How To Wash Scrubs The Sensible Way

how to wash medical scrubs

Do you want to know how to wash scrubs the right way?

As a medical student/doctor, nurse, laboratory technician or any medical practitioner, you know this;

Medical practice is intense. Attending to patients needs is a super important responsibility on our part, but we shouldn’t neglect our health.

We, medical workers, wear scrubs to prevent patient’s fluids from contaminating our bodies. But how do you wash scrubs the right way even by hand?

Continue reading to learn how to wash medical scrubs by hand, without shrinking, fading, or having wrinkles.

Materials You Need to wash scrubs by hand

  • Detergent
  • White vinegar
  • Pine oil for non-colored scrubs
  • Chlorine bleach for white scrubs
  • Disposable gloves

How to wash and disinfect scrubs by hand  

1. Wash in cold water

Can you wash scrubs in hot water?

Many health professionals assume that washing scrubs in hot water is the best way, thinking it’ll disinfect them, but that’s not always the case.

You want to wash your scrubs without fading? Then do that with cold water and put them to immediate drying.


Washing scrubs in cold water prevents the fabric from fading and tearing out. Remember, you’d want to wear a shiny scrub to the clinic to look good. And if it’s faded, you would regret and finally decide to dump that pair for another.

Asides that, hot water wash have a way of setting the stains, making it worse than washing with cold water. It can reduce the life span of your scrubs.

2. Use Bleach or Pine Oil during Washing

During your activities in the hospital, you know that there are a ton of microorganism that can infect your scrubs and make it unhealthy. This can happen through patients fluids, stains, laboratory substances and other kinds of dirt.

 So what do you do? You should disinfect the scrubs while washing to save yourself from contracting any form of disease.

How do you disinfect your medical scrubs? By using bleach or pine oil!

If your scrubs is white in colour, then adding bleach is the best way! It doesn’t only remove the microorganisms and bacteria, but also makes it whiter and shine brighter for your next day at work!

However, recent medical scrubs come in a garage of colors. Green, sky blue, dark blue, purple, just name it! How do you disinfect colored scrubs? By adding Pine oil, a substance that has natural disinfecting properties.

3. Use white Vinegar while rinsing

White vinegar is a chemical substance used in laundry to soften clothes. You should add about half a cup to your rinse water to soften the scrub fabrics before you finally dry.

4. Dry properly

The last step is to dry them properly. Without this step, every other thing might be a waste!

If you’re using a washing machine, you should dry scrubs on the lowest tumble dry setting to avoid wrinkles and fading.

How to Disinfect scrubs using Washing machine

Don’t wash your scrubs normally. The bacteria, deadly viruses, and microorganisms won’t go away by conventional washing! You need to learn how to disinfect scrubs the right way.

By using these steps  and precautions to wash and disinfect your medical scrubs, every microorganism (even Corona virus) will be dead gone.  

1. Put on a disposable glove

You’re going to be dealing with unseen microorgansim and diseaseswhile washing, so put on a disposable glove. Even if someone else is doing your laundry, advise them to wear a protective gear.

2. Put the cloth into the washing machine and Add Chlorine bleach for White scrubs

Sodium hypochlorite which is Chlorine bleach is a super important chemical to disinfect scrubs. Before turning the machine to wash, add the bleach to the washer drum.

Note: Never add the chlorine bleach to the scrub directly, but to the washer drum.

3. Put Pine-oil for Non-colored scrubs

For scrubs woth colors other than white, use pine oil disinfectant. There could be other names you know it as. Examples: Spic and Span pine, Pine-sol, Lysol pine action, etc.

Ensure the product you’re using contains about 80% of pine oil for better disinfection. You can also use any phenolic disinfectant which does the same job as the chlorine bleach.

Ironing- How to wash scrubs without wrinkling

It’s entirely impossible for your scrubs to remain exactly intact after wash. To prevent the wrinkles, you can decide to iron the clothing. But ensure it’s a warm iron to prevent the material from damage.

How to remove stains from scrubs

Being in the surgery unit in the hospital, you’d know this:

Stains are unavoidable. You shouldn’t be super careful on how to prevent such stains but more concerned with it’s management.

Here are some tips to remove stains from your scrubs.

1. Blood stains

It’s still the same principle as I earlier mentioned- cold water wash! If you use hot water, it would cause the stain to set deeper and cause a difficult to wash.

While washing, avoid using plain soap. Detergents are the best to remove those hard stains. You could let the detergent do its job for some minutes washing.

2. Iodine

Iodine is another kind of chemical stain that can infect your scrubs. To wash out, simply soak the fabrics in warm water with heavy detergent for 25 minutes. Cold water wash doesn’t work well with iodine stains, so use warm water to wash.

If the Iodine stain persists, then use an Oxygen bleach with detergent to remove the colour. You could allow the fabric to soak for longer periods in bleach if the stain stays longer.

  • Urine, Vomit and Faeces

What do you do when urine, vomit, and faeces stain your scrubs? Perfect question! Here, you need to wash normally with detergent and cold water and then use half a cup of baking soda.

4. Oily stains

You can remove oily stains from scrubs using warm or hot water. Soak the fabric in heavy detergent for about 5 minutes after which you wash.

How to wash scrubs the first time

So you just bought a new pair of scrubs. Now how do you wash them the first time?

Firstly, use cold water and detergent to wash. Add half a cup of white vinegar to the detergent while washing to keep your fabric clean and colorful.

Tips to Keep Scrubs for longer

  • Wash them immediately after usage as soon as possible. Don’t allow the fabric stay longer for microorganisms to accumulate.
  • Store them in a dry place. It’s best to put them on a hanger or fold them well and save in your drawer.
  • Fix tiny holes and openings immediately to avoid extensive wear and tear.

Final words on how to wash scrubs

Scrubs are a clothing type that medical professionals wear during theatre or ward sessions in the hospital. This fabric not only serve as a beautiful uniform but also protect our bodies from fluid stains during work.

But after work, how can one wash scrubs the right way? This article has explained all. You’ve also come to learn ways to maintain them for longer periods. Now go ahead and take care of those scrubs!

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Anaso Emmanuel
Anaso Emmanuel

My name is Anaso Emmanuel and I’m the founder of MedicsDomain; an SEO Expert, Content Writer and an Enthusiastic learner. To the outside world, I’m an ordinary Medic but secretly I use this blog to help aspirants get into medical school, provide insightful guides and connect with others like me.

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