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Scrub Care: How To Wash And Maintain Your Medical Scrubs

26 October

Scrub Care: How To Wash And Maintain Your Medical Scrubs

Medical Scrubs as we all know it are an essential part of the medical profession. For medical professionals not only are scrubs professional attire within their respective medical facilities, it is also their job identity and designation. However, outside of the office, scrubs feel like a medical professionals armor and badge of honor. From the medial staff to the housekeeping staff, everyone in a medical facility is assigned a pair of scrubs. But with daily usage the medical scrubs get soiled and often just washing them is not enough. So what can we do? What measures should we take to ensure that our medical scrubs last, look clean and maintain their 'fresh out of the package' look?

Here are some of the ways we recommend when you are tending to your medical subs in the laundry:

1.Wash Medical Scrubs Immediately:

The first thing we need to understand about medical scrubs is that at the end of the shift they are COVERED in bacteria. Medical scrubs spend the entire day surrounded by germs, bodily fluids, excrements and other nastiness. Therefore, it is imperative to wash them after every shift as soon as possible to keep the spread of bacteria in your home to a minimum.

Sometimes however we know that it isn't possible to wash the scrubs as soon as you might want to. In that case make sure to store the soiled scrubs in a Ziploc bag away from the rest of the laundry. And whenever you're ready to wash them, take precautions and handle them while wearing gloves.

2.Separate wash:

Just as it was important to store the soiled scrubs away from the rest of the laundry, it is equally important to wash them separate from the rest of the laundry to minimize contamination of bacteria and germs. By washing the medical scrubs separately, you can dedicate the treatment of the whole load according to the level of contamination.

3.Pre-Treat Stains:

Staining on scrubs is a common work hazard for people in the medical profession. Because we are constantly on the move taking care of patients, sometimes we don't even realize that we got a stain until it sets it. And because no two stains are the same, not all washing treatments result in clean garments. Pre-treating the stain is a crucial step to ensure sanitation of the medical scrubs without leaving any residual stains behind.

4.Cold V/S Hot Water:

We might think that since hot water can kill off bacteria, it would make sense to wash the medical scrubs with hot water. This is not always applicable. Though sometimes it is beneficial to use warm water, other times the only way to get a stain out is by using cold water. Knowing when to use hot or cold water can be the difference between scrubs that are clean and shrunken scrubs with residual stains.

5.Turn Inside Out:

We all want to own and wear clothes that are vibrant and look like new even if they are old. There's something about new looking clothes that gives you an instant boost in confidence. However, keeping a well-worn garment looking new is no easy task. One thing that can be done during the washing phase is turning it inside out.

By turning the scrubs inside out before washing their color does not fade as fast and it prevent pilling. Both of these help in keeping the medical scrubs looking newer longer.

6.Extra Conditioning:

Often pre-treating the stains are not enough to ensure neat clean looking medical scrubs. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile, and there's two simple ways of doing it:


Adding ½ cup white vinegar to a load of scrubs can soften the fabrics without the use of scented fabric softener.

2.Bleach Usage:

We cannot emphasize enough that learning when to use chlorine bleach is of utmost importance when washing medical scrubs.

Since chlorine bleach can strip the fabric of its color, it is recommended that chlorinated bleach only be used on scrubs and lab coats that are white. And even then it is with precaution, as over use of bleach can not only cause fabric degradation but it can also lead to yellowing of the fabric.

In case of colored scrubs and lab coats non-chlorinated bleach can get the job done.

3.Using Disinfectant:

By adding disinfectant like Pine-sol or Lysol to a load of medical scrubs before the start of the wash cycle you can disinfect the scrubs safely without worrying about using harsh chemicals. The disinfectant also leaves behind a pleasant smelling scrubs.

7.Heat Requirement:

Depending on the fabric makeup of your medical scrubs it is important to use the right dryer settings. Cotton for example can shrink that it why we recommend you either try it on the low tumble dry option or hanging it out to dry. Materials such as polyester that are not susceptible to shrinkage can be dried on low or medium heat. Using high heat, however is not recommended as it can ruin the fabric and leave your scrubs looking worse for the wear.

8.Ironing Medical Scrubs:

Even though hanging the medical scrubs out to dry would not cause any noticeable wrinkles, yet we recommend ironing them. Ironing the scrubs not only can kill any bacteria or germs that might have survived from the washing process, but ironing also helps in making the scrubs look crisp, professional, neat and new.


Even though all the washing and cleaning is done by the horsepower of the washing machine, no amount of washing can get clothes cleaned enough if the staining hasn't been properly dealt with. In order to get the best result, the stain has to be identified and treated according to its particular requirement. A general guide to common stains caused in a medical facility and how to cure them are:

Type of Stain How to Treat It


For blood stains we recommend keeping the stain under running cold water and use detergents with stain removing agents. To get the best results, scrub gently and rinse. Repeat the process as necessary


Vomit, Feces, Urine

Protein stains such as these first need to have the solid particles scraped off gently with a tongue depressor and then can be treated under cold running water with a toothbrush for scrubbing and cleaning detergent with stain removing qualities. Scrub the detergent into the stain with a toothbrush then rinse it clean. Repeat as necessary till the scrubs are spotless.



Oil based stains caused by ointments can be easily rinsed off by using hot water and a detergent with strong stain removing qualities



To get iodine stains out of the scrubs, soak the stain in warm water with enzyme based pre-soak products or a strong stain removing detergent for 20mins. Then you can wash it with detergent and oxygen based bleach o remove the residual discoloration of the fabric.

What have we learned?

It is important to learn proper maintenance of our scrubs and other medical attire, so that we can wash them in a manner that will make them last and looking new because as we all know as essential as scrubs are, they can become quite costly to replace. This is why only by taking good care of the medical scrubs and maintaining them well can we help ourselves and our pockets by saving some money.