Sidestep a scare with proper scrubs care


Digital Vision | Martin PooleDigital Vision | Martin Poole

Seeing as you can’t step into a single workday without the support of your trusty scrubs, it’s pretty important to you that they are:

1. Resilient in a “just spent two weeks in the jungle and still suitable for wear” kind of way. Dare we even say “vibrant”?

2. Not doubling as a Club Med for unwanted germs. And their grandmother’s germs. And their grandmother’s grandmother’s germs.

The good news? There are more sustainable scrubs care practices available to you than the “burn after using” action plan you may have been considering ever since superbugs hit the medical scene in a big way.


  • Wash up. Oh, you just bought a pair of swanky new scrubs, did you? Fabulous. Now here’s a trick: Before shimmying into those bad boys, treat them to a solo wash with half a cup of vinegar. This will help set the material’s color and slow fading, which is subject to hyper mode if you’re disinfecting your scrubs regularly.
  • Separate, separate, separate. As much as we hate to add another load (literally) to your to-do list, the fact of the matter is that not all laundry is made equal. Since your scrubs will often require a more thorough washing than, say, your average Netflix-ing ensemble (aka sweats), it’s best to keep them from mixing and mingling with your other laundry items.
  • Second time’s the charm. If you really want to stay on the safe side, or if you have a particularly soiled batch of scrubs, then a twofold laundering process is the way to go. Here are the simple steps you can follow to get ’em done:

1. Give your scrubs a once-over for any stains. You’ll want to treat them prior to wash #1, since the hot water in wash #2 will set the stains.

2. Turn your scrubs inside out. This will keep the separate items from rubbing together and forming clumps in the wash.

3. Toss your scrubs into the wash. Select “regular cycle” along with cold water, adding the proper amount of detergent to the load. Even if the load is small, it’s best to set the capacity to “large” or “extra-large.” This way, your scrubs will have the room they need to really move and groove when things start to get wild.

4. The second wash is intended to fully disinfect the scrubs. This time around, skip the detergent and add ¾ cup of color-safe bleach. Again, select “regular” or “normal” cycle, only now you’ll want to run the load with hot water.

5. Dry your scrubs using the highest heating heat setting for a third go at eliminating any stubborn bacteria.

  • Some like it hot. If you have the time, run a hot iron over your newly laundered scrubs. Not only will this have you looking “fresh” on the job, but it’s yet another layer of sanitization, as the heat will help snuff out any bacteria that’s proven to be a stage 5 clinger.

And just a friendly reminder…

Did you know that you may be able to deduct the cost of a new uniform, along with laundering or dry cleaning needs, from your taxes? If you’re racking up bills upon bills having your scrubs laundered outside of the home, we suggest that you take a look at some of the details here.

How do you care for your scrubs? Let us know in the comments below!

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