How To Clean Your Scrubs At Home So They Look Like New


Scrubs play an important role for people who work at hospitals. They’ve come a long way since they were first introduced decades ago. They were called scrubs because surgeons who wore them during operations had to scrub their hands on them to remove any bacteria. While still known mostly for their practical purpose, today they’re designed to feel good, look good, and provide medical professionals with a variety of choices in colors and styles. They may seem like simple uniforms, but they represent much more. They contribute to a hospital’s reputation, which can make a difference in how the hospital is perceived by the public. They also make it easier for patients to identify nurses or other medical staff.

Here are some key cleaning tips to help keep scrubs looking new:

Consider The Fabric

The type of fabric plays a big part in how long scrubs will look new and how they’ll be washed. It’s a good idea to consider this aspect when buying scrubs.

Pure cotton is generally easy to wash. However, it also creases more often and may fade more quickly than other fabrics. Whereas polyester doesn’t stain or crease as much, and is less likely to shrink over time.

Wash Scrubs Separately From Normal Clothes

Scrubs need special treatment compared to normal clothes, so it’s important that they’re separated to ensure they get the right treatment. They can carry a lot of germs and possible viruses, too. Depending on where they’re worn, they could have a higher possibility of harboring nasty bacteria. Keeping them separate from normal clothes lessens the chance of contamination.

Pretreat Any Stains

There’s an array of different stains hospital scrubs can get throughout the day. These may include the following:

  • Blood
  • Ointment
  • Urine
  • Vomit
  • Feces
  • Sweat

The type of stain will determine whether or not it will be easier or harder to take out Some suggest that a vinegar solution will remove most stains, but it may be a good idea to use hydrogen peroxide on blood stains, or a mixture of part ammonia and part water for urine, feces, or vomit stains.

Turn Them Inside Out

Washing scrubs inside out should prevent wearing away the fabric and may help to stop the color from fading. When doing this, however, it’s important to remember these things:

  • Never add fluffy clothing or those that cause lint into washing machines as this may cause problems with pieces of fabric stick to the scrubs.
  • Check pockets to help reduce the risk of washing paper or tissues along with them.

Use Cold Wash

A cold wash will make scrubs last longer compared to a hot wash. Once it’s finished, check if the stains have successfully been removed. If not, treat the stains again and repeat the cold wash.

Once the stains are removed, some people like cold washing them once more. However, if it’s likely that the scrubs have been contaminated with a lot germs and bacteria, a warm wash may be used to help disinfect them. Keep in mind that washing them in hot water too often may lead to discoloration and, possibly, shrinking.

Don’t Overdry

Try to avoid using a tumble dryer because it can be too harsh on the fabric and may cause the scrubs to fade and shrink. Instead, hanging them on a clothes line or using a clothes horse will dry them without any damage. However, if the weather is cold or its easier and quicker to use a tumble dryer, remember not to set it on a high hear.

Only Wear Them At Work

Some people wear their scrubs to work, which might be convenient, but it could cause damage and stains that could otherwise be avoided. Wearing personal clothes to the hospital and then changing into scrubs means that they will be worn less, and there won’t be as many germs and bacteria to clean.

Hospitals do everything they can to stay as sanitized as possible, like using new technology for hand disinfectants. By not wearing scrubs to the hospital, it may decrease the chances of outside bacteria entering the space.

Also, hospitals are sterile places, and if scrubs are worn to work, there’s a chance that outside bacteria could be introduced to the space.

Iron Them To Keep Them Fresh And Crisp

Ironing may help keep scrubs looking crisp and fresh. It’ll also keep them looking professional because there won’t be creases. Using a hot iron is best in this regard. This should also help kill any germs that may have survived the hot wash and tumble drying. There are some other options that can help keep clothes straight that don’t involve an iron. These are:

  • Hanging them in the bathroom while you have a shower; the steam should work out any creases.
  • Rolling them like a yoga mat and placing them under your mattress for an hour
  • Using a hairdryer (make sure to hold the scrubs inches away from the hairdryer to avoid damage)
  • Pressing a damp towel onto the creases and them dry

Store Them Correctly

Storing freshly washed scrubs in a plastic covering, like a garment bag or plastic bag, will not only help keep potential bacteria from contaminating other clothes, but it’ll also keep them from possibly being damaged by the sun and other external factors.

Some other storage ideas you can utilize that don’t use plastic bags are:

  • Fold them in a box and wrap them in tissue paper
  • Hang them on a clothes hanger, with a small sheet over the top
  • Place them in a secure plastic tub
  • Use enclosed packing cubes


Scrubs are an important uniform for medical professionals, and they look best when they look new. There are multiple ways to help them look new for as long as possible. Removing stains and washing them properly will help keep away grime and discoloration. Steps after washing are just as important as the washing process. Remember to remove creases and store them correctly. Following these tips should help keep scrubs looking new and fresh, rather than stained and old.