves wash your hands frequently and don't handle carts, drills, crates etc and then handle the art afterwards. There is a world of difference between the realities of a conservator in the lab and those of a preparator in the gallery.

    You are kindly invited to add your own comments and/or argue with mine...

    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

  2. #2
    Member JasonO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Good points here! The problem with trying to come up with a comprehensive set of "rules" for gloves is that there are so many different situations requiring different gloves or standards. Just one that came to mind is that I would have a real hard time sewing labels to textiles while wearing gloves, even nitrile ones.


  3. #3
    I notice that one category of glove is not addressed at all. These are knit gloves with a nitrile coated palm. They have all the positive attributes of nitrile gloves, but are easy to take on and off, have good dexterity and grip, and are able to be laundered many times before the nitrile starts to break down. They come in a variety of sizes and weights of palm coating. The price per pair is around $5 but the re-use brings the overall cost down. Buying in quantity definitely helps. Regular Nitriles and vinyls still need to be part of the kit but I wouldn't be without these gloves.


  4. #4
    Site Administrator Paul Brewin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Blog Entries
    We have been using knit w/ nitrile too and liking them; more dexterity yet easy to take on and off. Thanks for adding the links!
    Paul Brewin - PACCIN Site Administrator

  5. #5
    I think, this disposable gloves is really important..

  6. #6
    PACCIN Advisory Committee Member T. Ashley McGrew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    The mesh glove with nitrile seems to be more of a Prep thing. Many registrars and conservators see them more as "work gloves" which is what they are in most settings. That can be the problem with them it seems to me.
    Other than that I think they are great. We have had other discussions about them in the past and the key to their value is in their use.
    Unfortunely just because they are so comfortable and useful I have seen preparators continue to wear them opening,closing and moving crates and carts returning afterwards to handle artwork again.
    If your carts and crates are really clean and you are just handling say modern frames (museum supplied not period) that is one thing. If you are handling metal sculpture or especially marble it could be a bad scene.
    I have also observed couriers looking askance at there use simply because they are unfamiliar with them in the art handling context.
    As everyone knows the mental/emotional well being of couriers is an essential if not frequently discussed part of the job. If you are using them on loan objects it wouldn't hurt to explain how you are using them or at least make a great show out of takeing them off and putting them on!
    I got a free sample of a pair from Uline that are called something like Ninja Lite or something that are really sweet, but I think they are polyurethane coated so they probably won't "make the cut" for direct use on objects.
    T. Ashley McGrew
    PACCIN Advisory Committee member

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts