Ever Heard of Vinyl Gloves? These are disposable gloves and are quite popular in the medical, food service, industrial, and automotive industries. Although they have grown in prominence as an alternative to latex (due to the high number of latex allergies), they are now used because of their cost-effectiveness and characteristics. Vinyl gloves are waterproof to a certain degree, but like all disposable gloves they are not 100% water resistant.
Vinyl Gloves are manufactured from plasticizers and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is a petroleum-based film. They are cheap to make but are less durable and chemical resistant than alternative materials, like latex and nitrile gloves. Although they come in different thickness levels, vinyl gloves are typically less malleable and puncture-resistant than other materials, meaning their structural integrity can be compromised if the glove is stretched.
As vinyl is a non-biodegradable synthetic, it takes a long time to break down and has a longer shelf-life than several other materials. If the glove is kept intact, it has a better chance of remaining water-resistant for longer.
What determines the water resistance level?
PVC is one of the main materials used to make plastic water-resistant products, such as raincoats, shower curtains, pipes, and window frames. While vinyl gloves provide water resistance, they are thin and can be compromised, making them vulnerable to water penetration. Factors that determine the level of water resistance in this type of glove include:
The Condition of the Glove Before Use
Vinyl gloves are disposable and are not intended for frequent or prolonged use. PVC lacks elasticity, meaning the barrier integrity is relatively low. For a vinyl glove to be waterproof, it must be in perfect condition before use.
How long have you been wearing the gloves?
The longer vinyl gloves are worn, the more damage they're likely to incur. Look for signs of wear, such as cracks, cuts, discoloration, holes, or tears. If you notice damage, the gloves are no longer waterproof, and you should immediately dispose of them.
If they were exposed to other materials?
Vinyl gloves have some degree of chemical resistance. However, they are particularly susceptible to damage from organic solvents. The CDC defines these as carbon-based materials that can dissolve or disperse other substances.
Puncturing or Snagging
Nitrile and Latex Gloves have better touch sensitivity than vinyl. This may cause the wearer to catch or snag the glove on equipment, leading to punctures. If you snag a vinyl glove, it may be vulnerable to water entry.
Have you ever used vinyl gloves? Tell me in the comments.