Vinyl gloves come in various colors and are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the second generation disposable gloves after latex gloves. A plasticizer is added to make the material soft and flexible to be molded into gloves. Vinyl gloves are made from PVC monomers, making them more cost-effective than nitrile gloves manufactured from synthetic materials.
In the 19th century, scientists accidentally discovered vinyl during experiments. Klatte first patented the material in 1913 after developing a method for polymerizing vinyl chloride with sunlight. Researchers have determined which additives to add to make the material more flexible. PVC is not just used to make disposable gloves. It is also used to make bottles, pipes, plumbing fixtures, toys, credit cards, rain gutters, and many other things.
The vinyl gloves available are industrial gloves, exam gloves, powdered gloves, and powder-free gloves.
Compared to latex or Nitrile, vinyl has a more comfortable fit. Latex allergies are eliminated, and nitrile gloves are free from petroleum properties.
Particularly for applications where gloves need to be changed frequently, vinyl provides an economical solution. This is why it is used in food service, beauty and salons, and janitorial applications. Some vinyl gloves are blue and targeted specifically for food processing, while most are clear or ivory. Blue gloves are more easily visible and quickly removed if they detach and fall into food.
Polyethylene is the most affordable glove material most commonly used in the food-service industry. Furthermore, it is even more economical than vinyl, making it a desirable choice for activities requiring frequent glove changes, such as salon and cosmetic applications, painting, arts & crafts, and light cleaning.
Only industrial-grade polyethylene gloves are available. These gloves do not contain powder or latex.
As it cools from a liquid state into a solid-state, polyethylene, a synthetic polymer derived from ethylene and thermoplastic, takes on various shapes. The least-expensive gloves, such as those for pumping gasoline, are made with high-density polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE is stiffer and harder than low-density polyethylene. Plastic grocery bags and dispensing bottles are often made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is more flexible and can be used for gloves that require greater sensitivity.
The natural state of LDPE is that it does not leach. Poly gloves have the advantage of not releasing unwanted chemicals into food, so they are ideal for food-service.
As opposed to Nitrile, latex, or vinyl gloves, poly gloves are constructed from two heat-sealed sheets, creating an edge seam. Due to this, poly gloves are not liquid-proof.