After gloves are manufactured, they need to be finished to facilitate donning and doffing. The material of gloves often makes it difficult for users to don without some type of finishing technique. Now there are several different ways to go about finishing a glove, including polymer coating, chlorination and polyurethane finishes. Finishing the Glove: How does it Work?
Powdered gloves, as the name implies, use a powder coating to help users don and doff disposable gloves by absorbing excess moisture on the hands. Powdering takes place following manufacturing. In the past, gloves had powdered formers, making powder a byproduct of manufacturing. Due to advancements in manufacturing technology, gloves are powdered with food-grade cornstarch, before they are taken from their formers and turned inside out. Powdered gloves are not suitable in situations where the powder could interfere with biological and chemical processes, such as chemical sealing or wound closure. Powder also damages paints and varnishes by leaving a residue behind. For this reason, manufacturers have adopted alternative ways to finish gloves.
Chlorination is a finishing method for powder free gloves. Manufacturers wash gloves in a chlorine gas or a solution of hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid. Gloves are then rinsed to prevent the chemical from interacting with the glove further. The solution reduces the surface tackiness of the glove and also gives it a softer texture. When used on latex, the chlorination process also reduces the amount of latex proteins, to make them less likely to cause an allergy. One thing to keep in mind is that chlorination slightly reduces the shelf life of products because the chemicals break down the glove material. This method was developed for latex gloves, but new advancements in technology have made the process available for nitrile gloves.The AMMEX Gloveworks Heavy Duty Orange Nitrile Glove is an example of a chlorinated glove.
The majority of disposable gloves on the market are now powder free. Applying a polymer coating is a more recent method: Manufacturers use polymers, such as silicones, acrylics and hydrogels, to make gloves easier to don. The polymer coating has less surface friction than the glove material, which makes it slip on the hand more easily. The polymer is generally applied while the glove is still on the former. Polymer coating is most frequently used on nitrile and latex. For example, AMMEX GlovePlus Black Nitrile Gloves are polymer coated.
A polyurethane coating on the inside of the gloves reduces tackiness, making the glove easier to don and doff. Polyurethane is most frequently used on vinyl gloves.
Finishes allow glove users to don and doff with ease, creating a seamless experience as they change gloves. Finishes, particularly chlorination, also make the glove softer for people who need to work with their hands all day. These processes also reduce latex proteins that lead to allergies and irritation. Simply put, finishing makes disposable gloves easier and more comfortable to wear.