How to care for Your Medical Scrubs to make them last longer

Wearing clean and tidy medical scrubs is crucial for a professional appearance and imperative for the safety and the health of your patients, whether you are in a medical school or a practicing nurse or doctor.

Keeping your medical clothing in a mint condition and making them last longer requires some extra effort and care than your daily wardrobe. Knowing how to care for your medical scrubs will ensure they look better, last longer, and protect you and your patients from bacteria.

How to Keep Your Scrubs Looking Best For Longer

Well, the only way your medical clothing will last a few seasons is by how you care for them.

The regular wash, rinse, and dry method would not do the trick for your medical scrubs. They need special care and regular upkeep. Scrubs are worn almost every day, and they might eventually get worn out. The only way to make your scrubs last is by putting in the extra time and effort in disinfecting and bringing them back to their prime for your next shift.

  • Read the Label for Care Instructions

You might think it’s unnecessary to talk about it, but you would be surprised to know just how many avoid reading the instructions. Care instructions give you precise information on how to wash and care for your scrubs.

  • Turn Garments Inside out Before Washing

Turning your garments inside out before washing is a time-tested method of preserving the colour integrity and longevity of the fabric. By doing so, you prevent excessive pilling or abrasion to the surface of the fabric. Pilling is caused by regular wear and tear of the garment. And, even though it doesn’t impact the functionality of the medical uniforms, pilling can make the garments look unsightly and worn out.

Additionally, it is important to dry the scrubs inside out to lower the chances of colour fading.

  • Never Use Chlorine Bleach on your Scrubs

Always wash your medical scrubs separately. Never use chlorine bleach and hydrogen peroxide to clean your scrubs as this will result in fading of clothes. Instead, you can pick a regular detergent to wash medical uniforms.

  • Don’t Over-Dry your Nursing Scrubs

Avoid over-drying your nursing scrubs as it can cause your scrubs to lose their sheen, leading to extreme colour fading and fabric shrinkage. It is especially bad for bright coloured medical scrubs.

Over-drying can also severely weaken the material fibres of the garment. Ensure you don’t let the scrubs in the dryer for too long and under a high heat setting.

  • Treat Stains as Quickly as Possible

Don’t let the stains sit on your scrubs for a long time. You might not have time to treat stains at work, but make sure you wash your scrubs at the earliest.

If you are hard-pressed for time, use alcohol wipes or a wet cloth to prevent the stains from setting in permanently into the garment.

  • Separate your Scrubs from Other Washables

It is always a good practice to separate your scrubs from other washables before loading the washer. Used scrubs may carry bacteria and other germs that can be easily transferred from the surface of your scrubs to other clothes and the rest of the house. By washing them separately, you’ll be able to prevent germs and bacteria from contaminating the rest of the laundry. Additionally, it will help in keeping your scrubs from getting damaged or discoloured because of other clothes.

  • Don’t Skip The Hot Iron

Don’t skip the hot iron even if your scrubs look neatly pressed and tidy. There are a lot of microorganisms in healthcare settings. Heat has the potential to disinfect clothes. Heat pressing your medical scrubs after washing them will help eliminate those pesky bacteria that might be clinging to your scrubs.

  • Thoroughly Inspect Your Scrubs Before Folding

Inspect your medical scrubs thoroughly. Carefully inspect your nursing clothes for any missed stains, loose threads, or holes. If there are any, cut off any loose threads and darn the holes. Make a note of the stains so that you can work on them the next time you wash.

  • Wear your Scrubs When at Work Only

Since most nurses are hard-pressed for time, they choose to wear their scrubs before leaving for work. However, it is better if you wear your nursing scrubs only during working hours. Additionally, change into your scrubs only after reaching your unit’s changing room. Make sure you get into your regular clothes before leaving your unit.

Store the sterile garments carefully before leaving for the day. You can either hang them up using a dedicated plastic garment bag or put them away in a separate drawer until it is time to wash so that they don’t contaminate the rest of the laundry.

  • Don’t Spray Perfume Directly onto Your Scrubs

Make sure you don’t spray the perfume directly onto your scrubs. The perfume might leave unpleasant stains on your medical clothing. Also, don’t let lotions get on your scrubs, as they too can cause tough-to-wash off stains.

How to Get Stains Out of Your Scrubs

After a long day of work, you come home exhausted, awake just long enough to get a quick refreshing shower before you hit the sack! Sounds like a typical day? Well, there’s just one thing you almost forgot – treating those stains before catching some sleep.

You know that getting stains on your medical uniform is simply unavoidable. Your scrubs have seen it all, and they need quick attention to get them off your uniforms.

  • Use Colour-Safe Stain Remover Before Washing

Stains on scrubs are not something new for medical practitioners. So, when trying to remove stains from your medical uniforms, make sure you use colour-safe stain remover. It will help you retain the colour integrity of your scrubs while getting rid of stains.

Your medical uniform can get all sorts of stains while you are at work. Knowing how to get rid of stains, depending on their nature, can prove to be helpful. Let’s have a look at some of the common stains and removal methods.

 

Stain Type

Treatment Type

Blood Wet the stain with cold water and rub a bar of soap on the stain. While rubbing, run cold water directly over the stain till you can see it fade out. If you want to make the blood mark magically disappear, try dabbing hydrogen peroxide directly onto the stain.
Sweat You can remove sweat stains easily with a mixture of 1 tablespoon vinegar in half a cup of cold water.
Vomit/Feces Start by removing any solid particles and rinsing with cold water. Keep the stain soaked in a mixture of one litre of warm water and 1 tablespoon ammonia for a while. Now, using a toothbrush, gently stroke the stain. You’ll be able to see the stain fading out slowly. Once completely removed, rinse the scrubs thoroughly to get ammonia off the garments. Repeat the procedure, if needed.
Urine Soak the urine-stained scrubs in a mixture of cold water and ammonia for at least a couple of hours. It should be enough to remove the urine stain and its odour.
Ointment Start by scraping off the excess ointment from the garment. Then, liberally sprinkle and rub corn starch until it’s fully absorbed. Finally, wash the garment in cold water.
Coffee The earlier you get the coffee stain off the garment, the better it will be for your clothes. Blot the stain right away using a hand towel or a tissue to get any excess liquid out. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the stain. Do not rub.
Oil-Based Medication Stain Get the excess oil out by sprinkling baby powder on the stain. or, before washing, you can also use some ordinary dish soap on the oil.
Ink Take a dish and mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. Using a spray bottle or even a piece of rag, dab the mixture on the stain. Continue dabbing until the garment looks fully saturated. Let this soaked garment sit for a few hours before washing. Additionally, your regular hair spray works well on ink stains too.

 

How to Wash your Scrubs Based on Fabric Type

How to Wash your Scrubs Based on Fabric Type

Cotton
If your scrubs are 100% cotton, it is best to wash them in cold water. Most cotton fabrics shrink, so tumble dry your scrubs on the lowest setting to minimize the shrinkage.

Polyester/Rayon
A gentle cold water cycle will be perfect if your nursing uniforms are made of polyester/rayon. Since you don’t have to worry about shrinking, you can simply hang the clothes on a line.

Polyester/cotton
For scrubs are made of polyester/cotton combination fabric, washing them in warm water will do the job. You can either use the dryer on a low heat setting or hang them out to dry.

Polyester/rayon/spandex
Wash your scrubs made of polyester/rayon/spandex with warm water. As far as drying is concerned, use the lowest heat setting on the dryer or hang them on a line.

Wrapping Up

Start caring for your medical scrubs right from their first wash - don’t wait to clean the scrubs until it gets grimy. While it might seem time-consuming initially, in the long run, you’ll be able to appreciate just how effective it is.

It is impossible not to get your medical scrubs dirty or stained. However, it is possible to give them a thorough washing and get the stains off. Scrubs are usually made of durable stain-resistant fabrics.

Although they do not wear out as quickly as your regular clothes do, they encounter all sorts of germs, bacteria, and contaminants. To make the scrubs last longer, it is essential to keep them clean, disinfected, and reconditioned for your next shift.