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Scrub Care Guide

Scrub Care Guide

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We all know that the way we care for our things is the way they will last, and this definitely applies to your nursing scrubs.

What’s the big deal, you think? Just throw them in the wash, hang to dry and you’re good to go.

Not so quick! By properly caring and laundering your scrubs you will keep them looking in tip top shape, and increase the life span of your nursing uniforms.

Keeping your scrubs looking fresh and clean can be a challenge with all the abuse and wear and tear they go through on a daily basis. Dealing with germs and bodily fluid, you just never know what can get on your uniform. It is of utmost importance to disinfect your scrubs to remove the germs to keep yourself and your patients safe. Taking proper care of your scrubs can really make all the difference in the longevity of your uniform and keep them looking sharp and crisp.

How To Wash Your Scrubs

This guide will help you get the most out of your uniform with tips and pointers for washing and caring for your scrubs, so you can wear them with pride!

1. Initial Wash

Congratulations! You just purchased a new set of scrubs. Before wearing them for the first time, be sure to wash them in a separate load in cold water with a half a cup of vinegar. This will help set the color and prevent it from bleeding and fading. Another great perk of adding vinegar to your load is that it will help keep the color bright and vibrant.

2. Pretreat Stains

After your long day on the floor you come home exhausted, but hopefully feeling fulfilled and accomplished. All you want to do is jump in the shower and collapse in your bed, but just one thing before getting your zzzs: treat those stains! We all know that getting stains on your uniform is unavoidable, from blood to coffee and everything in between (that can be a lot of things, but we will spare you the gory details!)

How To Get Stains Out Of Your Scrubs

A few tips to keep in mind when treating those stains:

- The sooner you treat the stain the easier it will be to remove it.

- Use cold water. Hot or even warm water will set in the stain and make it harder, or even impossible, to remove.

- Pretreat with a stain remover and soak overnight before washing.

Here are some of the most common stain culprits and quick tips on how to treat them prior to washing:

  • Remove solid particles and rinse well with cold water. Then soak stain in mixture of one quart warm water and 1 tablespoon ammonia.  Use toothbrush and stroke stain lightly. Once stain is removed, rinse well to remove ammonia. Repeat several times if necessary.
STAIN TYPE HOW TO REMOVE
Blood
  • Wet the stain with cold water and rub with a bar of soap. As you rub, continue to run a stream of cold water over the stain and you will see it slowly fade until it completely disappears. Alternatively your can apply hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain to magically remove the blood.
Urine
  • Mix cold water with a bit of ammonia and soak stain for a few hours. This should remove the stain as well as the odor.
Sweat
  • Soak stain in mixture of ½ cup of cold water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar.
vOMIT
  • Remove solid particles and rinse well with cold water. Then soak stain in mixture of one quart warm water and 1 tablespoon ammonia. Use toothbrush and stroke stain lightly. Once stain is removed, rinse well to remove ammonia. Repeat several times if necessary.
Medication-Oil Based
  • First sprinkle stain with baby powder to absorb the oil and then wash. Another option is to put some dish soap on the grease stain before washing.
Medication-Ointment
  • First scrape off any excess ointment, sprinkle with corn starch and rub in until completely absorbed. Wash in cold water.
Coffee
  • Immediately blot stain to absorb any liquid. Sprinkle with baking soda and blot; do not rub.
Ink
  • Mix equal amounts of rubbing alcohol with water and apply to stain with rag or spray bottle until fabric is fully saturated and let sit for a few hours. Hairspray works as well.
3. Washing & Drying Your Scrubs

Now that we’ve dealt with those stains, let’s talk about the best way to wash your scrubs.

Before we get into the nitty gritty details, first separate your scrubs from your regular clothing. Scrubs should never be washed together with your other clothing, so as not spread germs and bacteria. Change out of your scrubs as soon as you end work, and if possible before you leave your job. Have a designated disposable bag to store them in until you can put them in the laundry. Always remember to check the fabric content before washing your scrubs and try to follow manufacturer’s instructions. Below is a helpful chart to guide you through the washing process.

How to Wash Your Scrubs Based On Fabric Type

FABRIC CONTENT WASHING INSTRUCTIONS DRYING INSTRUCTIONS

100% COTTON

Cold Water

Hang to dry or tumble dry on the lowest setting to avoid shrinking

POLYESTER/COTTON

Warm Water

Hang to dry or dry on low heat

POLYESTER/RAYON

Cold Water - Gentle Cycle

Hang or line dry

POLYESTER/RAYON/SPANDEX

Warm Water

Dry with low heat or hang to dry

Top Tips For Washing Your Scrubs

At the end of the day, we all want our scrubs to last long and look great, but being safe and sterile is most important. Here are some general tips to be keep in mind when washing your scrubs to maintain a beautiful and germ free uniform.Wear disposable gloves when dealing with your dirty scrubs to prevent the transfer of pathogens.

- Turn your scrubs inside out when washing to avoid fabric abrasion and fading.

- Avoid the use of hot water before removing stains.

- Adding ½ cup of vinegar to your load will help soften the fabric.

- Scrubs can be disinfected by adding ½ cup of Pine-Sol along with your regular detergent.

- Drying your scrubs on a high heat setting will kills most of the germs left on your scrubs after washing. Keep in mind that this may cause some shrinkage.

- Ironing your scrubs will not only give your scrubs a neat and crisp appearance, they will also kill more germs.

- Washing and drying your scrubs at a high temperature will cause the fabric to fade a bit, but it will ensure that your scrubs are completely clean, and prevent the spread of germs.

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