I heard somewhere that some plastics are pretty good at resisting decently strong acids. To what degree is this true? Does latex protect against corrosives? Are plastics good at "resisting" bases or other strong solvents?

I'm not a chemist, so I apologize if my question seems dumb. I couldn't find much info on the subject of latex vs corrosives via Google.

Also, I don't plan on handling any dangerous chemicals; I'm just curious.


There are all sorts of resources for picking the best gloves for handling any given type of chemical. This resource describes latex as being good for protecting against bases, alcohols, dilute water solutions, and fair against aldehydes, ketones.

Indeed if you check the Glove Type and Chemical Use table towards the bottom of the page, you can see that latex fairs pretty well against most acids. These ratings give you an idea of how long it takes to penetrate the glove when exposed to that chemical. As you can also see from this table, neoprene gloves are slightly better for handling acids, and though it's not shown on the table, PVC gloves are also good.

  • $\begingroup$ Why are plastics good for protection against acids? Why don't they dissolve like other materials? $\endgroup$ Jan 19 '17 at 22:15

It depends on the acid. I would recommend Neoprene gloves instead of latex gloves. I did this excerpt from this guide that I think is taken from the website that ringo mentioned:

VG= Very Good G= Good F=Fair P=Poor

Acetic acid VG 
Chromic Acid (50%) P
Citric acid (10%) VG
Hydrochloric acid G 
Hydrofluoric acid (48%) G 
Lactic acid (85%) VG
Lauric acid (36%) F 
Lineoleic acid P 
Maleic acid VG 
Nitric acid (limited service) F 
Oleic acid F 
Oxalic acid VG 
Palmitic acid VG 
Perchloric acid (60%) F 
Phosphoric acid G 
Potassium hydroxide VG 
Sulfuric acid G 
Tannic acid (65%) VG
Sodium hydroxide VG 

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