Some days it might feel like you spend half your life in your scrubs, so it’s only fair that they get A-grade treatment in the wash! If you work in a medical environment, there are so many opportunities during a shift for your uniform to get stained. It’s important to care for them properly when this happens, to ensure you are getting the most use possible out of them.
We’ve put together a handy guide below on the best way to remove stains from your scrubs:
The earlier you address the stain the better chance you have of removing it.
If you’re not sure, use cold water instead of hot for blotting and soaking (unless you’re dealing with iodine stains).
Pre-treating your scrubs with detergent can lift most stains.
How to remove…
Blood – Treat as quickly as possible for best results, and ALWAYS use cold water. There are a few different things you can use to treat blood stains, but hydrogen peroxide has the best results. You can also soak the stain in bath soap, dishwashing liquid, or vinegar before it in through the wash as normal. For dried blood stains, soak overnight in water with detergent then gently rub in soap and water.
Oil-based medications – To absorb the grease, baby/talcum powder works the best. Pouring detergent on the stain and letting it sit for 10 minutes before putting it through the wash is also effective.
Alcohol-based medications – This one is slightly easier, and just needs to be treated with detergent and cold water before being put in the washing machine.
Faeces – Here’s something you probably didn’t know – letting faecal stained scrubs lie in the sun before putting them through the wash is your best remedy for removal. Who would have thought!
Iodine – We know we’ve said to soak stains in cold water, but for this one, you’ll need to soak in warm water and detergent for 20 minutes, before throwing it in the wash with an oxygen-based bleach.
Vomit – This is an easy one – simply rinse out the vomit, pre-treat with detergent and then wash in warm water for best results.
General stain removal solvents:
Not all stains come from these things though (coffee, lunch, we’re looking at you!) so we’ve got a list of general stain-removing solvents:
Water – the first line of defence for stain removal.
Vinegar – natural and effective stain remover. Use sparingly on wool or synthetics.
Hydrogen peroxide – perfect for blood and rust stains. It has a bleach effect without the destructive colour change.
Detergent/stain remover – use these to scrub the stain before putting through the wash.
Rubbing alcohol – good for inks, dyes and chemical-based stains.
Dish soap – mixed with water, this is great on grease and condiments.
Mineral spirits/acetone – necessary to remove paint stains but can be harsh on synthetics.
Bleach - effective but harsh. This is the last resort for stains removal on whites. Make sure that fabric doesn’t react with bleaching agent by testing a concealed portion for colourfastness i.e. underside of hem.
When working around all sorts of chemicals and fluids, the list of things that can be spilt on you is never-ending. Taking care of your scrubs and removing stains as soon as possible is something you can do to best look after your scrubs. And when in doubt, always read and follow the care instructions on the label!