Cleanroom Gloves – A Complex Choice

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Cleanroom Gloves – A Complex Choice

Why the need for Clean room Gloves?

Like all cleanroom apparel clean room gloves are critical in helping to maintain a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors within the cleanroom manufacturing environment.

Of course there is a broad spectrum  of manufacturing industries that require the use of a cleanroom manufacturing environment. This can include pharmaceutical, semiconductor, electronics, laboratories, medical device, biotech and life sciences to name but a few.

These industries can have a range of requirements to both protect the product being manufactured and of course the individual. In addition to being suitable for the classification of cleanroom the cleanroom gloves used must also be able to offer the required protection against a vast range of chemicals, solvents and disinfectants that the cleanroom operator may come into contact with.

The cleanrooms can be very large. Entire manufacturing facilities can be contained within a cleanroom with factory floors covering thousands of square metres.

Another key consideration, when choosing clean room gloves is that the operator is comfortable, does not experience hand fatigue or any allergic reaction. This in addition to still maintaining the required tactility and dexterity.

Cleanroom Gloves

Glove cleanliness and standards

To help with glove selection, glove manufacturers specify the cleanliness class for which the glove is suitable (as defined in EN ISO 14644-11) e.g. ISO Class 4, 5 or 6. Additionally, they use the protective glove standards EN 4202 to define dimensions, EN 3743,4,5 the number of pinholes allowable and the medical glove standard EN 4556 to define the glove strength as a basis for quality assurance and quality control in their factories.

Protective gloves form a physical barrier between the wearer and the chemicals that they are handling

Gloves chosen to protect the wearer from harmful chemicals are classed as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are regulated under the European PPE Directive7 and its associated standards8. The harmonised standards covering gloves used for chemical protection are EN 420 and EN 374. Obviously such gloves must at the same time comply with cleanroom requirements.

Protective gloves (PPE) form a physical barrier between the wearer and the chemicals that they are handling and will remain effective until the barrier is broken. The barrier can be breached via one of two mechanisms; permeation or penetration.

Permeation is the process by which a chemical moves through a protective glove material on a molecular level, whereas penetration is the movement of a chemical and/or micro-organism through porous materials, seams, pinholes or other imperfections in a protective glove material on a non-molecular level.

Dependant on the cleanroom environment some pharmaceutical manufacturing companies or hospital pharmacies will require the cleanroom gloves to be sterile in addition the other properties previously described.

Cleanroom Gloves

Cleanroom Gloves –  Length

Glove length is a factor that is becoming increasingly important. The popularity of longer length cleanroom gloves is a result of increased awareness and need for extra personal or product protection, along with a drive to cut costs and reduce environmental impact. The traditional length of a glove used in a cleanroom is 300mm/12 inches (12”). However, when handling hazardous chemicals, such as chemotherapy drugs, the wearer should have the increased protection and reassurance from a glove that is 400mm/16” in length, ensuring the entire forearm up to the elbow is covered and protected from the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. Product protection is also of the utmost importance; coverage up to the elbow, with a beaded cuff for a more secure fit on the arm, means 400mm/16” gloves eliminate the risk of contamination from exposed skin between the gloves and the cleanroom garment. Using clean room gloves that are 33% longer than the industry standard removes the need for additional protective items such as sleeve-covers or the use of cuff tape, thereby saving costs and reducing waste, resulting in a positive impact on the environment.

Cleanroom Gloves – Supply

CleanroomDirect stock a large range of cleanroom gloves from a number of the worlds leading cleanroom glove  brands including:

Bioclean Clean room gloves

BioClean clean room gloves comprise the largest range available from a single manufacturer. The range includes sterile and non-sterile versions in latex, nitrile, polychloroprene and vinyl, in a variety of lengths.

shieldskin clean room gloves

Shield Scientific a revolution in glove technology. Shield Scientific welcomes you to a new level of Compliance, Comfort and Protection. Shield Scientific manufacture a range of gloves to provide the highest level of personal protection whilst being designed for specific high technology industry sector

Kimtech Clean room gloves


Kimberley-Clark has built up an unequalled reputation the world over by developing trusted and respected global brands such as Kimtech Gloves, masks and protective apparel for critical environments, cleanrooms and laboratories. Whatever your particular environment demands, Kimberley-Clark’s pioneering technologies continue to provide you with innovative solutions for cleanliness and contamination control.

Please visit CleanroomDirect to view our full range of cleanroom products and for technical advice or support please contact a member of our sales team.