How to properly wash your nursing scrubs
Medical scrubs worn in hospital settings are prone to soils, stains, and fluids that can come with every day life working as a professional in medicine. It's important to maintain best practices when washing scrubs and treating stains in order to keep your medical workwear looking and feeling new. In the age of COVID-19, the need to properly disinfect your scrubs is even more important. The following guide will help you understand the do's and don'ts of caring for your scrubs, with some helpful tips on what scrubs to purchase for the easiest time doing so.
TIP #1 - Avoid 100% Cotton Scrubs
While cotton scrubs offer a wonderfully soft hand, they can be extremely difficult to properly wash and sanitize without ruining the scrubs in the process. With 100 percent cotton scrubs, you have to wash them in cold water to avoid shrinking or damage and turn them inside out to avoid fading. Then, to further prevent shrinking or fading, you must tumble dry on low or line dry your scrubs.
Needless to say, washing scrubs in cold water and line-drying them is not an effective way to sanitize them. According to CDC guidelines, scrubs should be washed at temperatures at least 160°F (71°C) for a minimum of 25 minutes and garments should not be left damp for long periods of time. If you're purchasing scrubs for yourself or a loved one, it's probably best to find a scrub set that are durable enough to be washed with hot water and dried on the highest dryer setting possible.
TIP #2 - Study the Care Instructions Before Purchasing
With the rise in popularity of 'premium' scrubs, many nurses find themselves in a disappointing predicament when they spend a lot more for higher end scrubs, only to find out that they must wash them on cold temperatures, inside-out, and to dry them on low heat or line-dry (just like 100% cotton scrubs). These '100% awesome' scrub brands might look awesome in expensive advertising, but the performance features they promote (including stretch, fluid-resistance, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial properties) will degrade if you want to sanitize them in the wash.
Rather than spending so much on 'awesome scrubs' that only perform when worn as street clothes, take a quick moment to look up care instructions when considering a scrubs purchase. Look for scrubs that can be sanitized properly based on CDC recommendations.
Tip #3 - How to deal with stains
Stains and soils are almost completely impossible to avoid when wearing scrubs. The best solution to reduce the time it takes to care for stains is to find scrubs with 'stain-release' technology built-in to the fabric. With stain release fabric you will have an easier time simply washing the garments using regular detergent to easily remove stains.
Even with stain-release properties, however, some stains require some additional pre-treatment. For these more stubborn stains, we recommend the following products:
- For ink or stains from a pen, we highly recommend using Amodex® Ink and Stain Remover
- For blood, coffee, tea, and/or general stains, we recommend using OxiClean® Spray to treat the stains
- For cream-based makeup, grease, oil, or pus, we recommend Shout® Advanced Stain Lifting Foam
- For stains from iodine, deodorant, or from sweating we recommend The Laundress™ Stain Solution
Tip #4 - How to handle garments exposed by COVID-19 or infectious disease
Please see our COVID-19 Risk Garment Care Guide for specific instructions on what to do if and when you and/or your garments have been exposed to infectious diseases or harmful bacteria.
Tip #5 - Choose Medelita
Unlike other top brands, you can wash and dry any garments we sell on hot or 'sanitize' cycles and your scrubs will not fade, pill, wrinkle, or lose any of the built-in performance features like 2-way stretch, bacteriostatic features, moisture wicking, stain release, and breath-ability features. Medelita scrubs have been tested even in the harshest of commercial laundry settings and they come out looking and feeling like they are brand new. Above and beyond all other features, Medelita's commitment to producing fabric that is appropriate for the work you do is what sets it apart from all others.