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Not without Gloves: Wood stains

Not without Gloves: Wood stains

As spring approaches, it often brings with it home maintenance, both inside and outside. This presents a busy time of year for home and garden maintenance and construction companies, as well as those bold enough to tackle DIY projects. If you frequently use wood stain, ensure your team is familiar with its chemical composition to ensure proper protection.

Wood stains come in a wide variety of compositions and consistencies. From semi-transparent to thicker coating stains, dependent on the stain there can be numerous hazardous chemicals in the solution. Below you will find the proper disposable gloves to provide protection against some of the most common chemicals found in wood stains.

Ethylene Glycol

Many wood stains are primarily water-based; however, even the water-based stains contain a small percentage of solvents such as ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol is not easily absorbed through the skin; however, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends chemically resistant disposable gloves when handling for ensured safety. When using the liquid form of ethylene glycol, nitrile, vinyl, and latex gloves all provide hand protection. In the solvent form, latex and nitrile gloves are recommended for short-duration use. Onsite testing should always be conducted prior to long-duration use to determine the safest handling time for a solution.

Sodium Hydroxide

Another common chemical that can be found in wood stains is sodium hydroxide. This is a corrosive that has the potential to cause tissue burns upon contact. Because chemical burns have the potential to lead to deep tissue damage, sodium hydroxide should be handled with care. Solutions including the chemical with up to 50% concentration can be handled safely with nitrile, vinyl, or latex disposable gloves.

Mineral Spirits

Mineral spirits are a hydrocarbon commonly found not only in wood stains but also paints and paint thinners. Direct contact with the spirits can cause irritation, skin burns, and potential necrosis. Disposable nitrile gloves offer the best protection to safely handle mineral spirit concentrations up to 100%.

Ethyl Alcohol

Did you know ethyl alcohol is most commonly found in alcoholic beverages? It is also commonly used as a solvent as well as to help manufacture additional chemicals. Ethyl alcohol is highly flammable, and high concentrations of the alcohol can cause skin redness, irritations, or dryness. For wood stains that contain ethyl alcohol, latex and nitrile gloves are well suited for protection. Vinyl gloves may be used for a limited period of time but are not the best protective material for the solution.


Latex allergies are a common in the disposable glove field, but did you know that some film finishes are latex-based? The latex-based films provide a more solid finish and often provide a better color retention than other stains. However, this creates an added risk for those with known latex sensitivities. Nitrile gloves are a great solution, as they provide latex-free protection and chemical resistance for many different compounds.

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