It is often not a good sign when gloves change their colors. Upon frequent use in unfavorable conditions, gloves turn dark-ish or yellow-ish, making them unsightly. But should such a change push us to change gloves? The answer differs, depending on the type of gloves and your work requirements.
In this article, we will tackle the question ‘why do latex gloves turn yellow?’ Then, we can decide what to do with our current latex pairs.
Table of Contents
Why Are Our Latex Gloves Turning Yellow
1. Latex material was exposed to various elements
Because of its natural properties, latex’s exposure to various elements changes its original color to yellow.
First of all, our hands sweat when we wear gloves. Thus, the oils and fatty acids break down the latex properties and turn latex yellow-ish over time.
Also, the exposure to copper iron contained in the working environment leads to discoloration.
However, as latex turns yellow upon exposure to these substances, we can still rely on the glove for good performance. The pairs’ quality and protective features do not decrease, since changing to yellow is just local discoloration on the glove’s contact site.
2. Latex gloves washed with Chlorine
Many users have allergic reactions to powder in rubber gloves. So, manufacturers adopt Chlorine wash to make powder-free gloves.
Latex pairs dipped in Chlorine during the manufacturing process are prone to turning yellow more quickly than others. Therefore, it is also not a sign that tells you to change your gloves right away.
3. Latex gloves exposed to UV rays for prolonged periods
Yellowing in latex gloves is also the effect of extended exposure to heat, oxygen, and ultraviolet lights. Latex properties are damaged and turn yellow when worn or placed outdoors under sunlight for hours on end.
If we keep them in a place as hot as 30°C and more, the yellowing process will escalate, affecting the pair’s quality quickly.
Exposure to radiation also makes the gloves brittle or stiff, losing elasticity. In these cases, we should replace the damaged pair with a new, elastic, and functional one.
When my gloves turn yellow and feel brittle, I will immediately find an alternative to reduce the risk of my gloves being badly punctured and torn. Old pairs will be dangerous if we are in the middle of handling chemicals or contaminated devices.
Why Do Nitrile Gloves Turn Yellow
Many workers find themselves confused when their nitrile pair’s inside leaves stains and looks yellow. Similar to latex gloves, nitrile gloves change color to yellow-ish after frequent exposure to acids in sweat and our skin.
Can Bacteria Grow on Latex Gloves
Yes, they can. Bacteria are among the hazards we should pay attention to when wearing any gloves made of rubber, and not just latex ones. As workers put on latex pairs, they often feel hot and sweaty. Excessive sweat is an environment for bacteria to multiply, especially when our hands are not clean.
So, to avoid the multiplying of bacteria that can result in bad odor and degraded glove quality, we need to ensure hand hygiene. Make sure to clean your gloves often and wash your hands with soap before and after wearing the gloves.
How Do You Wash and Store Latex Gloves
To prevent latex gloves from turning yellow, we should wash and store them properly. Actually, it is a breeze to clean latex pairs with a mild detergent or soap, water, a pair of thick protective gloves, and a disinfected bucket. Make sure to wash your hands and pull the clean protective gloves on before you wash the latex ones.
- Fill the bucket with water and pour some mild detergent into it.
- Pull both gloves inside out and dip them into the soapy water.
- Gently rub the inside of your latex pairs with soapy water. Leave the pair there for 6- 8 hours.
- Make sure to disinfect the protective gloves and wash your hands clean before taking the latex gloves out again.
- Fill the latex gloves with water to check for holes and punctures. If both gloves are in good condition, then rinse them with fresh water.
- Now, air-dry the pair and avoid putting it in the dryer.
We should also keep latex gloves in a cool and dry place since direct sun rays and heat can damage them.
Why do latex gloves turn yellow? There are several explanations for this issue. And based on those reasons, we can decide whether to replace our pair or not. If your work requires optimal dexterity, look out for brittle and hard latex gloves that turned yellow.
If you value excellent cleanness, make sure to wash your pair often to avoid yellowing by sweat and bacteria.
Hopefully, our article can help clear your confusion and offer helpful guides to wash and store your gloves. Thank you for reading!
This is Edward Manning, the editor in chief of Construction Informer. Quite a bit of my time is spent researching the market and interviewing experts in the field so that I can give you reliable information.