What do the color of gloves mean?

glove colors
Blue, Orange, and Yellow Disposable Gloves

Summary – Disposable glove colors are up to the user, with the general points listed below, and aren’t related to fashion. Gloves can be dyed any color according to the manufacturer’s specs.

7 Most Common Disposable Nitrile Glove Colors

Disposable gloves have many different colors. Manufacturers add a dye that doesn’t impact the strength of the material. You may be wondering what color correlates to which application. Which glove color is right for you? Let’s find out…

1. Blue Disposable Gloves

Blue Gloves are the most common across all medical and scientific applications. It matches much of the disposable apparel worn by doctors and nurses. Essential medical exams and nurses who administer vaccines use blue gloves because of ease of supply and inexpensive costs. Blue gloves, unless otherwise listed, don’t protect against chemotherapy drugs and other highly corrosive substances. For this reason, blue gloves are ideal for basic medical and scientific applications.

2. Black Disposable Gloves

Black Nitrile Gloves are used by mechanics, law enforcement, and other industrial applications that benefit from seeing white substances quickly. Postal workers famously use black nitrile to test illicit materials found in mailrooms. Tattoo artists love black nitrile gloves because they easily hide ink stains and can withstand tearing.

3. Orange Disposable Gloves

Orange Nitrile Gloves are loved by auto mechanics for their ability to see dark grease and oil stains. Orange is prominent in tight spaces as well. Petroleum workers consider Grabber Orange Nitrile Gloves to be a mainstay of their application. These aren’t your average lunch lady gloves. Nitrile is helpful against a broad range of chemicals and is 100% latex free.

4. Pink Disposable Gloves

Pink Exam Gloves by Generation Pink support the National Breast cancer Foundation. The NBCF has provided over 1.7 million resources to women in need. Every purchase of pink exam gloves supports the NBCF’s mission to educate women on breast health, treat those with cancer, and provide research grants for a cure. Pink gloves are exclusively used by doctors, nurses, and other health professionals that wish to support the mission of the NBCF.

5. Purple Disposable Gloves

Purple Nitrile Exam Gloves are rated to be suitable for chemotherapy applications. And they’re friendlier to patients. Some find that blue is too associated with cold hospital exam tables and find patients are more receptive to purple and pink gloves. Competitors’ purple exam gloves may not be suitable for chemotherapy, but purple gloves are ideal for chemo at Harmony.

6. White Disposable Gloves

White gloves are typically latex. Why? Natural latex rubber is white in the manufacturing process. Synthetic glove materials like nitrile can be dyed to become any color, but latex remains natural. Latex already inflames allergies, and adding a dye may worsen reactions. White gloves, whether latex or nitrile, are helpful as a base layer to notice whenever there is a tear when double gloving.

Cleanrooms like to use white gloves because it is critical to see materials on your gloves. EMTs may use white gloves for the same reason, although blood quickly displays on all light-colored gloves.

7. Green Disposable Gloves

Green disposable gloves are used by health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, at-home care professionals, and surgeons. Green nitrile allows doctor offices and hospitals to color code their nitrile gloves for different uses and sizes. 

Hospitals and exam rooms may have disposable glove dispensers with varied colors of gloves for different usages and protective levels, along with sizing. For example, one compartment may have a size medium and another box large. 

Double Gloving and Glove Colors

Doctors double-glove when they need protection from a tear in highly infectious situations. Healthcare professionals wear two layers of gloves to adequately protect themselves. The doctor can quickly see a tear or abrasion by wearing a white glove as a base layer and then putting a second purple exam glove on. The white glove will show through the purple layer upon tearing. Double gloving is effective against bloodborne pathogens and other infectious materials. According to research, double gloving can reduce exposure to pathogens by as much as 87%.

Conclusion – What do the colors of disposable gloves mean?

The glove colors used to be simple – latex gloves were a natural white color, and latex alternatives were blue. But because color no longer corresponds to quality, i.e., all synthetic glove materials can be made any color, it is up to the consumer to decide. Laboratory and cleanroom environments use different glove colors to prevent cross-contamination. For example, a white glove may have a lower ISO rating than a blue glove, allowing employees to easily distinguish the two.

Some employees may be allergic to specific dyes used in nitrile glove manufacturing. To combat this, purple exam gloves are helpful are those with allergies to the blue dye. Blue #2 is used in medical exam gloves and has reactions in a small portion of the population.

Where to buy colored disposable gloves?

Looking for disposable gloves? Harmony has 16+ years of experience providing the ideal personal protective equipment to hospitals, cleanrooms, industrial manufacturing, and research centers. 

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