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The low-down on latex gloves

03 July 2015

Latex gloves help to maintain a safe and hygienic environment. In the cleaning and maintenance industry, latex gloves have long been used to provide workers with protection.

Latex is a very clean and flexible material that is impervious to liquids, allowing impressive dexterity for its user without reducing touch sensitivity. Latex has an effective resistance to punctures, tears and hazardous chemicals often used in cleaning such as bleach and detergents.

History of latex gloves

Ansell manufactured the first ever latex gloves in 1964 specifically for use in medical procedures and examinations to prevent contamination between medical staff and patients. Today however, latex gloves are used as a means to promote hygiene and reduce contamination in a variety of industries, including cleaning, food service, tattoo parlours and a variety of other fields.


One of the most specific characteristics of latex gloves is the texture. Most latex gloves are textured to help prevent slippage when dealing with moist or wet objects. The textured part of the latex gloves can either be on the fingertips or throughout the entire glove. 


Latex gloves used to only be available in the traditional white translucent finish. Today latex gloves are available in nearly every colour of the rainbow as well as black and transparent. The colour of the latex glove is entirely aesthetic and has absolutely nothing to do with the material composition or quality/safety level.


Latex gloves come in many different thicknesses. The thickness of the gloves is measured in mm. Many people lay a large amount of importance on the thickness of the latex glove in relation to the overall quality, safety, durability and functionality. In most cases the thickness of the latex glove differs throughout the glove. Latex gloves are generally reinforced by way of thicker layers of latex positioned on the palms and fingers for added protection. 

Powder and powder-free latex gloves

In terms of quality, dexterity and durability powder and powder-free latex gloves are extremely similar. There are two main differences between powder and powder-free latex gloves – cost and convenience. Powder free gloves are more expensive than powdered ones due to the additional steps that need to be taken in making them. Most people prefer powder- free latex gloves, and today, the majority of latex gloves produced are powder-free.

Alternatives to latex

Because of the increasing amount of latex allergies in the general population, disposable gloves can be made from non-latex materials such as nitrile, vinyl (the most common) or neoprene. People who are unable to use latex gloves due to a latex allergy have only one alternative to latex gloves which is high grade isoprene gloves. These latex glove alternatives offer similar touch sensitivity and dexterity as the latex glove but are more expensive.


Written by www.gloveclub.co.uk