How to disinfect your medical scrubs

July 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm 1 comment

Landau athletic pant

You can't run from bacteria.

Welcome to the Anthony’s Scrubs blog! At Anthony’s Scrubs, we are proud to serve the hardworking men and women of the medical industry- doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. We want them to look and feel their very best, and to that end, we offer top-quality scrub tops, pants, lab coats, and footwear from the biggest names in medical apparel- Landau and Urbane Scrubs. These scrubs are durable and comfortable, they fit beautifully, and they come in a variety of styles and colors. However, for many medical professionals, feeling confident is not just about styles and colors. For many, confidence goes hand-in-hand with cleanliness. Doctors and nurses are facing increasingly dangerous and drug-resistant strains of bacteria, and every day, they risk severe infection. Medical professionals can also carry bacteria and pass it along to patients, family and friends, and a major vehicle for the transport of bacteria is the apparel that they wear. Recent studies show that home-laundered scrubs contain high levels of bacteria, unlike scrubs laundered at the hospital or in a professional laundering facility. So what’s a doctor or nurse to do if their hospital doesn’t offer professional laundering services? Today, I’m going to share with you some tips on how to clean and disinfect your scrubs at home, and reduce the risk of exposing others to dangerous strains of bacteria.

How to keep your medical scrubs clean and sanitary

  1. When you first get new scrubs, wash them in cold water and add a half cup of vinegar to the wash. This will help set the color of the scrubs and keep them from fading. Disinfecting can be harsh on scrubs, but this step can help extend the life of your scrubs.
  2. Put on your scrubs at the hospital and take them off at the hospital. Bring a plastic freezer bag to work, and put your scrubs in the bag after your shift. Seal it up and keep it sealed until you’re ready to wash your scrubs. Do not reuse this bag. This might seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s well worth the extra effort because you’ll be keeping yourself and others safe and healthy.
  3. When you’re ready to wash your scrubs, wash them separately from your regular clothing. If you’d like to conserve water and energy, you can wait until you have a few sets of dirty scrubs, and wash them together. Just be sure that the wash load isn’t too large; in order to get clean, scrubs need plenty of room in the washer and dryer to move around.
  4. If you have visible stains on your scrubs, use a stain remover before washing. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

    Landau pleat neck Tencel top

    So fresh and so clean, clean.

  5. You need to wash your scrubs twice. The first wash will loosen and remove dirt and debris. The second wash will disinfect your scrubs. For the first wash, use cold water and a regular detergent. Set your washer on the regular or normal setting, and be sure that the load setting is large enough to let the scrubs move around freely. Turn all garments inside out and place in the wash. This will keep the garments from abrading each other and causing pilling. After the first wash, check your scrubs to see if any stains remain. If so, you may want to repeat the stain removal and cold water wash processes. Make sure all stains are gone before washing scrubs in hot water, because hot water will set stains.
  6. For the second wash, use hot water and bleach. Most washers have a bleach dispenser, which will dilute the bleach before adding it to the wash. This is important, because bleach should not be used full-strength on clothing. If your washer does not have a bleach dispenser, add 3/4 cup of bleach to the wash after the tub has already filled with water.
  7. After the wash, put your scrubs in the dryer on the highest heat setting. Tumble dry for at least thirty minutes. The heat of the dryer will kill bacteria.
  8. Now iron your scrubs with a hot iron. This direct heat will kill even more bacteria.
  9. Once your scrubs are clean, dry and pressed, you may want to use a plastic dry cleaning bag to keep them clean until you’re ready to wear them. You can also put them in a clean plastic freezer bag. Just be sure to roll and not fold them, to prevent wrinkles.
  10. Now, you’ll need to sanitize your washing machine. Make a solution of ten parts bleach to one part water. Put it in a spray bottle, and spray it inside your washing machine, all around the tub of the machine and the inside of the lid. Use the scrubbing side of a dish sponge, and scrub the tub and lid. Now run a load with hot water and bleach.

Cleaning and disinfecting your medical scrubs may be a difficult and time-consuming process, but it’s an important way to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Thanks for reading our new blog! We hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to comment with any suggestions for future topics!


Entry filed under: Cleaning scrubs.

Staying germ-free: Part two

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