Cleanroom Gloves VS Exam Gloves?

Cleanroom Gloves vs Exam Gloves

How Are Cleanroom Gloves Different From Exam Gloves?

You might think that all disposable gloves are created equal, but that’s simply not the case. In fact, disposable gloves are available in a variety of options, each made with their own distinct purposes in mind. Since 20% of on-the-job accidents involve employees’ hands, selecting the proper type is essential to safeguarding your teams’ well-being. Additionally, using the incorrect type of glove for your intended application could damage materials and equipment, which is too costly a mistake for any company to make.

Two of the most common places where disposable gloves are used are cleanrooms and environments where medical exams take place, such as doctors’ offices. Here, we’ll discuss the key differences between cleanroom gloves and exam gloves to illustrate the importance of selecting the right type.

Cleanroom Gloves

V-Clean Cleanroom Grade Nitrile Gloves
V-Clean Cleanroom Grade Nitrile Gloves

Work areas that must remain free from contaminants like dust are known as clean environments (AKA Cleanrooms, or Controlled Environments). It’s also critical for these spaces to be free of other pollutants, including chemical vapors, aerosol particles, airborne microbes, and even static electricity. Most often, these special locations are found within companies that manufacture electronic components, as intricate and sensitive parts such as microchips could become compromised if exposed to any contaminants. Other industries in which cleanrooms are used include pharmaceuticals, scientific research, and aerospace semiconductor engineering.

Minimize sub-micron particle contamination by using gloves designed and manufactured for Cleanrooms. Because the need for reducing contaminants is so great, not just any type of disposable glove will do. Cleanroom gloves are designed and processed according to stringent requirements so they’ll be safe for use in controlled sterile environments. Materials like nitrile, for instance, are known to reduce particle transfer and can be used in both wet and dry handling.

Depending on the application, certain cleanrooms have different classes. A Class 1,000 cleanroom, for instance, means that no more than 1,000 particles of .5 mm or larger are permitted per cubic foot of air. This is known as a class ISO 4 cleanroom. The lower the number, the more sensitive the environment.

Disposable cleanroom gloves are available for use in various classes of cleanrooms. Most importantly, when purchasing gloves, it’s a good idea to make sure they were produced in cleanroom environments; otherwise, they could contain contaminants. The V-Clean cleanroom nitrile gloves carried by Harmony Business Supplies, for instance, were produced at ISO 5 levels and are thus considered safe for use in class 1,000 to 10,000 cleanrooms. Choosing the most appropriate glove is one of the most important cleanroom consumable decisions.

Exam Gloves

Synguard Medical Exam Grade Nitrile Gloves
Synguard Medical Exam Grade Nitrile Gloves

This variation is typically the first to come to mind when we think of disposable gloves. While they can be made from a variety of materials, the primary purpose they serve is to keep both the medical professional and the patient protected against transfer of bacteria, microbes, or any other substances. At the most basic level, they are simply a barrier to block the wearer’s hands from coming into contact with pathogens.

Because keeping the wearer’s hands safe is of utmost importance, the primary quality to look for in exam gloves should be thickness. Gloves should thus not tear easily, even when friction is applied. Nonetheless, mobility is another factor to consider, so the thickness of the glove should not impede the wearer’s ability to use their hands freely.

Additionally, for the patient’s protection, gloves should be switched out in between every new exam. Due to the frequency of changing them, exam gloves should be cost-effective enough to replace them often, which is why disposable options are the go-to choice among medical facilities worldwide. Gloves used in the medical field should also be easy for the wearer to put on and take off quickly.

Another factor to consider when purchasing exam gloves is the material. Latex, which is a natural material made from rubber, has been a leading choice for many years. Latex gloves are an excellent option for a number of reasons: they boast exceptional comfort and dexterity are a cost-effective choice, are lightly powdered to be put on and off with ease, and are biodegradable.

Nonetheless, some people are allergic or sensitive to latex, and increased exposure to the material can actually make a person more susceptible to developing an allergy to it, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (acaai.org). For this reason, alternate materials such as vinyl and nitrile are becoming increasingly popular in medical settings, and are at least a good idea to have “on hand.” Nitrile is also significantly more puncture resistant than latex, providing extra protection against needles and sharps.

Whether you need cleanroom gloves or exam gloves, Harmony Business Supplies has you covered. With a large selection of options to choose from, their online store features gloves in various materials and sizes to suit every application imaginable. You can place your order now or speak with a knowledgeable product specialist for additional information.

Disposable Gloves 101

Disposable Gloves 101

The Gist on Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves keep your hands and environment safe from contaminants, chemicals, and other dangers. Disposable gloves are used for hand protection in medical, forensic, scientific, automotive, food service, cleaning, and industrial applications. Single-use gloves come in a variety of materials and are used in industries worldwide.

Uses for Disposable Gloves

Medical Gloves

Disposable gloves are used in medical examinations and procedures to create a safety barrier that helps to prevent cross-contamination. This keeps medical personnel /caregivers and patients safe. Un-powdered gloves (which are covered below) are used more often during surgery to prevent contaminates. Medical and examination gloves are usually of higher quality materials and thickness to prevent tearing and punctures during procedures.

Food Gloves

If you’re handling or preparing food, disposable food gloves are a necessity. Food gloves ensure your food and employees stay clean and sanitary and provide a barrier against germs. Single-use food gloves are conveniently disposable so you can just throw them away after use. Latex-alternative disposable gloves (such as nitrile or vinyl) or often used in food handling due to possible latex allergies.  The most popular food handling glove is made from Polyethylene. These low cost gloves are perfect when you need to change gloves often and need light protection.

General Purpose Disposable Gloves

General Purpose Disposable Gloves are just that. Used in many industries and shops to keep hands clean and protect against chemicals and more. General purpose disposable gloves are available in latex, nitrile, chloroprene, and vinyl. Each material has unique features (covered below). Use general purpose disposable gloves for light duty cleaning, painting, maintenance work and more.

Disposable Glove Materials

Latex Gloves

Durable latex gloves are great for a variety of uses across medical and industrial applications. Latex gloves come in a variety of sizes, with powdered and powder-free options. Powder helps with easy donning of the gloves.

Latex gloves are more elastic than nitrile and more puncture resistance than vinyl. Latex gloves naturally offer excellent chemical resistance.  Using latex gloves is not recommended if you have a latex allergy.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile is a synthetic version of latex. Nitrile disposable gloves have higher puncture and chemical resistance than other materials. Nitrile offers great protection against punctures, cuts, and snags. Nitrile gloves are often used in medical applications and procedures for these reasons.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl disposable gloves are a good alternative for those allergic to latex gloves or dislike other types of gloves. Great for single-use applications.  Exam Grade Vinyl Gloves are ideal for protection in a wide range of medical applications. Food Service Vinyl Gloves are often used in catering, food handling, and food prep. Vinyl gloves are available with or without powder for easier donning.

Polyethylene Gloves

The lowest cost and least protective type of disposable gloves are polyethylene gloves. These are ideal however for food handling, catering, and other food industry related applications. Polyethylene single use gloves keep your hands clean and offer basic contamination protection.

Do You Need Sterile Disposable Gloves?

Medical and Exam Disposable Gloves are available in sterile options. Sterile gloves are also used in cleanrooms and controlled environments. If you are doing work where any possible type of contamination is a worry, opt for sterile gloves. Sterile gloves are sterilized and come in sealed packaging to maintain freshness and sterility.

Powdered Disposable Gloves

Disposable gloves are made of different polymers including latex, nitrile, and vinyl. They come un-powdered, or powdered to lubricate the gloves, making them easier to put on the hands. Again, if contaminates are a concern, opt for powder-free disposable gloves. However, for other applications, powder makes the gloves much easier to wear and change out.

If you have any questions or can’t quite decide what type of glove you, please give us a call and we’ll be glad to assist you in your selection!

Choosing the Right Disposable Gloves

Employers are required by law to provide their employees with acceptable personal protective equipment (PPE). This is to ensure the employees’ safety and minimize potential risk.

PPEs should be utilized in conjunction with a controlled work environment to complement each other and act as the final barrier between a hazardous chemical and an employee.

Gloves are a major part of personal protective equipment, but the sheer number of options can be daunting.

Below, we will break down the specifications of each glove type.

 

1. Latex Gloves 2810W-glove

Many consider Latex Gloves to the be industry standard. It provides the highest level of touch sensitivity and dexterity allowing an extreme level of precision. Latex provides an optimal barrier against infectious material and biological contaminants.

  • Natural Material made from rubber
  • Comfortable, tight fit providing a normal level of touch sensitivity
  • Wearable for an extended period of time
  • Cost-effective
  • Strong, elastic, and puncture resistant

 

 

 

2. Vinyl Gloves 2910w-gloves

An ideal choice for those seeking latex-like attributes, but are allergic to latex itself. Vinyl gloves are designed with a loose fit making it more comfortable than latex. While still being extremely comfortable for long term use, vinyl gloves are designed more for short-term activities.

  • Less-expensive than latex gloves
  • Slightly loose fit, suitable for short-term tasks
  • Easy to put on
  • Medium-duty glove
  • Effective temporary barrier against biological contaminants

 

 

 

3. Nitrile Gloves duraskin-nitrile---2010w-glove

A latex-free glove that provides superior strength and protection. It’s level of dexterity and touch sensitivity is slightly below latex. Nitrile gloves are excellent for highly demanding jobs due to its resistance to puncturing.

  • Highest quality latex replacement
  • Synthetic material, allergy-free
  • Naturally resistant to oil
  • Puncture-resistant, highly durable
  • Medical, food, and industrial applications

 

 

 

4. Polyethylene Gloves lbfh-pe-gloves

A low-cost, temporary barrier between hands and a material. Often used in the food service industry due to its cost-effectiveness. They are easily put on and taken off thus are perfect for temporary and short-term uses.

  • Loose design
  • Ideal for food prep
  • Light-duty glove
  • Most economic option

 

 

 

5. Chloroprene Gloves 2011W-gloves

Offering the fit and feel of latex, they are still a 100% synthetic formulation (latex-free). They are more puncture resistant than latex while providing superior protection against corrosive chemicals. It offers an incredible grip in both wet and dry environments.

  • More elastic than vinyl
  • More puncture resistance than both vinyl and latex
  • Suitable for medical, industrial, and laboratory applications

 

 

 

 

 

The type of glove used depends on what level of protection is needed. Generally, thicker gloves provide greater chemical resistance even though thin gloves can be made to be as strong as their bulkier counterparts.

Gloves can be purchased in either powder or powder-free options. The power is usually USP cornstarch and acts as a lubricant in the donning process. This powder, through its reaction with latex, can cause latex allergies. This is where powder-free latex gloves and latex-free gloves come into use.

 

Medical gloves, otherwise known as examination grade gloves, are designed around the quality requirement of the FDA. Originally intended for hospital settings, they have seen use in other fields where a higher degree of protection is required.

The food service industry uses gloves designed for short-term use, such as the polyethylene material. Gloves are an essential piece in minimizing cross-contamination.

Industrial gloves are not regulated by any US government agency, however, the American Society for Testing and Materials does set standards which our gloves conform to.

 

Gloves in general typically last 3 years from the date of manufacture, if stored properly. Disposable gloves should be stored in their original packaging, away from extreme temperatures, and excessive dust, sunlight, and moisture.

 

Browse our Disposable Gloves section here.

Harmony Business Supplies