Latex gloves are one of the most popular disposable safety glove types on the market. At Unigloves, we’ve been manufacturing high-quality latex gloves for many years and have developed both powdered and powder free varieties to better suit the needs of our customer base.
Choosing between powdered and powder free latex gloves is often a confusing decision for many workplaces. There are several key differences between powdered and powder free latex glove varieties, as well as a number of synthetic alternatives.
Here, we will outline these, to help you choose the right Unigloves disposable safety glove for your industry, no matter the application.
What are powder free latex gloves?
Latex gloves, made from natural rubber latex (or NRL) are one of the most popular glove varieties on the market, despite several synthetic alternatives being available. This is because they provide an excellent level of elasticity while fitting closely to the hand and allowing users to maintain high touch sensitivity and dexterity. They do, of course, carry the potential to trigger latex allergies in users or those they come into contact with, and for this reason, low protein and powder free solutions have been developed by many manufacturers.
Powder free latex gloves, unlike powdered varieties, do not contain a powder coating (usually cornstarch) inside the glove. This powder coating is added to make disposable gloves easier to don and remove, which reduces the risk of tearing the glove, while also reducing sweating and thus keeping moisture levels inside the glove lower. Despite the benefits of having powder-lined gloves, powder free alternatives are an important substitute for some workplaces due to latex allergy and contamination concerns.
During the manufacturing of powder free latex gloves, gloves are rinsed both inside and out to remove any powder residue left over from the manufacturing process. In some manufacturing processes, chlorination is then used to remove any residual powder particles from the gloves. This chlorination process, which involves the use of either chlorine gas or a hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid solution, helps to reduce the surface tackiness of the NRL, reducing the risk of tearing the glove upon donning and removal, and thus overcoming the need for a powder coating.
Why choose powder free latex gloves?
Despite alternatives such as nitrile and vinyl gloves being popular solutions in some industries, latex gloves are still preferred by many a workplace thanks to their superior elasticity, the touch sensitivity they offer, and the dexterity they enable users. They also provide protection against a range of chemical hazards and biohazards, making them an extremely versatile safety glove.
However, latex allergies are a major concern for many workplaces, most especially those whose workers come into contact with the public, such as in hospitals and other healthcare environments.
The latex material itself isn’t the only concern when it comes to this particular disposable glove variety. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the powder in gloves can increase the rate of transfer of latex proteins to the skin, and may also result in latex protein particles becoming airborne, which can be an added concern for any workplace where latex allergies and deemed to be a risk.
The powder itself can also pose a potential risk – although less common – for allergic reactions or sensitivities in some users. Powder free latex gloves have been developed to reduce the risk of both latex allergic reactions and sensitivity for users and those with whom they come into contact.
Powder free gloves significantly reduce the transfer of latex protein particles to the skin and airways due to the chlorine washing process, whilst the low-protein varieties available from Unigloves further reduce the risk. Therefore, for any workplace where latex allergies are thought to be a significant risk, but where latex is still the most appropriate glove material, powder free, low-protein latex gloves should be used.
Are powder free latex gloves food safe?
Powder free latex gloves from Unigloves are tested to EN1186, making them safe for contact with all food types. For this reason, our powder free latex gloves are still one of the most popular glove varieties for those working in the food service industry, in commercial food processing, and those coming into contact with food products during their daily activities (such as care home and social care workers, for example).
Applications for powder free latex gloves
Unigloves powder free latex gloves are extremely popular among our clients, and are particularly suited to applications such as:
- Care home work
- Janitorial and cleaning roles
- Dentistry and dental hygiene
- Food processing
- General assembly and manufacturing
- Painting and decorating
- Emergency services
- Hospital and clinical duties
Some of our most popular powder free latex glove varieties include:
Unicare Latex | GS001*: These medical grade, medium weight examination gloves are free from powder, and suitable for use in food processing and preparation, as well as meeting medical standards for pinholes. They offer textured fingertips and palms, offering wearers superior grip for intricate and delicate tasks, particularly in wet or oily conditions.
Vitality Latex | GD002*: Our Vitality Latex gloves are not only medical grade and food safe, they also contain a microfilm inner coating comprised of a combination of natural moisturisers, helping to protect and nourish the skin as well as aiding donning and removal. These incredibly comfortable gloves are a popular choice for long-wear applications such as hairdressing and beauty work, healthcare, dentistry, floristry and gardening.
Supergrip | GM002*: This glove, from our Advanced range, is free from powder and offline washed, meaning a reduced risk of latex allergic reactions as well as increased comfort and ease of donning and removal. The textured palms and fingertips offer improved grip, while the beaded cuff provides extra strength and protection against liquid rollback.
For over 30 years, Unigloves has been innovating our manufacturing processes to offer our customers the highest quality and most advanced disposable safety glove solutions. Our range of powder free latex gloves is extensive and provides our broad range of customers with the perfect disposable latex gloves for almost any application. To browse the full range of powder free latex gloves from Unigloves, download a copy of our product catalogue.