What are Vinyl Gloves?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Butchers wear disposable vinyl gloves when handling raw meat.
Butchers wear disposable vinyl gloves when handling raw meat.

Vinyl gloves are an alternative to gloves made of latex or nitrile. While they have the advantage of being latex-free, they usually aren’t suited for certain applications. Especially in the medical field, people may not wear vinyl gloves because they are less resistant to punctures and aren’t as form fitting as synthetic or natural latex, but there some available as exam gloves in doctor's offices. There are many other uses for the gloves though, and they're made in disposable and reusable types.

Vinyl gloves generally are not worn by medical professionals because they do not protect against needle punctures.
Vinyl gloves generally are not worn by medical professionals because they do not protect against needle punctures.

Disposable types of vinyl gloves are usually called utility grade gloves because they may not be suited for most medical procedures or emergency medical care. They do have lots of applications and can be employed for basic household cleanup tasks or light industrial work. These could include washing dishes, using common cleaning chemicals or having to put the hands in contact with hair dyes. Some people don gloves when they handle raw meat, and when the gloves fit properly, they do protect the hands from direct exposure to various things that might create illness or cause skin breakout.

Reusable vinyl gloves are commonly worn when washing dishes.
Reusable vinyl gloves are commonly worn when washing dishes.

There are some people who do find these gloves difficult to wear for long periods of times. They may make hands sweat, and a few people develop skin rashes if they’re worn regularly. They are not very breathable, but this is a hazard of many types of gloves. Generally if a glove protects the skin from contact with fluids, it also keeps the skin from breathing naturally.

Gloves protect skin when cleaning.
Gloves protect skin when cleaning.

Disposable gloves are usually sold in boxes, though in grocery stores or pharmacies, it’s possible to find smaller packages. Boxes usually contain 50-100 gloves, and some people buy more when they’re used frequently. It’s wise for any business that requires gloved procedures to invest in some vinyl or nitrile gloves because there is the likelihood that one or more employees could be sensitive to latex or develop allergies to it from constant latex exposure.

Because of latex allergies, many hospitals have stopped using latex gloves and replaced them with ones made of other materials.
Because of latex allergies, many hospitals have stopped using latex gloves and replaced them with ones made of other materials.

Reusable vinyl gloves are an alternative that can last quite a while, especially when performing common household tasks like washing the dishes. Sometimes these gloves feature soft cotton lining, which may be comfortable to the skin. Also, many vinyl gloves are powdered, and when reusable gloves are lined with other fabric, the fabric acts likes a powder and makes the gloves easier to put on.

Some vinyl gloves feature a cotton lining which can be more comfortable for the skin.
Some vinyl gloves feature a cotton lining which can be more comfortable for the skin.

Care of gloves that are reusable should take into account how they are used. If cleaning with harsh chemicals, the gloves should be thoroughly washed after each use. Similarly, using vinyl gloves to clean up messy spills or to handle possible contaminants indicates they deserve a good cleaning afterward before they are used again. It isn’t advisable to use the same pair of gloves for all purposes. For instance, it probably wouldn’t be wise to wash the dishes with the same gloves used to clean the toilet.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

Populartesi

I’m so glad this article mentioned that some people get rashes from vinyl gloves. I’ve been using them for a while now when I’m cleaning around the house. I especially like to protect my hands in the winter because they get really dry and cracked. However, I’ve noticed that the vinyl has only further irritated my skin. Is there another alternative for us avid cleaners who are tired of dealing with rashes and red, aggravated skin?

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    • Butchers wear disposable vinyl gloves when handling raw meat.
      By: Tyler Olson
      Butchers wear disposable vinyl gloves when handling raw meat.
    • Vinyl gloves generally are not worn by medical professionals because they do not protect against needle punctures.
      By: Jaimie Duplass
      Vinyl gloves generally are not worn by medical professionals because they do not protect against needle punctures.
    • Reusable vinyl gloves are commonly worn when washing dishes.
      By: Kalim
      Reusable vinyl gloves are commonly worn when washing dishes.
    • Gloves protect skin when cleaning.
      By: flas100
      Gloves protect skin when cleaning.
    • Because of latex allergies, many hospitals have stopped using latex gloves and replaced them with ones made of other materials.
      By: Photographee.eu
      Because of latex allergies, many hospitals have stopped using latex gloves and replaced them with ones made of other materials.
    • Some vinyl gloves feature a cotton lining which can be more comfortable for the skin.
      By: eldadcarin
      Some vinyl gloves feature a cotton lining which can be more comfortable for the skin.