There are four primary types of disposable gloves: latex, nitrile, neoprene/chloroprene, and vinyl. What are the different materials and characteristics of these gloves? Read on to find out.
Latex is a natural rubber sap that is secreted by rubber trees; when their bark is cut, the rubber sap is used to repair and heal the bark. Over the years, scientists have created formulas to achieve disposable gloves with premium strength, elasticity, tactile sensitivity, and durability. Due to the variety of proteins found in natural rubber, some users may experience skin irritation and allergic reactions, which can also affect other people these gloves come in contact with during use.
The natural rubber latex gloves are made from gives them their stretchability. Gloves made from latex are comfortable and will conform to the shape of your hands. Latex gloves are an excellent choice for your comfort and protection needs.
Nitrile butadiene rubber (nitrile for short) is a synthetic rubber that does not contain latex proteins and is generally resistant to oil, fuel, and other chemicals.
Nitrile gloves are more puncture resistant and stronger than natural rubber gloves but are not as strong as neoprene. Nitrile gloves are similar to latex gloves and can be a comparable option for those that have latex allergies. Nitrile gloves provide flexible and tactile wear while generally molding well to hands to provide a tight, second skin fit.
Neoprene/chloroprene is an organic compound and a type of synthetic rubber that, like nitrile, does not contain latex proteins. These gloves alleviate the potential for adverse reactions associated with proteins in natural rubber latex.
Chloroprene gloves are best known for their resistance to a variety of acids, chemicals, and other harsh substances. Because they are made from neoprene, they maintain their flexibility even when working with a wide range of temperatures.
Vinyl gloves are latex-free gloves that come in both thin and thick sizes. They do not stretch and are less comfortable than latex, but still provide better tactile sensitivity than neoprene. Vinyl gloves are ideal for quick usage but are not great for working with hazardous materials.
Another option with some disposable gloves is to purchase them with or without powder, which can make it easier to slip gloves on but isn’t the best choice for all applications. For example, powdered gloves should not be used in food preparation.
Though disposable gloves are helpful with many different tasks, they are not suited to all kinds of uses, and the materials they are made from are not always biodegradable. While natural rubber latex does degrade, gloves made from man-made materials like vinyl and nitrile take up space in landfills for a very long time.
Not all shoe covers are disposable, at least in the single-use sense (most everything is eventually disposable, right?). But who uses reusable shoe covers? What are reusable shoe covers made from? What are the benefits and drawbacks?
Who uses them?
Reusable shoe covers are recommended for use in the following industries:
Basically, if your profession brings you into the homes and businesses of your customers, and you care about differentiating yourself from your competition, taking the extra step in protecting their flooring from tracked in grime and scratching by using shoe covers is important. However, instead of using standard disposable shoe covers, which are definitely not as durable and which add up in cost each time you put on a new pair, you can use reusable booties.
Shoe Inn’s washable shoe covers are an affordable way to avoid damage and contamination that will likely lead to losing customers. Our reusable shoe covers are the #1 choice among professionals because of our quality materials and affordable pricing, and they are made right here in the USA!
What are they made from?
Shoe Inn’s reusable shoe covers are constructed with a premium nylon material, which is the same material used to manufacture rugged items like tarps and backpacks. The extremely durable fabric is permanently sealed with a moisture barrier finish, while the sole is made from a rugged, waterproof, non-slip material.
What are the pluses and minuses?
Let’s start with cons. There aren’t many, but might as well get them out first.
Cost more than disposable shoe covers (at least initially)
Require care and keeping track of if you want to make them last as long as possible
Let us know if you can think of anything else, we can’t
As for the much longer list of pros:
Reusable for approximately 6-9 months (ultimately costing MUCH LESS than disposables)
Basically, if you want an economical way to keep moisture in, while providing you with superior traction and peace of mind that you will not be slipping and sliding around or damaging a customer’s floors because of your shoes/boots and anything that might be on them (oil, mud, dirt, etc.), Shoe Inn reusable shoe covers are an excellent option.
Contamination in the workplace can halt production, necessitate expensive product recalls, or require lab experiments to be started over. It is a very real concern, perhaps even a fear, that laboratories, food processing companies, and manufacturers are particularly aware of and have measures in place to minimize or prevent. In this post, we discuss what contamination is, how it can be spread, and what can be done to try to prevent it.
Contamination: what is it?
The definition of contamination is the act of contaminating, or of making something impure or unsuitable by contact with something unclean, poisonous, etc. One of the most publicly visible examples of the effects of contamination is widespread food borne illness leading to hospitalizations and deaths. Negative food safety headlines are the worst nightmare of food processing companies and restaurants. This issue is discussed further in our shoe covers in the food industry blog post.
How is it spread?
Contamination can be spread through a variety of ways, including through the air (think tiny infectious droplets spread by coughs and sneezes), water, food, touching unclean surfaces, etc. Workers who don’t correctly follow procedures can cause cross-contamination, thereby halting production, having to decontaminate or discard products, needing to clean equipment, and other effects that result in lost time and money.
What can your company do to be safe from contamination?
Companies minimize workplace contamination by developing, implementing, and enforcing proper processes and procedures (including disinfection and cleaning procedures), having necessary infrastructure and equipment, and the like. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also an important consideration. By wearing shoe covers, hair nets, face masks, beard covers, and gloves, potential contaminants should be kept away from critical areas. The PPE will also help keep the work environment clean and sanitary.
Contamination is a very important matter, but you can lessen the likelihood of it occurring if you know what it is, how it spreads, and what can be done to minimize or prevent it entirely with cross-contamination prevention. Compliance with company processes and procedures is critical, as is having proper infrastructure and equipment, which may include shoe covers, disposable gloves, and sticky mats.
Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control the authorization and licensing of the manufacture and sale of food and beverages, medical devices, pharmaceutical products, and cosmetics. These guidelines provide minimum requirements that a manufacturer must meet to assure that their products are consistently high in quality, from batch to batch, for their intended use. The main purpose of GMP guidelines is always to prevent harm from occurring to the end user.
GMP covers the entire operation – everything from the materials used to employee personal hygiene. All guidelines follow a few basic principles, one of which is particularly relevant to Shoe Inn products:
Manufacturing facilities must maintain a clean and hygienic manufacturing area.
Procedures, like wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), help maintain the clean and hygienic manufacturing area and reduce the risk of contamination. Garments such as smocks, hair nets, beard covers, disposable gloves, and shoe covers are donned beforeentering critical environments and manufacturing areas. Oftentimes sticky mats, also known as tacky mats or cleanroom mats, are used in parts of facilities to pull contaminants off the bottom of street shoes prior to entering the gowning area or other sensitive areas. A newer technology that is being employed is the use of a UVC light sanitizing system to kill germs and pathogens on the soles of footwear.
When it comes to adhering to GMP protocols, Shoe Inn has a range of products that will definitely help with maintaining clean and hygienic manufacturing areas.
For any problem, there are usually multiple solutions and people looking to improve upon those solutions by building a better mousetrap. When it comes to dealing with harmful organisms like germs and pathogens, existing solutions such as shoe covers and chemical baths may be less than ideal. For example, chemical baths need to be cleaned/maintained and can result in safety hazards with liquids being tracked around the facility. Enter HealthySole, a better mousetrap indeed!
What is HealthySole?
HealthySole is the missing solution to a truly disinfected environment. It is a groundbreaking active UVC light sanitizer that reduces contamination and infectious organisms with virtually no workflow interruption, monetary cost to operate or additional staff. HealthySole is the first clinically proven UVC product to kill up to 99.9% of exposed germs and pathogens, which can cause contamination and infections such as hospital acquired infections (HAIs), in only eight (8) seconds. In addition, it is a green technology that disinfects without harmful chemicals.
Why use HealthySole?
This revolutionary product is essential in the reduction of spreading all pathogens that travel on the soles of footwear and cause contamination and infections. By adding HealthySole to an existing infection control program (such as booties or dedicated shoes), the facility will decrease the overall microbial load starting with shoe and floor contamination. Further, it will add a significant active layer of defense that reduces the rate of airborne, horizontal and cross contamination and does not incur additional labor costs. Lowering the overall microbial burden in a healthcare facility can lead to a decrease in HAIs. Facilities that have positive performance standards by lowering HAIs will reduce the additional treatment cost that is otherwise passed to them, shorten length of stay for patients, and save lives.
HealthySole could also allow you to replace messy chemical baths, thereby eliminating safety issues involved with people slipping on the liquids that are tracked around the facility.
Where would you use HealthySole?
HealthySole was originally invented and designed for hospitals and other medical facilities. In addition to hospitals, industries that could use HealthySole include food processing, laboratory animal research, etc. Bottom line, you can use HealthySole almost anywhere you are concerned about controlling dangerous microorganisms.
Disposable shoe cover dispensers and removers increase efficiency and productivity, promote safety, and improve compliance and cleanliness. Shoe Inn’s automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers can be simply and easily incorporated into virtually any workplace routine.
Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Dispensers
Shoe Inn’s line of automatic shoe cover dispensers offers a game changing way to increase efficiency/productivity and cut down on workplace injuries. Using a Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispenser is at least FOUR TIMES FASTER than putting shoe covers on manually. This significantly shorter gowning time equals increased efficiency that translates to increased productivity, meaning you are not wasting money paying your employees to put on shoe covers but instead are paying them in their work environment where they are being productive. Cumulatively, these small time saving increments add up to big savings for your business! On the safety side, eliminate issues with people potentially falling down while hopping around on one foot – what we call the “bootie hop,” which is a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen – or losing their balance while leaning against a wall to apply shoe covers. It is also worth noting that using automatic shoe cover dispensers increases health and sanitation compliance by facilitating hands-free, contamination-free shoe cover application.
Shoe Inn Stay
The Shoe Inn Stay is designed for medium to high volume usage areas where safety compliance is critical thanks to its built in handlebar. People can easily apply a pair of shoe covers in 5-10 seconds. One Shoe Inn Stay can cover up to 110 pairs of shoes at a time and requires no electricity, so it can be easily deployed at any suitable location.
Shoe Inn Fusion
The Shoe Inn Fusion is perfect for low to medium volume usage. Though it is almost the same footprint on the ground as the Shoe Inn Stay, the Fusion works in some tighter areas since it doesn’t have the vertical component and is also easier to transport. Users can easily apply a pair of shoe covers in 5-10 seconds. One Shoe Inn Fusion can cover up to 55 pairs of shoes at a time and requires no electricity, so it can be easily deployed at any suitable location.
Shoe Inn Shoe Cover Removers
Use of hands-free automatic shoe cover removers is the final piece to any health and safety routine in the workplace. Designed to prevent cross contamination, Shoe Inn offers two shoe cover remover options for safe, efficient, and sanitary removal of disposable shoe covers.
Designed for medium to high volume applications, the ASCR-33 features a 33-gallon storage canister that holds 600-plus used shoe covers (depending on the type of shoe cover).
Intended for low to medium volume uses, the ASCR-10 comes with a 10-gallon canister that holds 100 or more used shoe covers (depending on the type of bootie).
Automatically Apply and Remove Shoe Covers
If your business hasn’t started using automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, it isn’t running as efficiently, cleanly, and safely as possible. Please contact Shoe Inn so we can help you to find a specific solution to fit your company’s particular needs. Contact us for a quote or demo and to learn more about how Shoe Inn’s automatic shoe cover system can benefit your business.
Cleanliness is vital in the food manufacturing/processing industry (growers, processing plants, etc.) in order to prevent contamination and avoid negative food safety headlines. Along with thorough hygiene practices and sanitation, wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves, beard covers, hairnets, and shoe covers can make a significant difference in reducing food contamination. Here are a few reasons why Shoe Inn shoe covers are crucial in preventing food contamination and the overall food industry:
Decreasing Outside Contamination
Tracking outside contaminants into clean environments on the bottoms of shoes is a potential health hazard in the food industry. New shoe covers are clean and will keep any outside contaminants contained inside the covers, thereby preventing them from being introduced into food products.
Just as it is important to not introduce outside contaminants into the sanitary environment where food is processed/handled, it’s equally important to ensure nothing from the shoe covers gets left behind. Fortunately, the clips on Shoe Inn shoe covers have been designed so that they remain in place during application, wear, and removal.
The elevator conversation goes something like this: “We sell automatic shoe cover dispensers and shoe covers.” “Shoe covers?” “Yes, shoe covers or booties, like doctors wear.” “Oh yeah, hospital booties.” Other than hospitals, the usual suspects where shoe covers are used include pharmaceutical manufacturing, food processing, research and development, medical device manufacturing, etc. Less obvious applications include construction, real estate, and aerospace as well. Because most of us are not behind the scenes, we don’t realize there are dozens and dozens of industries where shoe booties are important. Here are three “off the beaten path” applications where disposable shoe covers are used:
Most often shoe booties are used in clean environments (for example, cleanrooms, laboratories, food processing facilities) where the intent is to keep outside contaminants from entering for reasons such as hygiene, food safety, product purity, testing results integrity, etc. Why would “dirty” industries (like your stereotypical manufacturing that is oily/greasy/otherwise messy) use them? The reason is that when employees or anyone else who has been in the dirty area comes into the clean office space for lunch, a quick meeting, or to exit the facility, they put on shoe covers in order to keep the area clean and to prolong the life of expensive flooring. A thick fabric bootie may do the trick, but a heavy duty shoe cover that will stand up to aggressive boot treads and keep dirty contaminants inside the shoe cover may be advisable.
Filming and photography
Location sets for filming and photography may involve exclusive homes and fragile surfaces that deserve protection from scuffs, scratches, and contamination. Also, companies may want to protect their green screens when people are walking or posing on them. Depending on the surface, a plastic shoe cover may be appropriate because it is waterproof and inexpensive. Another option that is also waterproof but has superior traction is the Super non-slip shoe cover, which is the go-to when slippery surfaces are involved.
Clean laundry doesn’t deserve to get dirty before it is put into use. No need to waste water and detergent for re-washing, right? Keeping large-scale laundry facilities clean is important in case the corner of a clean sheet or towel touches the ground, or a laundered uniform accidentally falls on the floor. A variety of types of shoe covers would work, perhaps a low cost fabric bootie.
Disposable shoe covers are ubiquitous and quite helpful in a wide variety of environments beyond the usual suspect applications. From military bases to national laboratories, child care facilities to parades of homes, energy production operations to battery manufacturers, shoe covers are a vital tool to keep environments clean and safe.
There are multiple methods for businesses and organizations to keep their facilities clean and minimize or prevent contamination from the wide variety of contaminants that exist on shoes. The four most prevalent options are shoe covers/booties (disposable or reusable), dedicated/facility shoes, sticky/tacky mats, and chemical baths. The relative pros and cons of these will be discussed in a future blog post. This blog post focuses on shoe covers and a revolutionary technology for putting them on and taking them off.
Shoe covers are essential in many applications for keeping environments clean and free from contamination. In some cases, you want to prevent whatever is on the floor from getting on your shoes. Other times you want or need to prevent contaminants on your shoes from getting on the floors in your environment for maintenance and sanitation, health and safety, infection control and other reasons. In the past people had to apply and remove their shoe covers manually, but this is time-consuming, can be dangerous, and is definitely not clean. Alternatively, many entities are now utilizing automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers to address these issues. Here are seven reasons why:
Speed: it’s faster
No bones about it, putting shoe covers on the old-fashioned way is time-consuming – the entire process, which includes grabbing a pair of shoe covers and finding a place to put them on, easily takes somewhere between 30 and 45 seconds each and every time. Removing them can take even longer, especially in an environment that requires more extensive hygiene practices. With Shoe Inn’s revolutionary automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers, the time is reduced to about five (5) seconds!
Efficiency = productivity = $$$
Applying shoe covers faster and more efficiently means employees can get to work faster. The Shoe Inn system makes the process of applying and removing shoe covers AT LEAST four times (4x) faster. This significantly shorter gowning time equals increased efficiency that translates to increased productivity, meaning you are not wasting money paying your employees to put on shoe covers but instead are paying them in their work environment where they are being productive. Cumulatively, these small time saving increments add up to big savings for your business!
Putting shoe covers on is easy for some people, a walk in the park. However, for others it can be a real challenge for a variety of legitimate reasons. Many, many times we’ve been told by people at tradeshows (with colorful, choice words) how much they despise, detest, even flat out refuse to put shoe covers on. Employ automatic shoe cover dispensers, which make it so much easier to put booties on, and those challenges and objections will vanish, thereby increasing compliance. Same goes for the remover, just at the back end of the process.
Automatic shoe cover dispensers and removers keep employees and visitors safer by reducing the risk of injuring themselves while putting shoe covers on and taking them off. Instead of bouncing around while attempting to balance on one foot and lifting the other leg, which we have dubbed the “bootie hop” (see The Bootie Hop video), people can safely apply and remove their shoe covers in an ergonomically friendly manner. The handlebars found on the Shoe Inn Stay dispenser and both ASCR removers make it even safer and easier. Say goodbye to those workers’ comp claims!
Putting shoe covers on and taking them off by hand is dirty business. Your shoes, particularly the bottoms, are gross – just think about everything you’ve stepped in and on while walking around streets, parking lots, subways, parks, trails, public bathrooms, etc. It is almost inevitable that you’re going to touch your shoes while putting shoe covers on manually and thus contaminate your hands. Depending on the environment, used shoe covers can be soiled as well so automatic shoe cover removers do the dirty work for you.
Save precious space
Oftentimes wherever shoe covers need to be put on and/or taken off, space is at a premium. Gowning benches and chairs take up space and can be obstructions. Shoe cover dispensers and removers take up much less space, especially proportionately when factoring in how much more efficient they are in facilitating people getting through the process. Fewer benches and chairs mean more space for other necessities.
Dressed to impress
Manually putting shoe covers on and taking them off is so old school. While there will always be a place for doing certain things the old-fashioned way, why not look professional and impress your customers, visitors, regulators, inspectors and auditors? In fact, you can customize your Shoe Inn dispensers and removers with your corporate logo, motto/slogan, contact information, etc. to further cement your brand.
Cleanrooms (or clean rooms) are used in virtually every industry where small particles can adversely affect the manufacturing process. Typically located in scientific research or manufacturing settings, a cleanroom is a controlled environment that has a controlled level of contamination (pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, chemical vapors, and aerosol particles) that is specified by the number of particles per cubic meter (m3) or per cubic foot (ft3) at a specified particle size. Believe it or not, the ambient air outside in a typical city environment contains about 35,000,000 particles per m3, 0.5 μm and larger in diameter, which corresponds to an ISO 9 cleanroom. At the other end of the spectrum, an ISO 1 cleanroom allows no particles in that size range and only 12 particles per m3 of 0.3 μm and smaller.
A cleanroom is any given contained space where provisions are made to reduce particulate contamination and control other environmental parameters such as pressure, temperature, and humidity. The key component is the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that is used to trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns and larger in size. All of the air delivered to a cleanroom passes through HEPA filters, and in cases where more stringent cleanliness performance is necessary, ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) filters are employed.
The use of multi-layer adhesive mats for cleanrooms is almost universal. Matting can vary in size, color, placement, and number based on the characteristics and logistics of each individual cleanroom.
Personnel who work in cleanrooms go through extensive training in contamination control theory, practices and procedures. They enter and exit the cleanroom through air showers, airlocks, and/or gowning rooms, and they must wear special clothing designed to trap contaminants that are naturally generated by our bodies.
Depending on the room classification or function, personnel gowning may be as limited as lab coats and hairnets/beard covers, or as extensive as being fully enveloped in multiple layered bunny suits with self-contained breathing apparatus. The cleanroom clothing itself must not release fibers or particles to prevent contamination of the environment.
Cleanroom garments include things such as boots, shoes, shoe covers, beard covers, hairnets, bouffant caps, facemasks, coveralls, aprons, frocks/lab coats, gowns, glove and finger cots, hoods, and sleeves. The type of cleanroom garments used reflects the cleanroom classification and product specifications. For example, Class 10,000/ISO 7 cleanrooms may use simple smocks, head covers, and shoe covers. On the other hand, careful gown wearing procedures with a zipped coverall, boots, gloves and complete respirator enclosure are required for Class 10/ISO 4 cleanrooms.
Air Flow Principles for Cleanrooms
Cleanrooms maintain particulate-free air through the use of either HEPA or ULPA filters employing laminar or turbulent air flow principles. Laminar, or unidirectional, airflow systems direct filtered air downward in a constant stream. Laminar airflow systems are typically employed across 80% to 100% of the ceiling to maintain constant air processing and unidirectional flow. Laminar flow criteria are mandated in ISO 1 through ISO 4 cleanrooms. Turbulent, or non-unidirectional, air flow uses both laminar air flow hoods and non-specific velocity filters to keep cleanroom air in constant motion, although not all in the same direction. The rough air seeks to trap particles that may be in the air and drive them towards the floor, where they enter filters and leave the controlled environment.
Proper cleanroom design encompasses the entire air distribution system, including provisions for adequate downstream air returns. In horizontal flow applications, this involves the use of air returns at the downstream boundary of the process. In vertical flow rooms, it requires the use of low wall air returns around the perimeter of the zone. It should be noted that the use of ceiling mounted air returns is contradictory to proper cleanroom system design.
Cleanrooms are classified by how clean the air is according to the number and size of particles permitted per volume of air. Federal Standard 209E is used here in the U.S. The newer standard is TC 209 from the ISO (International Standards Organization). Both standards classify a cleanroom by the number of particles found in the laboratory’s air. The cleanroom classification standards 209E and ISO 14644-1 require specific particle count measurements and calculations to classify the cleanliness level of a cleanroom or clean area.
Large numbers like Class 1,000 or Class 100,000 refer to FS 209E, and denote the number of particles of size 0.5 µm or larger permitted per ft3 of air. The standard also allows interpolation, so it is possible to describe other classes such as Class 2,000.
Small numbers refer to ISO 14644-1 standards, which specify the decimal logarithm of the number of particles 0.1 µm or larger permitted per m3 of air. For example, an ISO 4 cleanroom has at most 104 = 10,000 particles per m³.
Both FS 209E and ISO 14644-1 assume log-log relationships between particle size and particle concentration. For that reason, there is no such thing as zero particle concentration.