“They aren’t that dirty…” wrong! There is NO wearing scrubs two days in-a-row without washing. Scrubs get worn and they get dirty, it is a fact of life. The average set of scrubs goes through more wear & tear and washes in their lifetime than almost any other piece of clothing. To make them last you need to take proper care of them from the start. Here are a few tips to make sure you aren’t stuck buying new scrubs every month!
1. You get what you pay for. Sure you can find $5 scrubs, but they will last as well as you would expect a $5 scrub set to last. Purchasing a higher quality scrub from the start will save you money in the long run. You don’t need to buy the $50 scrubs that are out there, but a brand like Softscrubs is a great and under $20 a set.
2. Make sure you read the label! The majority of scrubs are either 100% cotton or a 65/35 poly/cotton blend. The label should provide you with the ideal wash settings for your specific product.
a. For 100% cotton scrubs you should wash them in cold water and either line dry or tumble on the lowest setting. Even when you do this you should expect 2%-5% shrinkage. It is also a great idea to add ½ cup of vinegar to their first wash. This should help prevent future fading.
b. For the 65/35 scrubs you can wash in warm water but to be safe you may want to stick with cold. The warmer the water the quicker the color will fade. You can dry on a regular heat level but even with a blend you should expect a small amount of shrinkage, 1%-2%.
c. It is always smart to line dry or utilize the lowest heat setting the first few times you wash, to help you prevent shrinking.
3. Wash your products on a delicate cycle. You will see a significant increase in the life-span of your scrubs if you simply wash them on the delicate cycle every time.
4. No matter the material it is always a good idea to turn the scrubs inside out to help prevent fading!
5. If you are wearing whites feel free to use some bleach (make sure you follow the appropriate directions). Bleach has the added benefit of disinfecting anything that may be on the scrubs. For some nurses it makes a lot of sense to wear whites, as they can be easier to clean and disinfect. Color-safe bleaches do not have the same disinfecting power.
Unfortunately you can only do so much on your own. For some stains there will always be the need to take your scrubs to a professional cleaner. The bottom line: it is better you take care of your uniforms, the longer they last the more money you can keep in your pocket!
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