How to Wash Scrubs

How to wash scrubs

Introduction

Washing scrubs is an essential part of maintaining hygiene and professionalism in healthcare settings. Properly cleaned scrubs not only help prevent the spread of germs but also extend the lifespan of the garments.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of washing scrubs effectively, ensuring they remain clean, fresh, and comfortable for daily use.

Importance of Washing Scrubs

Properly washing scrubs is crucial for healthcare professionals as they come into contact with various contaminants and pathogens throughout their workday. By regularly washing scrubs, you can remove dirt, sweat, stains, and potentially harmful microorganisms, minimizing the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of infections.

Types of Scrubs

Before diving into the washing process, it’s important to understand the different types of scrubs available. Scrubs come in various styles, fabrics, and colors, and each may require specific care instructions. Common types of scrubs include cotton scrubs, polyester scrubs, and blended scrubs. It’s essential to check the garment’s label for any specific washing guidelines provided by the manufacturer.

Preparing for Washing Scrubs

Before washing medical scrubs, there are a few important steps to take. Start by emptying the pockets and removing any personal items. Turn scrubs inside out, close any Velcro or zipper closures to prevent snagging during the cleaning process. It’s also recommended to pretreat any visible stains by applying a stain remover or a mild detergent directly to the affected areas.

Washing Scrubs

When it comes to washing dirty scrubs, following the proper steps is essential to maintain their quality. Start by sorting the scrubs based on color and fabric type. White scrubs need special care, this prevents color bleeding and ensures that each load receives the appropriate care. Use a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine and opt for a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics.

Drying and Ironing Scrubs

After washing, it’s time to dry the scrubs. Avoid using high heat, as it can cause shrinkage or damage to the fabric. Instead, opt for a lowest setting or air-dry them. Once dry, promptly remove the clean scrubs from the dryer to prevent wrinkles. If needed, iron the scrubs on a low heat setting to achieve a polished and professional appearance.

Stain Removal

Dealing with stains on scrubs is a common challenge. To effectively remove stains, identify the type of stain and treat scrubs immediately. Here are some tips:

Blood stains

Act quickly: Blood stains should be treated as soon as possible to prevent them from setting. Soaked blood stains scrubs in cold water before washing.
Rinse with cold water: Start by rinsing the stain under cold water. Avoid using hot water as it can set the stain.
Pre-treat with enzyme-based cleaner: Apply a small amount of enzyme-based cleaner directly to the stain. Gently rub it into the fabric using a clean cloth or sponge. Enzyme-based cleaners are effective at breaking down the proteins in blood stains.
Soak and wash: for stubborn stains, soak the garment in cold water with a stain-removing detergent. After soaking for about 30 minutes, proceed to wash the scrubs following the regular washing instructions.

Oil based stains

Absorb excess oil: Use a clean cloth or paper towel to blot away any excess oil or pine oil from the stain. Avoid rubbing, as it can spread the stain further.
Pre-treat with dish soap or detergent: Apply half cup of dish soap or liquid laundry detergent directly to the stain. Gently rub it into the fabric using your fingers or a soft brush.
Let it sit and wash: Allow the dish soap or detergent to penetrate the stain for about 10-15 minutes. Then, wash the scrubs following the regular washing instructions. If the stain persists, repeat the process or try using a specialized stain remover designed for oil-based stains.

Iodine Stains

Act quickly: Iodine stains can set quickly, so it’s crucial to address them promptly.
Rinse with cold water: Use rinse water. The cold temperature helps prevent the stain from setting.
Pre-treat with hydrogen peroxide: Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. Gently rub it into the fabric using a clean cloth or sponge. Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Rinse and wash: Rinse the area with cold water once again. Proceed to wash the scrubs following the regular wash cycle.

Ink Stains

Blot the stain: If the ink stain is fresh, blot it gently with a clean cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing, as it may spread the ink further.
Apply rubbing alcohol: Dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and dab it onto the stain. Be sure to test the alcohol on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.
Rinse and wash: Rinse the area with cold water to remove the alcohol and loosened ink. Then, wash the scrubs using the regular washing instructions. If the stain persists after washing, repeat the process or try using an ink stain remover product.

Other Common Stains

Coffee or tea stains: Rinse the stain with cold water, then pre-treat with a mixture of water and avoid heavy duty laundry detergent. Wash the scrubs as usual.
Food or drink stains: Scrape off any excess food or drink gently. Pre-treat the stain with a stain remover or a mixture of water and mild detergent. Avoid eating messy meals so easy care.
Sweat and bodily fluids stains: Pre-treat sweat stains with a mixture of water and white vinegar or baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes before washing the scrubs.

Disinfecting Scrubs

While washing scrubs removes dirt and stains, disinfecting them is equally important. Healthcare professionals should prioritize disinfection to eliminate any remaining pathogens effectively. To disinfect scrubs, consider adding a disinfectant additive to the wash cycle or using a specialized laundry sanitizer. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines, ensure the scrubs reach the appropriate temperature for disinfection.

Maintaining Scrubs’ Quality

To ensure the longevity and quality of your scrubs, it’s essential to follow some best practices. Avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, or fabric softeners, as they can damage the fabric and compromise the garment’s integrity. Additionally, store scrubs separately from regular clothing to minimize the risk of contamination.

How Often to Wash Scrubs

The frequency of washing scrubs depends on several factors, including the nature of the work and personal preferences. In most cases, it’s recommended to wash scrubs after each wearing scrubs to maintain optimal cleanliness. However, if you work in a low-risk environment, you may wash scrubs after a few uses while ensuring they remain free of stains, odors, and visible dirt.

Tips for Washing Scrubs

Here are some additional tips to help you effectively wash your scrubs:

  1. Separate scrubs from other regular clothes to prevent contamination.
  2. Follow the care instructions on the garment label.
  3. Consider using color-catching sheets to prevent color bleeding.
  4. Avoid overcrowding the washing machine to ensure thorough cleaning.
  5. Hang scrubs to dry whenever possible to minimize shrinkage.

Conclusion

Maintaining clean and well-kept scrubs is essential for healthcare professionals. By following the proper washing techniques, you can ensure that your scrubs remain free from stains, odors, and pathogens. Remember to check the garment labels for any specific care instructions and always prioritize the cleanliness and hygiene of your scrubs.

FAQs

Q1: Can I wash my scrubs with regular laundry?

A1: It’s best to separate scrubs from other clothes to prevent potential contamination and ensure proper care.

Q2: How can I remove tough stains from my scrubs?

A2: Depending on the type of stain, you can pretreat them with a stain remover or follow specific instructions for different stain types.

Q3: Is it necessary to disinfect scrubs after each wash?

A3: While washing removes dirt and stains, disinfecting scrubs is recommended to eliminate any remaining pathogens effectively.

Q4: Can I use bleach to whiten my scrubs?

A4: It’s generally not recommended to use oxygen based bleach on scrubs as it can damage the fabric. Instead, consider using a non-chlorine bleach alternative if needed.

Q5: How often should I replace my scrubs?

A5: The lifespan of scrubs can vary based on their quality and usage. It’s advisable to replace scrubs when they become worn out or damaged beyond repair.

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