Choosing the Right
Disposable Vinyl Gloves

  • 5 minute read
  • 14 August, 2020
  • Donald Gillespie

Wearing gloves is a fact of life for many workers who come into contact with chemicals, pathogens and other potentially hazardous materials, as well as for workers who handle food products.

Vinyl gloves have been one of the most commonly used disposable gloves, both domestically and industrially, for decades. They are affordable, versatile and suitable for use in a range of applications. Of course, safety gloves must do much more than simply protect the hands from contaminants.

Here, we outline the differences between vinyl gloves and other popular glove materials and detail some of the most common applications for vinyl gloves, to help you choose the right disposable vinyl safety glove for your workplace.

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What are disposable vinyl gloves?

Disposable vinyl gloves are a synthetic disposable safety glove made using PVC (polyvinyl chloride). In order to make the glove material more flexible and suitable for use as a safety glove, a plasticiser is added during the manufacturing process. As PVC is an inexpensive material, vinyl gloves are one of the most affordable disposable safety gloves on the market and are often used in environments where everyday use is required, and a high turnover of gloves is expected.

A pair of disposable vinyl gloves being worn for cleaning a bed frame by a janitorial professional.

Their PVC and plasticised material make disposable vinyl gloves waterproof and resistant to some chemicals, including detergents, dyes, and low-level corrosive materials. They are generally available in both powdered versions (which can allow for easier donning and removal) and powder free versions (where powder may contaminate other materials), depending on the manufacturer.

As is the case when selecting any safety glove for the workplace, it is important to carefully consult the manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines for the product, to determine whether it is suitable for the task. Vinyl gloves are not recommended for use in environments where contact with strong chemicals or fatty foods and oils is expected.

In order to determine the suitability of any safety glove for use in the workplace, it is important to consider the testing standards that the gloves in question are certified against. Unigloves’ vinyl safety gloves are tested against several European standards, including:

  • EN1186: which deems the gloves safe for contact with food,
  • EN455: the European medical gloves standards, and
  • EN374: the chemical and micro-organism penetration resistance standard.

Why choose disposable vinyl gloves over latex or nitrile gloves?

Disposable vinyl gloves are a versatile and inexpensive glove used in a huge variety of applications. Typically, vinyl gloves are neither as strong nor as resistant to chemicals and other hazards, as latex or nitrile gloves. However, they are still a preferred option for many workplaces and even in domestic applications. As vinyl gloves are latex-free, they are a popular alternative to latex gloves, alongside nitrile gloves, where latex allergies are deemed a risk to workers or those they encounter.

Vinyl gloves are also typically less robust than their latex or nitrile counterparts when it comes to puncture and tear resistance, which is why they are rarely used in high-risk medical environments or where workers are likely to be dealing with corrosive or otherwise hazardous materials.

Health worker wearing a disposable vinyl glove in a healthcare setting, placing his hand on a elderly patient's hand whose hand is on a walking stick.

Despite their lower levels of protection in high-risk environments, disposable vinyl gloves are still a suitable and incredibly popular glove for many situations. They are also an excellent protective measure for preventing contamination and cross-contamination in food preparation situations.

Furthermore, as vinyl powder free disposable gloves are latex-free, chemical accelerator-free, and free from powder, they are a great alternative for those suffering from Type I or Type IV skin allergies.

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Applications for disposable vinyl gloves

Vinyl gloves are found in many workplaces and domestic environments, and are an incredibly popular choice for low-risk day-to-day activities, due to their low cost and low-risk protective properties. Some of the most common applications for disposable vinyl gloves include:

Food preparation: Vinyl gloves are commonly used where food safety is a factor, and protect against contamination and cross-contamination of food and other materials in food preparation environments. For those involved in preparing food and handling cash, for example, the quick disposal of these low-cost gloves is ideal for preventing cross-contamination. Unigloves vinyl gloves are certified for use with food. However, vinyl gloves are not suitable for more than the briefest contact with fatty and oily foods.

A chef wearing vinyl gloves for food preparation, specifically handling a beef burger.

In industrial housekeeping situations, vinyl gloves help to protect workers’ hands and prevent cross-contamination, particularly in care and assistance roles where laundry and bed linen (which may be contaminated by body fluids) is involved.

Cleaning and janitorial: For household and industrial cleaning applications in low-risk environments, vinyl gloves are a popular choice for protecting the hands for short periods of time, where exposure to high-risk chemicals is not expected.

Hairdressing: Vinyl gloves are popular for short-term use when it comes to dying and treating hair, either at home or in salon environments. For exposure to stronger chemicals, however, nitrile gloves should be considered.

Unigloves Unicare disposable vinyl gloves

In order to allow workers to safely and effectively do their jobs, disposable vinyl safety gloves must not only protect against contamination, but must also be comfortable, easy to don and remove, and durable enough for the task at hand.

Our Unicare range includes a selection of disposable vinyl gloves, as well as latex, polythene, nitrile and vinyl-nitrile blends, offering a range of solutions to suit a variety of industrial and domestic applications.

Our Unicare powder free vinyl gloves are made using our unique low-friction inner polymer coating, which allows for smoother donning in the absence of powder (which can contaminate the working environment and cause skin allergies). They feature a for a better fit and beaded cuffs for added strength and resistance to tearing.

Unigloves is a leading European manufacturer of safety gloves and has been producing gloves for over 30 years. Our dedication to innovation and uncompromising quality has led to the development of our wide range of disposable vinyl gloves, designed to suit the needs of our diverse clientele and their specific industries.

Browse our full range of vinyl gloves, including our Unicare range, in our product guide and find the perfect disposable vinyl glove for your application today.

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