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What are PVC Gloves?

By Nychole Price
Updated May 21, 2024
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Polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, is a thermoplastic polymer that is used to coat the outside of gloves in order to provide protection from chemicals, punctures, cuts and abrasion. This variety of protective gloves are used in a number of job fields to protect from various potential hazards. The types of PVC gloves include safety gloves, medical gloves, lab gloves and industrial gloves.

PVC safety gloves are worn by warehouse workers, farmers, agriculturists, construction workers and commercial fisherman to protect their hands from the cold weather, possible puncture wounds and abrasions. This type of PVC gloves are foam lined, single dipped and are cinched at the wrist, for extra insulation against the elements. These gloves are distinguishable in that they also have a liquid resistant coating to keep them flexible when used in sub-zero temperatures.

Medical gloves are another variety of gloves that may be PVC coated. The PVC coating provides extra protection from blood-borne pathogens and other bodily fluids, due to its intense strength and puncture resistance. They are also latex-free, making them perfect for people with sensitive skin. What distinguishes this kind of PVC gloves from the others is that they are ultra-thin, providing fingertip sensitivity, for working with needles and other fine instruments.

Lab gloves are worn by chemists, due to the fact that they protect the skin from coming into contact with harsh chemicals, such as acids. PVC gloves are cut and puncture resistant, meaning chemicals can't enter the gloves, should an accident occur. They come in gauntlet or wrist lengths, making them perfect for all laboratory projects. PVC lab gloves are also flexible, allowing for ease of movement when working with small or fragile objects.

Industrial gloves are worn by people in the heavy equipment industry. This variety of PVC gloves are also heat resistant, making them perfect for working on hot machinery. They are chemical, puncture, cut and abrasion resistant. The crinkle finish on the palm and fingers provide non-slip gripping abilities to prevent the frequency of accidents.

In order for PVC gloves to provide the ultimate protection, they must fit properly. Gloves that are to large will permit chemicals to enter through the cuffs, or slip off during use. Gloves that are too small are likely to tear, or not fully cover the hand, leaving it exposed to chemicals, heat or sharp objects. A properly fitting glove will fit snugly, but still allow the user to make a fist. The gloves should be worn for the job in which they were designed, as not all gloves are created equal.

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Discussion Comments
By OeKc05 — On May 21, 2012

@shell4life – The PVC dipped part of the glove is waterproof. However, if you buy a pair that are only partially coated, then the water could leak through the other material.

I had a pair of PVC gloves that had a cotton base, and only a few sections of the gloves were coated in PVC. Water went right through the cotton part, so it is best to buy a pair that are totally covered in PVC.

I also like playing in the snow, so I got a pair with a soft acrylic lining that were totally coated with PVC. The inside was warm, and the outside resisted all the moisture from the snow. I was able to build a whole snowman without ever getting my hands damp.

By shell4life — On May 21, 2012

Are PVC coated gloves waterproof? I see that the article says that chemicals can't penetrate them, so I would think this would mean that regular water could not enter them, either.

I ask because I've been looking for a good winter glove for playing in the snow. I love building snowmen and having snowball fights, but the moisture always leaks through my gloves and chills my hands. Having freezing wet hands in a yard full of snow is no fun, and I can't stay out there for very long because I have to go inside and thaw my hands out.

By StarJo — On May 20, 2012

I wear PVC dotted gloves in the winter when I'm working around the yard. They are made from cotton and polyester, so they keep my hands warm. The palms are covered in dots of PVC, so I can get a good grip on things.

I wait until all the shrubs and grasses are dead before removing them from the garden. I put on my PVC gloves and start yanking up the tall weeds. It is much easier to grasp them with these gloves than with regular garden gloves.

I can also trim bushes that have thorns on them and pick up the pieces with the gloves. The PVC keeps the thorns from going through and poking my hands.

By seag47 — On May 19, 2012

My husband works in a refrigerated warehouse, and he handles crates of dairy and deli food all day. He wears PVC work gloves for protection against the cold and against accidents.

Since it is constantly 38 degrees in the warehouse, he needs to have his hands covered while working to prevent them from becoming chapped and cracked. Also, sometimes, there are food spills in the area. When he grabs a wet box with the PVC gloves, it will not slip out of his hands.

I've seen the gloves, and they are very shiny. The ones he wears are orange, and they look like they are coated in liquid.

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