Powdered gloves were innovated early on when those performing surgical and medical applications needed an easier way to put on gloves. Various methods were used in the early stages, such as wetting gloves and testing various powders such as talcum. However, some of the early testings of powdered gloves led to postoperative complications. That led to the use of food-grade cornstarch.
Food-grade cornstarch was in use within the glove industry by 1947, and by the 1970s, it held the largest market share. Cornstarch became the leading powder used, as it had absorption properties without irritation that other powders couldn’t provide. It is still prevalent today, but occasionally gloves are also powdered with calcium or lactose.
The powders are applied to the gloves near the end of manufacturing. After the glove formers are dipped in the glove materials and excess proteins and residues are removed, the gloves are powdered before they are stripped from their forms. The cornstarch powder mixture is 2 percent magnesium oxide, which prevents the powder from thickening or turning into a paste.
Powdered gloves are commonly used for individuals whose palms are prone to sweating or for industries that require frequent hand washing and glove changes. The powder allows for wet or moist hands to conform to the gloves easier.
Powdered gloves are not suitable for all applications, as the powder interferes with certain biological and chemical processes. It has been banned by the FDA for use in exam-grade latex gloves. Additionally, the powder can damage finishes from paints, varnishes, and lacquers.
Zoomget has a powdered vinyl and latex glove available. These gloves are great for the frequent glove changes that come with food prep and nail salon use, and for moisture-rich applications such as plumbing.