It’s no secret that gloves are essential for a doctor’s kit. From operating special theater machinery to tending to patients, gloves are necessary to maintain a safe and comfortable hospital environment. So why are they blue? 

Let’s take a look at some of the four main reasons why medical gloves are blue:

  • Blue is the universal color for health.
  • Blue shows glove damage better than white.
  • Blue differentiates medical gloves from other types.
  • Blue differentiates nitrile from latex gloves.

As you may have noticed, glove color matters. In general, medical facilities prefer blue medical gloves. In this article, we’ll see why medical gloves are blue.

1. Blue Is the Universal Color for Health

Medical gloves are blue because blue is the universal color for health. Look back at all the times you’ve been to an appointment at the hospital. Many medical supplies and equipment were blue or a shade of blue blended with white.

  • Detergents and cleaning agents
  • Nurse scrubs
  • Hospital hair nets
  • Theater masks

In short, a lot of stuff at the hospital or healthcare facility was blue if you paid close attention. Adverts, medical logos, and billboards also appear in blue.

That brings us to the question: why did health professionals choose blue in the first place?

  • Blue stands for the qualities of the medical field: Did you know that blue is the color associated with trust, professionality, credibility, power, calmness, and focus? All healthcare providers are expected to demonstrate these qualities in their line of work, and blue gloves are an excellent way to represent the values.
  • Blue is easy to see in the hospital setting: In a hospital setting, care providers need to see where everything is if they are to respond fast to emergencies and avoid preventable accidents. This makes it difficult to see any blemish on white gloves, especially when they’re needed fast. Blue gloves make it easy to spot defects quickly in the bright, white hospital setting.

Medical gloves are a necessary part of healthcare. They help protect the doctor from potentially infectious materials and help keep the patient safe and comfortable. Blue gloves are a perfect choice for medical personnel since they are comfortable to work with and easily reveal punctures and small tears, which helps reduce infection and contamination.

2. Blue Shows Glove Damage Better Than White

It’s always important to carefully inspect your equipment before inserting any needles inside your patients, checking any organs inside their bodies, or performing any tests on biohazardous human fluids. The last thing you want is to perform a procedure on someone, only to realize later that the gloves were punctured before treatment, and your patient has been exposed to the risk of infection.

White gloves are good at concealing tiny punctures, which blend in with the surrounding white color of the hospital environment. A white skin tone goes a step further in hiding the blemish. The blue color on medical gloves adds some sharp contrast in a hospital environment, making it easier to spot the defect before touching your patient.

Gloves have one job on your hands; protecting you and your patient from an infection, especially where body fluids are involved. When your gloves get damaged during the manufacturing process, transport, or storage, the problem comes in.

Blue gloves also show sharp contrast against your skin, making it difficult to miss a tiny puncture before any procedure.

3. Blue Differentiates Medical Gloves From Other Types 

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of gloves is the typical surgical gloves. By now, you’d be aware of other kinds of gloves; in fact, the glove market is extremely diverse, with several other applications that aren’t associated with medicine.

There are many applications for medical gloves beyond the confines of a hospital bed. For instance, we see widespread use of gloves in chemical processing, manufacturing, research, etc.

That’s where the blue color comes in. Although we have a diverse application of gloves, the blue color just shows that they belong to a healthcare facility. Other colors – black, yellow, and dark shades of blue – are used in chemical manufacturing, food processing, cleaning, and several other applications.

The blue color on medical gloves also helps the doctors and nurses easily recognize their colleagues. As absurd as it may sound, blue can help clear up the mixup if we look at gloves as part of the outfit. How, you might ask?

From the moment you walk into a hospital, you’ll see the staff in different uniforms or scrubs. It’s not likely to see cleaners wear the same uniforms as doctors and nurses. If your uniform has a different color from the others, then it will be easier for you to be identified as a doctor, nurse, or other medical staff members. The color of the gloves can add to the essence of the outfit, e.g., long and dark-blue gloves would most likely belong to a cleaner.

4. Blue Differentiates Nitrile From Latex Gloves

Blue medical gloves are made from artificial latex known as nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR). These gloves are slowly but surely replacing the old powdered latex rubber gloves because they are user-friendly. Since nitrile gloves are latex-free, they are suitable for people with latex allergies.

Latex gloves are made from natural rubber-containing proteins. These proteins can cause allergic reactions in some people, and repeated use of latex can lead to severe dermatological issues. Using latex-free gloves is a start to preventing these issues. Blue medical gloves are made from nitrile, which is latex-free.

What Is the Difference Between Blue and White Gloves?

Blue and white gloves have different uses. Both are necessary for many workplaces, although white gloves are the primary standard in most industries.

The difference between blue and white gloves is not in color alone but also in the uses. Nurses wear white medical gloves because they are more sterile than other kinds of gloves. On the other hand, blue medical gloves are used when handling someone with a latex allergy.

A lot of chemicals and solvents are used in the medical environment. Some of these chemicals can be very dangerous when exposed to naked skin.

Unfortunately, not all gloves can protect you from direct contact with such substances. A glove may show no sign of degradation, but a tiny defect allows solvents and chemicals to penetrate and reach the skin.

That’s why blue medical gloves are recommended since they’re made from approximately 8-10 millimeter thick nitrile.

Advantages of Blue Gloves Over White Gloves

Medical gloves differ from other gloves not only in their construction but also in their intended use. In medical applications, medical gloves are used to protect against bleeding from surgical incisions or prevent the spread of pathogens during surgical procedures. So, why do medics choose blue gloves over white ones?

Blue Gloves are Safer Than White Gloves

When you’re about to wear gloves for the first time, it’s always best to buy blue ones. It will be easier to tell that they’ve never been worn before if they’re new. The blue color shows that the gloves have been recently acquired. 

Additionally, blue gloves are less likely to cause cross-contamination, which happens when bacteria from one object ends up on another object. This is important because you won’t end up with an infection on your hands if you’re handling sick patients. 

Blue Gloves are More Durable Than White Gloves

Although the blue nitrile-made gloves are not as flexible as natural rubber, they happen to be the most durable. Nitrile gloves are 3 to 5 times more durable than latex. This means reduced wastage: blue gloves can be used for a more extended period than white gloves. Besides, blue gloves have a long shelf-life of around 3-5 years when properly stored.

Blue Gloves Instill a Sense of Comfort

Let’s face it. White, blood-stained gloves paint a scary mental image that won’t go away any time soon. Your patients are more likely to be scared of the pain involved in a procedure if they have an awful image imprinted on their minds. 

One of the best things about blue gloves is that they are not as intimidating as their white counterparts. This means that patients will be at ease when you wear them. After all, blue is the color of tranquility. 

Since the use of medical gloves protects both you and your patient from infections, you can rest assured that these gloves will earn you the trust of your patients and keep them calm as you provide treatment.

Blue Gloves Offer High Tactile Sensitivity

Your sense of touch when performing a procedure or operating a sensitive machine is very important. For instance, you want to be able to feel anything out of the ordinary if you’re physically inspecting a patient’s body for tumors. Blue gloves make it easier to feel through the material while providing the protection you and your patient need during the procedure. 

Blue nitrile gloves also have textured fingertips, enabling users to retain their sense of touch and easily feel objects. On the other hand, the latex on white gloves can limit your sense of touch.

Blue Gloves are More Comfortable to Work With

The nitrile material used to manufacture blue gloves offers medical professionals the much desired comfortable fit. This is because nitrile gloves are easy to stretch and take the shape of the hand perfectly. This means that you don’t need powder to wear or remove them.

Furthermore, nitrile gloves can react to body temperature, which allows you to feel the patients’ body temperature even with the gloves on.

Glove Disposal

The world is now moving towards having a clean and non-toxic environment. This is put into practice by recommending good waste disposal practices and using safe and degradable materials. With environmental concerns in mind, easily disposable materials have become the norm.

For this reason – and many more – hospitals are now using blue gloves. Since blue medical gloves are made from nitrile, an environmentally-friendly material, they won’t cause harm to the environment when disposed of properly.

What You Should Know Before Disposing of Medical Gloves

While disposal of gloves is a necessary task for healthcare providers, you should take precautions to ensure their safe and efficient disposal.

  • Keep gloves clean: Keeping gloves clean helps them perform better and prevents against infections. Before putting on your gloves, wash your hands thoroughly to remove dirt and bacteria from between your fingers. If you are using an alcohol cleaner, be sure to thoroughly rinse your hands to ensure all traces of alcohol are gone from your hands.
  • Don’t share gloves: If you are required to wear gloves during a procedure, don’t share gloves with other healthcare team members. This includes other doctors and nurses.
  • Purchase gloves from one source: It is recommended to purchase gloves from a single source to help prevent inconsistent product quality and loss. Be sure to buy from a reliable source such as a hospital glove shop.

You can also have another pair of gloves when disposing of used gloves: A double pair of gloves adds an extra layer of protection and allows the safe disposal of soiled and torn gloves. Although not mandatory after all procedures, a double pair of gloves can also be worn during procedures such as IUD insertion.

Gloves should be placed in a safe and secure place. You can either throw them in a lined trash can or plastic bag. If you do not feel comfortable disposing of gloves in the trash, use a plastic bag but keep it airtight. This should help prevent breakdown and dangerous contamination when the gloves have been in the bag for a while.

Lastly, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Need help with medical gloves? Make sure your practice is well stocked with all the best medical gloves! Here at Allied USA, it’s important to us to give you a wide variety of medical supplies to choose from, including any kind of medical glove you could need. Browse our selection today!