Why Wearing Disposable Gloves Is Dangerous

The reason we wear gloves is to protect ourselves and others. We want to do the right thing but let’s be honest… many of us think we’re safe by chucking on any old glove. The fact is that all we’re really doing is putting on a false sense of security.
17 May, 2020 by
Why Wearing Disposable Gloves Is Dangerous

Wearing disposable gloves is dangerous! Unless of course, you wear the right ones. This article is all about helping you to don the right glove because we care about you (and your hands).

The reason we wear gloves is to protect ourselves and others. We want to do the right thing but let’s be honest… many of us think we’re safe just because we put a glove on. The fact is that all we are really doing is putting on a false sense of security. Unless of course you have researched gloves and matched them to your application – in which case, kudos to you! But for the rest of us, please read on because this subject is super important and just as simple to get right.

Duty of care

We all need to take responsibility for what we do, and we all have a duty of care to look after ourselves and others. So, when it comes to gloves, you owe it to yourself, your staff and your customers to make sure the right form of protection is worn. Ignorance is definitely not bliss!

1. Latex disposable gloves

Everybody loves latex (gloves, that is). They provide movement, flexibility and dexterity. BUT… the number of reported latex allergies are growing and are becoming more severe. For this very reason, latex disposable gloves should never be used in applications that involve food. Aside from the fact that loads of people are allergic to it, latex also has a distinct taste and smell that your diners are unlikely to find appetising.

If you are in the medical industry, you have undoubtedly been warned about this too and recommended not to wear them. This particularly applies to dentists who are renowned for sticking a latex finger into patients' mouths.

Nitrile powder-free gloves are getting so close to Latex dexterity now, so they are the recommended replacement.


Not suitable for food applications. Some people are allergic to latex. 

2. Vinyl disposable gloves

Vinyl is for floors and records, not for protective gloves and we certainly don’t recommend them for cleaning. Why? Vinyl is porous and has limited protection against chemicals - they do bugger all when using solvents and alcohols other than giving you a false sense of security. While vinyl disposable gloves might be okay for food applications or nappy changes, vinyl definitely isn’t the right glove for cleaning.


Limited protection against chemicals. Not suitable for cleaning. Okay for food applications and nappy changes.

3. Nitrile powder-free disposable gloves

Jackpot! These gloves tick all the boxes and are the right choice for disposable gloves in pretty well all applications. No powder, awesome chemical protection, better quality, no known allergies, good dexterity/movement like latex… What’s not to love? It's the glove we should be donning in just about every situation.


Comfortable. No known allergies. Awesome chemical protection. Highly recommended.

4. Powdered and lightly powdered gloves

The FDA ruling of powdered gloves in medical applications has rocked the glove world (yes, it’s a real thing). They found that the powder presents numerous risks to patients and health care workers, including inflammation, granulomas, and respiratory allergic reactions. Our Australian Government's regulator TGA, followed the FDA ruling and issued a series of articles and recommendations but are yet to issue breaches!

There was a lot of back-and-forth on the subject of powder post-ruling as their claims on powders were quite broad. Quality manufacturers switched powders to cornmeal starch (the stuff we used to make silly putty out of as kids) well before the ruling. While it is germanium (GE) free and doesn’t have the same effects as those tested, there are increasing cases of allergic reactions to cornmeal starch and corn in general. I have a victim very close to home... my son's mate, he is nine years old and exposure to corn-based products makes all hell break loose in his system... anaphylaxis!

Further to that, powder has never been nor will ever be recommended for food or medical use. The powder has a taste, smell and is downright unsuitable for these applications. The FDA ruling was limited to medical (patients and healthcare workers) but we believe strongly it should have extended to the food industry and beyond.

In the cleaning and maintenance world (the best kind of world), we've never liked the smell, feel or the mess made by powdered gloves. I hate using them personally, especially if I’m wearing dark clothes. The best solution is powder free!


So now you’re up to speed with disposable gloves, it’s time for you to pick the right one for your purpose – and make sure you choose a quality brand. There is no point in donning a nitrile disposable glove if the quality is poor! It will fall apart and leave you and your hands vulnerable.


XO2 is passionate about protecting you, your hands and the hands of those around you.

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