hands wearing white latex gloves

Why Do Latex Gloves Turn Yellow? [The Science Behind it]

Ever wonder why your latex gloves turn yellow after time? We have the answer! Check out our quick and easy, science-backed guide to see what causes common glove discoloration.

Has it ever occurred to you to ponder the cause of the yellowing of latex gloves? Don't stress; that's a common concern. Shade shifts are always caused for concern. Most people are ready to buy new rubber gloves when they start to turn yellow or darken.

Latex gloves are a common household item used for everything from dishwashing to hazardous chemical handling. Unfortunately, they're also notorious for turning yellow after extended use. But why does this happen, and is there anything you can do to prevent it? In this post, we'll take a closer look at the science behind the yellowing of latex gloves and offer some tips for keeping them looking new.

Factors Influencing Latex Glove Discoloration

Sweaty Hands

If you have ever experienced sweaty hands, you know that it can be quite uncomfortable and embarrassing. Your skin is wet and slick, and the sweat can often cause latex gloves to discolor. The acid in sweat discolors rubber, making it look yellow or brown. Metal pollution has the same impact. Sugars, salts, ammonia, urea, and water are compounds found in sweat. In combination with the latex chemicals, these substances cause the gloves to discolor to a bright yellow. Therefore, those with perspiring hands may notice their latex gloves discoloring more quickly than others.

Read More: Best Disposable Gloves for Sensitive Skin

Chlorine-treated Latex Gloves

Many people who use rubber gloves suffer responses to the powder used to dust them. Thus, Chlorine wash is used to create powder-free gloves by many manufacturers. Unfortunately, chlorine used in the production procedure accelerates the yellowing of latex pairs. So, it's not a signal to immediately remove your gloves and put on a fresh pair.

When you take off these powdered latex gloves, you will have powder residues on your hands. When combined with sweat, the result can be highly offensive.

Because of this, many companies have stopped applying a powder coating to the inside of their latex gloves and started producing powder-free latex gloves. When they need less restrictive gloves, they dip them in a chlorine solution, which softens the latex. As a result, powder-free gloves have recently become more popular than their powdered predecessors.

Dirty Hands or Bad Odors

Dirty hands are the reason for latex discoloration. The natural oils and sweat on our hands mix with the latex, turning it into an unattractive brown color. While we can't always avoid getting our hands dirty, there are some ways to minimize discoloration. First, we should wash our hands thoroughly before putting on gloves. We can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to remove any excess oils. Then, if discoloration does occur, we can try washing the gloves and your hands with soap and water and letting them air dry.

Prolonged UV Exposure

Long-term contact with elements like heat, oxygen, and UV light can also cause yellowing in latex gloves. When exposed to sunlight for long periods, latex deteriorates and turns yellow. The yellowing process will accelerate, and the pair's quality will suffer if we store them in a room with a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius or higher.

To add insult to injury, gloves exposed to radiation become brittle and lose their flexibility. In such a circumstance, the broken pair should be swapped out for a new, fully working, elastic one. If my gloves start to get yellow and feel fragile, I will replace them right away, so we don't have to worry as much about them getting punctured or damaged. If we are currently working with chemicals or contaminated gadgets, we must have new pairs available.

Read More: Latex Gloves vs Nitrile Gloves – What’s the Difference?

How to Prevent Latex Glove Discoloration

Even if the stains do not compromise the gloves' integrity, the gloves may nonetheless give off an unclean and unprofessional vibe. If you stick to my advice, you can avoid it.

Step 1: Wash and Dry Your Hands

Before putting on protective gloves, always wash your hands with soap and water, dry them thoroughly, and refrain from touching anything. The latex glove will discolor if you don't wash your hands thoroughly or let them get wet again after they've dried. Also, it would help if you did not use latex gloves with oil-based products because this speeds up their decomposition.

Step 2: Wash Your Pair of Gloves After Every Use

After every use, it's a good idea to wash your gloves--not just to avoid discoloration but also to clean them and get rid of any residue or to avoid the spread of bacteria. If your rubber gloves start getting yellow stains, wash and dry them after each use. Even though you have gloves on, now is the time to clean them with soap and water. Afterward, kindly give it a good washing under running water. A towel will work for this purpose. At this point, you can remove your gloves and hang them up to dry.

Step 3: Use Powder-Coated Latex Gloves

The thinness and flexibility of disposable gloves make them susceptible to damage. Consequently, the powder is added by the manufacturer to lessen the possibility of glove damage, aid in perspiration absorption, and facilitate donning. But there are some downsides to using the powder that you should know about. Users are more likely to develop latex allergies since they are exposed to airborne particles. Additionally, it can taint previously sterile surfaces and materials.

Step 4: Store Properly

Keep disposable gloves where they can be kept cold, dry, and away from direct sunlight. The room temperature shouldn't exceed 37 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Keep them out of the dirt, the rain, the sun, the X-rays, and the heat. Utilize products before their expiration date and rotate stock using the FIFO method.

How to Store Latex Gloves

Storing latex gloves properly will help prolong their life and maintain their quality. And following these simple tips will help ensure that your gloves are always ready for use when you need them:

  • Make sure the gloves aren't contaminated with dirt or germs by washing your hands completely before putting them on.
  • Put a tablespoon of gentle detergent into a basin full of water. It will be easier to achieve a uniform solution if you stir the ingredients together. Turn the latex gloves inside out and grab a pair. Put on some rubber gloves and dip them into the soapy water.
  • Put some soapy water on your fingers and gently rub the insides of the latex gloves. Apply some alcohol or another disinfectant to the gloves afterward.
  • Remove the latex gloves from the soapy solution and rinse them in water before storing them. Look for leaks that could indicate holes or punctures. Gloves should be thrown away if there is any sign of damage.
  • Let the latex gloves dry naturally. There are better options than dryers for this.
  • If you still have the packaging for the latex gloves, please replace them. But if not, you may always make do.
  • Keep the latex gloves in a dry, cold place after cleaning. The latex gloves will perish if subjected to high temperatures or direct sunlight.


    Why do my hands turn nitrile gloves yellow?

    Nitrile gloves turn yellow because of a chemical reaction between the gloves and your hands.

    When the gloves come into contact with your skin, a reaction causes nitrile to polymerize. This process forms a thin, protective film on the glove's surface, making it less likely to tear or damage. However, this film also causes the gloves to turn yellow over time.

    How do you clean yellow gloves?

    There are a few ways to clean yellow gloves. One way is to soak them in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Then, scrub them with a toothbrush. Another way is to put them in the washing machine with some detergent. However, be sure to check the care instructions on the gloves before putting them in the washing machine because some materials may not withstand the wash cycle's high temperatures. A final way is to hand wash them with dish soap and water. Again, make sure you check the care instructions first.

    Does glove color matter?

    It can matter, but it depends on the situation. For example, if you're a doctor and you're going to be touching a patient, you'll want to wear gloves of different colors so that you don't accidentally touch something that you've already touched.

    But for most other purposes, it doesn't really matter what color your gloves are. As long as they protect your hands and keep them clean, it doesn't really matter what color they are.

    Check Out Our Selection of Latex Gloves Today!

    With so many choices on the market, it can be difficult to know which latex gloves are right for you. Gloves.com has put together a selection of the best gloves available, so you can make an informed decision about which product is right for your needs. We offer fast shipping and low prices, so check us out today!