Tips for Cleaning Your Medical Scrub

Tips for Cleaning Your Medical Scrub

Most of today’s high quality medical uniforms or scrubs are made from fabrics that contain a blend of Polyester, Spandex, Rayon, CiCLO Polyester and some Spandex Twill in numerous ratios and combinations. The appeal with these fabrics in comparison with the more traditional cotton blended fabrics lie in the features and technology associated with having them exhibit various properties such as moisture wicking, breathability, lightweight, durability, 2 or 4-way stretch, softness and feel, wrinkle resistance, fade resistance, soil releasing, and most importantly for the busy professional, “easy care”.

With today’s medical professional, and their limitations on time, it is no wonder that many high- quality  scrubs are designed with these features in mind and that all start from the fabric’s selected. With all of the available modern designs to provide the wearer confidence in appearance, modern high-quality scrubs also provide flexibility and comfort with a level of professionalism all in one outfit. Like any other attire worn, there is a need for washing that will be dependent on the environment and overall use the wearer has for their high-quality scrubs.

To that end, the frequency for washing also depends on many factors, for example if a medical professional worked a 12-hour shift in the summer running around taking care of sick patients, then perhaps their scrub top would need to be laundered after their shift. If on the other hand, a medical professional uses a high-quality scrub jacket to get from their home to place of work just to hang it up for the rest of the day, then perhaps he or she can get more days of use from it. Now when it comes time for laundering your high quality scrubs, remember that washing polyester / spandex blends will require some attention so that your pieces maintain its stretchiness and overall shape.

Below are some tips for achieving your desired results in refreshing your attire while maintaining the integrity of your garments for years to come.

1) First thing is first, always read the inside label as this valuable piece of information should have the basic fabric details written onto the piece with most having washing instructions right on a tag located on the inside of the garment. A quick check of inventory at BodyMoves Scrubs Boutique identified that all products carried had this tag within the garment!

2) To wash a polyester / spandex blend, it is recommended to turn the garment inside out to protect the outside surface as some garments have accents, labels, and zippers, where you will want to prevent scratching.

3) If there are any spot stains on your polyester / spandex garment, pre-treat any stains before washing. Gently blot the stained area with a mild stain remover or liquid detergent. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing vigorously, as this can damage the fabric. Allow the pre-treatment solution to sit for a few minutes, then gently rinse with cold water.

4) If washing in a machine, separate colours to prevent color bleeding or transfer, it's crucial to separate your spandex garments by color before washing. Sort them into light and dark categories and wash them separately. This step helps maintain the vibrancy and colour of each garment, ensuring they look their best over time.

5) Choose a gentle cycle on your washing machine as this will minimizes the risk of excessive agitation that could stretch or damage the fabric.

6) Use cold water and a gentle or mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics to ensure optimal cleaning without causing any harm. Hot water can weaken the elastic fibers, leading to loss of stretch and shape retention. The cold water helps preserve the integrity of the fabric while still effectively removing dirt and stains and is also more energy-efficient.

7) Avoid Fabric Softeners and bleach as they can be harmful to polyester / spandex fabrics. Fabric softeners contain chemicals that can break down the elastic fibers over time, resulting in reduced elasticity and increased wear, and bleach can damage the material. Hint! Instead of a fabric softener, consider using a small amount of white vinegar as a natural fabric softener alternative.

8) Once the wash cycle has completed, you will notice that the garment may be only slightly damp as it does not hold that much water. To avoid excessive wrinkling, gently shake out the garment and smooth any wrinkles with your hands. Avoid folding or creasing the fabric excessively, as this can lead to permanent wrinkles. Instead, lay the garment flat on a clean towel and gently press out excess water without wringing. Reshape the garment if necessary, and allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Hanging these garments may stretch the fabric, so it is best to avoid this drying method if possible.

9) If in a hurry, and you need your garment ready to go, you can in fact put into a dryer but it must be on a cool setting and should not take that long to dry. Using a dryer on high heat can damage the fabric and cause shrinkage. Again, the preferred method is to, lay the garment flat on a clean towel and gently press out excess water without wringing. Reshape the garment if necessary, and allow it to air dry in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

10) Once dry, you should be ready to wear your garment, however some people always ask if they can iron or steam their garment to get all and every wrinkle out. Spandex / polyester blends are prone to heat damage, so ironing is not recommended as the higher temperatures can cause the fabrics to deteriorate and lose its elasticity.

If your garment requires smoothing out, you can either use a handheld steamer very sparingly to remove wrinkles without putting the garment in the line of direct heat, or some manufacturers also recommend a “cool” iron to help smooth things out. At the end of the day, following proper laundering techniques will maintain the overall look, feel and integrity of your medical scrubs for years to come.

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