Cleanroom gloves come in a variety of colors, and they may have an odor when you put them on. These facts are usually bypassed without much thought, but one might wonder: what causes these colors and odors? This week, we're going in-depth with cleanroom gloves to explain why they're colored they way they are and what the cause of that odor is. A typical powder-free latex glove will have an off-white cream color. If you take that glove and stretch it a few times then smell it, you'll find that the odor is rather unpleasant. That odor comes from the residual chlorine that is trapped within the molecular structure of the latex that continues to outgas when the glove is worn, so the odor itself is the chlorine impurities. You can do the same thing for nitro gloves; if you snap it a few times before sniffing it, you'll smell an odor. The reason for the odor in nitro gloves are manufacturing impurities that haven't been removed from the glove during the manufacture process. Both latex and nitro gloves go through a rigorous post-processing process, and they shouldn't have any residual odor. That odor is outgassing and the outgassing are contaminants, so if your gloves have an odor it's best to send that glove to environmental health and safety, do particle count testing on it, and disqualify it.
Cleanroom gloves can come in a plain white or off-white color, but they can also come in colors such as blue, purple, green, and more. The natural color of both latex rubber and nitro rubber, however, is white. So how do we get all of these fun colors from white material? The manufacturers decide to put in an FDA-approved pigment, which is mixed with titanium dioxide. These pigments won't cause any harm to your operator as they are FDA-approved, but they can affect the glove in detrimental ways, such as the elasticity, cleanliness, and durability. A nitro glove without the additive can stretch much more than a nitro glove with the additive, so the pigment affects the strength (and cleanliness, since the pigment is considered an impurity). If a colored nitro glove is worn for long periods of time, pinholes in the crotches of the glove begin to form, meaning gloves with color aren't as durable as gloves without color
Nitro gloves should be a white color; any pigment added will affect the durability, cleanliness, and elasticity of a glove. Latex gloves will always come in an off-white color because of the chlorine. In regards to the odor, if your gloves stink, do not wear them. They haven't been properly post-process cleaned. With the causes of glove color and odor uncovered, we hope you will practice safer habits in the cleanroom.
If you are in need of new gloves for your critical enviroment please feel free to contact us or check out our glove selection here.