Whether you are in nursing school or a practicing RN, clean scrubs are essential. However, it is not just important to have clean scrubs for appearance but also for safety. Disinfecting your scrubs is vital before reporting for your next shift. By following these steps to care for your scrubs, you will have vibrantly clean and safely disinfected scrubs.
- Pre-Treat Your Scrubs: Before wearing your scrubs for the first time, wash them separately in cold water with half a cup of vinegar to set the color of the scrubs and to prevent them from fading. This step helps preserve the appearance and extend the life of the scrubs as disinfecting can be a harsh process that strips the colors from your scrubs if not pre-treated.
- Save the Scrubs for Work: We cannot stress enough that scrubs must be kept clean and disinfected in order to be appropriate and safe to wear to work. That is why you should reserve your scrubs for work alone. We recommend not even changing into your scrubs until you reach your workplace to avoid contamination. It is recommended to place clean scrubs in air tight bags before wearing to protect the scrubs from germs and contagions prior to your shift. And after your shift, don’t risk eating your meatball submarine sandwich in your scrubs. Change first before doing every day activities outside of work. It will also lengthen the life of your scrubs by preventing more wear and tear. After all, marinara sauce is a harder stain to remove than blood.
- Give Your Scrubs the VIP Treatment: When it’s time to wash your scrubs, don’t treat them like just any other garment. Because scrubs require more thorough disinfecting than a normal tee shirt and jeans, it is important that you not mix them in with your other laundry. As it is very important to wear fresh, clean scrubs every shift, we recommend getting more than one pair so you may wash each set of scrubs together at end of each week. If you have any visible stains on your scrubs, we recommend treating them with a color-safe stain remover before washing.
- Give Your Scrubs Two Scrubbings: To properly disinfect your scrubs, you will need to send the load of scrubs through two wash cycles/ First, turn all the scrubs inside out to prevent the scrubs from rubbing against each other and pilling. Then, send the scrubs through a regular or normal cycle with cold water and regular detergent. Make sure the load size is set to large or extra-large, even if the load size is small, because scrubs need plenty of room to move. After the first washing, check to see if any stains are still visible. If so, treat them again with stain remover and repeat the first washing again. Next, after all stains are removed, you may begin the second washing step. It is important all stains are removed before this step, as it involves hot water and if there are any stains present before this step, they will be set in and much harder to remove later. The second washing is to disinfect the scrubs using bleach. To begin this second step in the washing process, add 3/4 cup of color-safe bleach to your washing machine’s built in bleach dispenser and wash the load on the normal or regular setting with hot water. If your washer does not have this feature, allow the washer’s barrel to fill completely with hot water after adding the laundry, then add 3/4 cup color-safe bleach to the water before the cycle starts. After you have completed both steps in the washing process, dry your scrubs on the highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes. This will kill even more bacteria.
- Keep You Scrubs Fresh: After your scrubs come out of the dryer fresh and clean, use a hot iron to press your scrubs. This is an important step in keeping your scrubs looking neat and maintaining a professional appearance in the workplace. It also kills more germs. Once you have pressed your scrubs, we recommend placing them in a clean, dry plastic bag to avoid contamination before you wear the scrubs.
Now that you know how to maintain your scrubs, you will be able to preserve a clean, healthy work uniform and professional appearance. If you are not already donning scrubs but are interested in learning more about the Marian University accelerated nursing program in Nashville or Indianapolis, contact us here.