With production efficiencies and personal preferences, the trend toward powder free gloves is on the rise.
Why use powder free gloves?
Powder free gloves have a majority market share. This is because they are best for a number of applications.
Powder free gloves are preferred for the automotive industry, for example. When powdered gloves are donned, cornstarch powder particles are released into the air and introduce a potential source of contamination. For example, when automotive technicians are installing windshields, the powder weakens the seal of the glass, which may lead to leaks. In the case of painting, finishing, and sealing applications, these particles lead to fisheyes in the finish, making powder free gloves the better choice for these applications.
Another benefit of powder free gloves is they are less messy than powdered gloves. Powder leaves residue on both hands and clothing.
How are powder free gloves made?
Historically, manufacturers have used powder when creating powder free gloves. They powdered the glove formers to make the gloves easier to remove. After removing the gloves from the formers, manufacturers rinse the gloves, turn the gloves right side out and rinse the gloves again. As powder free gloves have become more popular, manufacturers have developed innovative ways to create the gloves without powdering the formers.
One way to remove residual powder from gloves is by chlorination. Chlorination is achieved using chlorine gas or a solution of hypochlorite and hydrochloric acid. This process reduces the surface tackiness of the natural rubber latex, making the gloves easier to don because they slide over hands without sticking to the skin. Furthermore, chlorination removes residual powder and lowers latex proteins in the glove. Thus, this process is more common for latex gloves.
Another way to make powder free gloves easier to don involves using a polymer coating. Manufacturers use various types of polymers, including silicones, acrylics and hydrogels. This coating is applied to the gloves’ interior while the gloves are on the former. Because the polymer has less surface friction than the glove material, it facilitates easier donning. Polymer coating is most common with nitrile gloves.