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Disposable or reusable chemical protective suits: which one wins?

refinery worker in respirex chemical suit

Do you regularly work with hazardous substances? Then at least one piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) is indispensable: a good chemical suit to protect your skin!

Do you choose a suit that can be disposed of after use? Or a suit that can be reused? And what exactly is the difference?

We will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types:

Why choose disposable

Let's start by looking at disposable suits. A huge advantage is the fact that they are lighter in weight than the reusable version. This can be more comfortable for the wearer.

Many models have integrated gloves, socks and boots, which makes putting them on and taking them off a lot easier.

Purchasing and maintenance costs


Additionally, disposable suits are much cheaper than reusable ones.

So, if you don't use chemical suits that often, this is certainly something to think about.

However, a suit that can be disposed of after use is not only cheaper because of the lower purchase price, there are no maintenance costs. Unlike reusable clothing, disposable clothing does not need to be cleaned, which also saves a lot of time!



A disposable suit can be even safer for the wearer. After use, or if you have come into contact with a chemical product, the suit is disposed of immediately. This means that, after it has been used, chemical products cannot penetrate the suit unnoticed.

Also, there is less risk of contaminating the environment. After all, you put on a new suit as soon as it has been in contact with hazardous substances.

With reusable clothing, if stored after use, you could transfer chemicals to your environment or even your skin, with all the consequences that entails.

Because of the evolution in various laminates, it appears that disposable clothing is often more chemically resistant.

Or reusable?



With sustainability becoming increasingly important to companies, there is, naturally, a major disadvantage to disposable clothing. Because you throw away the suit after every use, this type of protective clothing is not exactly sustainable. Disposing of and processing all these suits is damaging to the environment, so you should buy a few reusable suits every now and then.

Reusable protective clothing may be more expensive to buy, but then these can worn for a longer period of time. But only under the right conditions, of course. Disposable clothing needs to be deposited in the bin as soon as you’ve opened the packaging.

A reusable chemical suit is also mechanically stronger. If you know the potential contaminator and have a correct contamination procedure in place, they can be used frequently and efficiently.

How much difference does it actually make?

euro coins stacked on top

An important difference between a disposable and reusable chemical suit is cost. This can be a huge and decisive factor for many buyers. But how much difference does it actually make in practice?

The following example illustrates this. Of course, the costs also differ depending on the chemical protection.

Price comparison


  Disposable Reusable
  Low chemical protection High chemical protection Low chemical protection High chemical protection
Price € 20 € 150 € 150 € 700 - 850

Suppose you are looking for a suit that protects you from liquid chemicals. In which case, you'll easily find a disposable suit for just under 20 euros.

A laminated overall with gloves and provision for a compressed air device is available for over €230. These are both suits that are disposed of after use.

If we look at suits that you can use more often, the costs increase. A similar, simple overall with a fixed hood is for sale for approximately €150.

If you need clothing for heavier work (higher protection), you can buy a neoprene overall. This type of protective suit will easily cost between 700 and 850 euros.

The difference between a disposable and reusable chemical suit can be hundreds of euros.


There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to disposable clothing. They're cheaper, there’s no need to have them cleaned and there's no risk of accidentally contaminating the environment. They are also often more comfortable and easier for the wearer to use than reusable ones.

However, there are a few disadvantages: they are more harmful to the environment and are mechanically less strong.

Reusable suits are of course much more durable, especially if you often need protective clothing. But, if you have to dispose of this type of suit regularly because it gets damaged or dirty, the fewer the benefits.

  Disposable Reusable
  • Cheap
  • No cleaning necessary
  • More comfortable to wear
  • Durable
  • Mechanically strong
  • Mechanically less strong
  • Harmful to the environment
  • Expensive
  • Need thorough cleaning
  • Uncomfortable to wear

In short, to make the best choice, much depends on your working conditions, personal preferences, budget and how often you will use it.

However, one thing that applies to every chemical suit, reusable or not, is that if it gets damaged or contaminated, you cannot use it again. Dispose of it, or clean it thoroughly first, is our advice!


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