Proper care for nursing scrubs is a tough challenge for most nurses. Scrubs can get easily worn out, and for many nurses on a budget, it’s important to make them last long.
It’s not enough to wash your nursing scrubs the way you would your regular clothes. They need extra care especially in disinfecting and reconditioning them for your next duty. Start properly caring for your nursing scrubs with the following tips and tricks to keep them in great shape for a long time:
1. Pre-Treat New Scrubs
Before wearing new nursing scrubs, make sure to pre-treat them first. This will set the scrubs’ color and prevent them from fading over time. You can do this by washing them in a small basin of cold water mixed with half cup of vinegar.
2. Do Not Mix Your Scrubs with Other Laundry
When washing your scrubs, do it separately from your other laundry. Proper washing of nursing scrubs is different from washing ordinary laundry items as you will have to disinfect your scrubs thoroughly.
3. Use Color-Safe Stain Remover Before Washing
Stains are a common occurence for nurses so when removing them from your uniforms, use a color-safe stain remover before washing. This will ensure effective removal of stains without affecting the scrubs’ color.
It is also practical to focus on removing the stains first before washing your scrubs altogether.
4. Do the First Wash Cycle with Cold Water and Regular Detergent
After treating stains with a color-safe stain-remover, do the first wash by using regular detergent and cold water. Turn your scrubs inside out and set the washer to regular cycle. Ensure that the load size is set to large even if the actual load size of your scrubs is small so they can have plenty of room to move around.
After the first wash, inspect your scrubs for any remaining stains before proceeding to the second wash cycle.
5. Do the Second Wash Cycle with Hot Water and Color-Safe Bleach
After completing the first wash, do the second wash by using color-safe bleach and hot water. Make sure that all stains are all gone. Otherwise, they’ll be harder to remove if you do the next step with some residual stains still on your nursing scrubs.
To begin, just add ¾ cup of color-safe bleach to your washer’s built-in bleach dispenser and set to regular washing with hot water. If your washer doesn’t have a built-in bleach dispenser, just manually mix ¾ cup color-safe bleach into the water before running the washer. This process disinfects the scrubs effectively.
6. Dry Scrubs in Highest Heat Setting for Thirty Minutes
Once you are finished with the two-wash scrubbing process, it’s now time to dry your scrubs. Run them in your drier for thirty minutes. This will thoroughly kill any remaining bacteria still present in the scrubs.
7. Don’t Skip The Hot Iron
Even if your nursing scrubs look like they were already pressed, don’t skip the hot iron. Heat-pressing doesn’t only make your scrubs look neat and tidy, it also aids in killing any remaining bacteria in your uniform.
Remember that there are lots of tough microorganisms in the healthcare setting so it is important to ensure that your scrubs are properly disinfected after washing.
8. Inspect Your Scrubs Thoroughly Before Folding
After heat-pressing, inspect your scrubs thoroughly before folding. Are there any holes or hanging loose threads? Are there any missed stains?
Make sure to do the appropriate resolutions for any problem you see in your scrubs like cutting off loose threads or sewing any small holes present. This will prevent further damage to your scrubs.
9. Wear Your Scrubs When At Work Only
Some nurses already wear their scrubs before going to work. It is recommended that you reserve your scrubs for work alone and wear it once you get to your unit’s changing room.
After your shift, place your dirty scrubs in another plastic bag before going home. By doing so, you not only follow proper infection control protocols, but you will also be following proper care for nursing scrubs.
10. Avoid Spraying Perfumes Directly To Your Scrubs
Some nurses use perfumes at work. Make sure to avoid spraying your perfume directly onto your scrubs as it can cause tough stains. Just spray on your skin or undershirt. The same thing applies for lotions. Avoid getting lotion on your scrubs to prevent unpleasant discolorations.
Do you have more tips and tricks on proper care for nursing scrubs? We’d love to hear your own scrub caring tricks so we can make our nursing scrubs last longer. Let us know in the comments!
About the Author: Je Abarra is a nurse by profession and a freelance writer by passion. She is working as a staff nurse in the pediatric ward of a private city hospital for more than two years. During her free time, she usually writes about her fascinations in health and nursing. She loves to provide tips and fun facts about nursing and healthy living.