Wood stains come in a variety of compositions and consistencies. Some are semi-transparent, and others are intended to create a thick coating over the wood. Because of the variety of products on the market, specific stains may have multiple hazardous chemicals in them. Here are some chemicals commonly found in wood stains and effective disposable gloves for each:
Although many wood stains are water-based, they still contain a small percentage of a solvent, such as ethylene glycol. This chemical is poorly absorbed through the skin, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control still recommends chemical-resistant gloves for handling ethylene glycol. For ethylene glycol in its liquid form, vinyl, nitrile and latex gloves all provide protection. In the solvent’s ether form, latex and nitrile gloves may be used for a limited time. On-site testing should always be conducted to determine the safe handling time for a particular solution.
Sodium hydroxide is a corrosive with the potential to cause burns on any tissue it comes into contact with. Chemical burns may even lead to deep tissue damage, so this chemical should always be handled with care. Solutions of sodium hydroxide with up to a 50 percent concentration may be safely handled with latex, nitrile or vinyl gloves.
Mineral spirits are hydrocarbons commonly found in wood stains, paints and paint thinners. Direct contact with mineral spirits causes skin burns, irritation and even necrosis. Nitrile gloves offer protection for safe handling of mineral spirit concentrations of up to 100 percent.
Ethyl alcohol is most commonly found in alcoholic beverages, and it is also used as a solvent and to manufacture other chemicals. Ethyl alcohol is flammable, and high concentrations may irritate the skin or cause redness or dryness. For wood stains containing ethyl alcohol, latex and nitrile gloves are well suited for application. Vinyl gloves may be used for a limited time.
Some film finishes are latex-based for a more solid finish and better color retention than other stains but adds risks for people with latex sensitivities. Nitrile gloves are suitable for people with latex sensitivities or allergies, and these gloves provide superior chemical resistance for many different compounds.
1,4-dioxane is a chemical found in wood stains and a suspected carcinogen that may also cause skin irritation. Latex and vinyl gloves may be used for a limited time for protection from 1,4-dioxane.