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.
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.
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.
USP <800>, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s new standard for handling hazardous drugs (HDs) in healthcare settings, includes significant safety standards for all healthcare workers, as well as patients and the general public, who have access to facilities where HDs are prepared. This includes pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, home health care workers, veterinarians, and veterinary technicians. Entities that store, transport, prepare, or administer HDs are also affected, including but not limited to pharmacies, hospitals, patient treatment clinics, physicians’ practice facilities, and veterinary clinics.
USP <800> provides facilities with direction on how to set policy and identify what needs to be done for employee safety while compounding and dispensing HDs. These new safety standards expand upon USP <797>, which focused primarily on minimizing the risk of contaminating medicines when compounding sterile IV preparations. USP <800>, on the other hand, is aimed primarily at addressing the entire life cycle of an HD so that all who might come in contact with it are protected.
USP <797> and <800> are related in that each refer to a chapter in the US Pharmacopoeia. USP <800> is not just limited to chemotherapy but also many drugs that now fall under the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) list. USP <800> has a minor component that currently falls under USP <797> this year but will become fully enforceable in December 2019 and will require full cleanroom and garbing precautions. USP <797> is under revision; therefore the current version will hold until at least the next year. This is the year the Joint Commission and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring compliance with USP <797>. Since this is the first year that the CMS plans to enforce the IV compounding regulations, most facilities are scrambling to meet compliance.
Health Effects Resulting from Exposure to Hazardous Drugs
Growing evidence, which has been accumulated over decades by the USP, Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, Oncology Nursing Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that occupational exposure to the more than 200 HDs commonly used in healthcare settings can cause acute and chronic health issues. In addition, over 100 studies have documented evidence of HD contamination in the workplace, including the presence of HDs in workers’ urine. With nearly 8,000,000 healthcare workers exposed to HDs each year, USP <800> aims to prevent associated acute and long-term health effects.
Required Upgrades Under USP <800> Include Shoe Covers
Personal protective equipment (PPE)(gowns; head, hair, and shoe covers; and two pairs of chemotherapy gloves) is required for compounding both sterile and non-sterile HDs, and two pairs of such gloves are required for administering antineoplastic HDs. Facilities also need to develop standard operating procedures regarding appropriate PPE for any workers who otherwise handle HDs.
Both USP <797> and <800> include several references to shoe covers as detailed below.
Compliant Shoe Covers + Automatic Shoe Cover Application and Removal
Appropriate personnel protective equipment (PPE) shall be worn when compounding in a BSC or CACI and when using CSTD devices. PPE should include gowns, face masks, eye protection, hair covers, shoe covers or dedicated shoes, double gloving with sterile chemo-type gloves, and compliance with manufacturers’ recommendations when using a CACI.
After donning dedicated shoes or shoe covers, head and facial hair covers, and face masks…
When compounding personnel exit the compounding area during a work shift, the exterior gown may be removed and retained in the compounding area if not visibly soiled, to be re-donned during that same work shift only. However, shoe covers, hair and facial hair covers, face masks/eye shields, and gloves shall be replaced with new ones before re-entering the compounding area, and proper hand hygiene shall be performed.
Appendix I: Order of compounding garb and cleansing in ante-area: shoes or shoe covers, head and facial hair covers, face mask, fingernail cleansing, hand and forearm washing and drying; non-shedding gown.
Appendix III: Dons shoe covers or designated clean-area shoes one at a time, placing the covered or designated shoe on clean side of the line of demarcation, as appropriate.
Appendix III: Removes shoe covers or shoes one at a time, ensuring that uncovered foot is placed on the dirty side of the line of demarcation and performs hand hygiene again. (Removes and discards shoe covers every time the compounding area is exited).
USP <800> references to shoe covers
Gowns, head, hair, shoe covers, and two pairs of chemotherapy gloves are required for compounding sterile and non-sterile HDs.
Head and hair covers (including beard and moustache, if applicable), shoe covers, and sleeve covers provide protection from contact with HD residue. When compounding HDs, a second pair of shoe covers must be donned before entering the C-SEC and doffed when exiting the C-SEC. Shoe covers worn in HD handling areas must not be worn to other areas to avoid spreading HD contamination and exposing other healthcare workers.
While many companies use shoe covers to prevent contamination, many Shoe Inn customers also use sticky mats to maximize contamination prevention. The utilization of multi-layer adhesive mats for cleanrooms is almost universal. However, how the mats are used is unique to each cleanroom. Mats can vary in size, color, number, and placement based on the logistics and characteristics of each individual cleanroom.
Mats should be placed in an area where they will be on clean, hard flooring. They should be placed just before or just after the ingress/egress point for each cleanliness or control change. It is suggested that the placement sites are worked backward from the final clean area or cleanroom.
cleanroom – gowning area
cleanroom – staging area
gowning area – control area
control area – common hallway
common hallway – warehouse or receiving
common hallway – public area
Matting should be placed so that all those passing through that point must step on the mats. Matting should be placed with the longer dimension of the mat in the same direction as the traffic flow for maximum footfalls on each mat. The minimum number of footfalls should be two with each foot for each location.
The proper size mat for each area of placement depends on the width of the opening and the variance and direction of the traffic. Normally the width of the mat should be 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the width of the doorway. It does not normally need to cover the full width because ordinary traffic passes through the middle of the doorway and not along the edge. However, if the traffic enters at a sharp angle or from the side of the entryway, then the width of the mat needs to be wider than the doorway to allow for enough footfalls.
As stated above, the length of the mat should be long enough to provide at least two footfalls with each foot at each location. Usually this is a minimum of 45 inches.
The color of the mats, which has no effect on the function of the mat, can vary from standard blue, white, and grey to custom colors and printed messages. In general, white shows the most dirt and particulates, and is normally preferred to make sure the layers are changed at frequent enough intervals. However, grey and blue work just as well when a maintenance schedule is set.
How often the layers should be removed depends on a number of factors:
How dirty the area the personnel are coming from is.
The number of people or pairs of feet per shift or per hour.
The difference in cleanliness between the areas.
The size of the mats and how many mats or locations are in the series.
In general, areas farther away from the cleanroom will be dirtier. Changing the layers at this point of use every half hour would be a benchmark with which to start. The final entry area into the cleanroom is probably from a clean area to a very clean area and each layer may last 4 to 8 hours.
However, this is just a rough guideline and each point of use will vary greatly. A few days of use and observation will help to determine the optimal mat layer change interval.
Before placing a new mat down or replacing an existing mat, thoroughly clean the surface to remove contamination that may act as a barrier and keep the mat from properly adhering to the floor. Make sure to remove any adhesive residue if you are replacing an existing mat. It is recommended to use a pre-saturated wiper that contains a percentage of isopropyl alcohol. Make sure the surface is completely dry before application.
To apply the mat, remove half of the release liner in the long direction of the mat, which will help with the alignment of the mat.
Once you have the mat properly aligned in the location you want, start smoothing out the half of the mat with the adhesive exposed. Start at one end and work toward the middle making sure you do not trap air under the mat as you go, then remove the rest of the release liner and smooth the rest of the mat out in the same direction in which you removed the release liner.
Matting should be stored flat and for several hours in similar climate conditions as the point of use. For ideal results, the mats should be used in a controlled environment setting but may be placed in any area that has a temperature of 54-95 oF (12-35 oC).
Long-term storage of mats should always be on a flat and hard surface. Storage on the original shipping pallet is recommended. Normal warehouse conditions are usually acceptable but extreme temperatures (less than 32 or greater than 105 oF / 0 or 40 oC) should be avoided.
Storage of mats longer than one year from the date of purchase is not recommended. However, under normal storage conditions, matting should not have any variation in performance for a period of up to three years.
The utilization of multi-layer sticky mats for cleanrooms is almost universal. In fact, many customers who use the Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensing system also use these adhesive mats to further help prevent contamination within controlled environments. Depending on various factors such as how dirty the area the personnel are coming from is and the level of cleanliness desired or mandated, this combined approach may be advisable or even required.
An automatic shoe cover dispenser, who needs that? When it comes to putting on shoe covers, you don’t think much about it — you just do what you’ve always done, sitting on a bench or balancing on one leg while trying to put a shoe cover on the other foot (what we call the “bootie hop”). Sounds simple, but for many people it is not. If you find it difficult to bend over and tie your shoes or to balance on one leg, then you know how challenging it can be to put shoe covers on. Quite frankly, most people who have to wear shoe covers despise putting them on. Also consider workplace injuries happening during the process of putting them on — they do happen. In fact, the “bootie hop” is a worker’s comp claim waiting to happen. Last but not least, what about the bottleneck that is created when you have a lot of people who need to put them on at the same time? Shoe Inn can help alleviate all of these issues. Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensers are ideal for use in a variety of environments such as manufacturing and food processing plants, laboratories and clean rooms, medical and healthcare facilities, and anywhere else people need to put shoe covers on faster, easier, safer and cleaner. There is no doubt that you will benefit from the ease of use, time savings, and added safety from using Shoe Inn automatic shoe cover dispensers.
Have you ever considered what is on the bottom of your shoes? Besides things you can see, such as grease, oil, gum, mud, leaves, feces, etc., there are the countless things you cannot see, like germs, bacteria, mold, and viruses. All of these things walk with us everywhere we go, from the house to the car to the parking lot to the building to the lab or production area to the bathroom to the dining area and back again. How many other places do we go, like gas stations and public parks, picking up things on our shoes all along the way and transporting them where they are unwelcome?
As a result, many industries and settings require the use of shoe covers to maintain sanitary or sterile conditions, prevent contamination, limit the spread of infections, comply with health codes, etc. A review of the literature turned up several key findings such as the following:
“In this study, the authors subjected six occupied rodent holding rooms in their animal research facility to three conditions: use of disinfectant mats; use of shoe covers; and no disinfectant mats or shoe covers. The authors took bacterial culture samples from the rooms under each condition. There was no significant difference in the mean number of colony forming units (CFUs) cultured when the disinfectant mats or shoe covers were used. However, the mean number of CFUs obtained was significantly lower when either disinfectant mats or shoe covers were used than when neither was used. These results suggest that using disinfectant mats or disposable shoe covers may reduce the bacterial load on rodent holding room floors.”
“We recommend that gloves and footwear worn by employees who handle RF-RTE foods or who work in areas where RF-RTE are processed or exposed be made of impermeable material, in good repair, easily cleanable or disposable (emphasis added), and used only in RF-RTE areas.”
“Health care workers who handle hazardous drugs are at risk of skin rashes, cancer and reproductive disorders. NIOSH recommends that employers provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers who handle hazardous drugs in the workplace…Use hair and shoe covers constructed of coated materials to reduce the possibility of particulate or microbial contamination in clean rooms and other sensitive areas.”
Based on the above, it is clear that using disposable shoe covers is a credible and recommended method in a variety of situations and controlled environments.
 Allen KP, Csida T, Leming J, Murray K, Thulin J. Efficacy of Footwear Disinfection and Shoe Cover Use in an Animal Research Facility, U.S. National Library of Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20305633
 US Food and Drug Administration, Guidance for Industry: Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Refrigerated or Frozen Ready-To-Eat Foods, Section XI, Paragraph IV