Medical scrubs are more than just a uniform and a symbol of your profession. Scrubs are meant to improve workplace performance, safety, identification and so much more. Lets know how to Effectively Clean Your Scrubs.
Keeping scrubs clean from both seen and unseen contaminants takes a lot of effort — especially when you’re likely already running a busy schedule. Due to the nature of the environment and the job, though, it’s important to remember that your scrubs can harbor germs and microorganisms that can potentially have an effect on the people around you. A simple and proactive way to reduce any risk of spreading contaminants that you come into contact with during the day is to make sure that you treat your favorite scrubs uniform right and disinfect properly. Once you’ve adjusted to a few simple rules, washing your scrubs feels as natural as washing the rest of your wardrobe.
Why Properly Cleaning Your Scrubs Is So Crucial
During the course of the day, a pair of scrubs can and likely will accumulate unwanted germs and staining. Things like bodily fluids, medicines and ointments, foreign contaminants, ink from the pens in your pockets and more will leave their mark.
The scrubs that a nurse wears, however, have a tremendous impact on colleagues, patients and the general public. From first impressions to health and safety considerations, there are a lot of overlooked and under-stressed reasons why properly cleaning your scrubs is so important.
- Being Proactive to Reduce Health and Safety Risks — Consider clean scrubs just as important as wearing clean gloves. A set of scrubs is exposed to a lot throughout the day, and washing properly ensures that you, your colleagues, your family and the general public stay healthy and safe.
- Reflecting Your Work Ethic and Professionalism — One of the most crucial aspects that affects the efficiency of a nurse is being able to utilize comfortable and durable clothing, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look good! Taking care of your scrubs gives an outward impression that you have an eye for detail and feel pride in the profession you’ve chosen to practice, which instills confidence in patients and colleagues alike.
- Taking Care of Your Purchase — Finding the right scrubs can make all the difference. Unique, good quality, comfortable, and functional scrubs don’t always come cheap or aren’t always easy to find. When you find the ones, make sure that you’re taking care of them!
How To Properly And Effectively Clean Your Scrubs
When you’re washing your scrubs, it’s important to remember that every step in the washing process contributes to the removal of microorganisms on fabric, and that all of the steps are important.
- Treat Your Scrubs Right — When you find a new pair of scrubs and bring them home, make sure to give them a wash in water that’s a warm enough temperature for cleansing fabrics, but at the same time avoiding significant fading or shrinking. Additionally, throwing half a cup of white vinegar into this load can help to set the color in your scrubs, and keep the fabric feeling soft. Turning scrubs inside-out during regular washes will help to prevent pilling and fading, as well.
- Wash Your Scrubs at the Right Time — The best practices to avoid the spread of fluids or germs after your shift involves washing your scrubs as soon as possible once you’re off the clock. Along with this, try to get any other clothing you own on a different laundry schedule than your scrubs. Though your uniform scrubs and clothing won’t contaminate the other clothes in your wardrobe once they’re clean, you’ll want to wash them separately to prevent any cross-contamination before then.
- Wash Your Scrubs at the Right Temperature — Temperature is important when sanitizing and disinfecting scrubs. Washing and drying your scrubs at the hottest temperature (while still being suitable for the fabric used) is always a good idea.
- Keep an Eye Out For Stains — When dealing with the types of contaminants normally found on scrubs, it’s a good idea to pretreat any serious stains before washing to avoid having these stains set. Equally important is inspecting for stains before your scrubs hit the dryer. Once the fabric is dried, you can pretty much consider these stains permanent additions to your ensemble.
- Handle Stains Properly — If you’ve kept an eye out for stains and do come across some, make sure to deal with them appropriately.
- For ointments, pretreat fabrics with liquid detergent or liquid dish soap. For iodine in particular, consider liquid dish soap as well, but with white vinegar and warm water added to the mix.
- For blood, try a small amount of hydrogen peroxide applied directly to the stain and followed up with a cold water rinse.
- For other bodily fluids such as vomit, urine and feces, try hydrogen peroxide as well, but with the addition of baking soda and cold water.
- Use the Right Supplies — As a nurse, it’s important to find a product that’s effective at killing bacteria and that doesn’t compromise the colors or integrity of your scrubs. “Hypo-allergenic,” “non-toxic,” “non-bleaching,” and “perfume and dye-free” are all good traits to watch for when it comes to what you clean your uniform with. Using an antimicrobial laundry additive can be beneficial in reducing the risk of bringing unwanted microorganisms home, and eliminate the bacteria that tend to cause odors and fabric degradation, while offering the sought-after traits noted above.
- Clean Your Washing Machine and Dryer Regularly, Too! — Not only is this already a recommended practice for good housekeeping, but regular cleaning will help to maintain the machine’s washing efficiency. This is important, as dirty or underperforming washing machines and dryers may lead more easily to the contamination of clothing.