how to disinfect scrubs

How to Disinfect Scrubs

If you’ve ever gotten disapproving or downright nasty looks while you’re out in scrubs in public, you are not alone. And the public actually has reason to be wary of your inside-the-hospital-with-tons-of-sick-people attire.

Scrubs and medical wear not only are a glaring reminder that infectious diseases lurk around, but they also carry a prime potential for actually spreading these infections. Scrubs, lab coats, and other medical apparel are a hotbed for pathogenic microorganisms – some of which are drug-resistant – and could pose an actual threat to the public.

The worst part? Many in the profession do not know how to disinfect scrubs – and worse, many have admitted to re-wearing dirty, unwashed scrubs to their next shift. Yikes!

We’re talking here about Enterococci, Staphylococci and Clostridium difficile: a whole host of organisms that pose a serious threat, especially to the immune-compromised members of the public.

The threats are not isolated to used scrubs worn in public. Dirty scrubs are even more dangerous to the already-sick patients in the hospital that may come into contact with whatever nasty bugs have made their colony on the scrubs!

That is why every nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional who takes their work apparel home must know how to disinfect scrubs, not only for the safety of the wearer but more importantly to protect the general public against these harmful pathogens!

How to Disinfect Scrubs

When it comes to sanitizing scrubs, these are the absolute essentials that every scrub wearer must know to do:

Isolate the used scrubs. Ideally, you should never leave the hospital or medical facility premises in your scrubs. You must wear a clean set of clothes and the used scrubs should be placed in a sealed plastic bag (i.e. a freezer bag) to avoid contact with other people or objects. This is an essential step if your scrubs have been soiled with blood, feces, or other contagious items. Store in a sealed container to avoid leaks. At home, place the dirty scrubs in their own hamper and separate from the rest of your laundry load.

Wash separately. Never wash your used scrubs with your other clothing to avoid cross-contamination.

Check scrubs for stains. Healthcare work is demanding and fast-paced and it is not uncommon for them to be stained without even knowing. Do a thorough check on every part of the clothing. Identify stains if possible and spot-treat before starting laundry cycle.

Use cold water for removing stains. Blood stains are especially tricky when it comes to water temperature. If the water is too hot, the stain will set. Always start with cold wash to remove visible stains but do remember to wash in hot water (if fabric allows for it) for added antibacterial removal. For white scrubs/garments, a bleach-based disinfectant is more preferable since oxygen bleach does not effectively remove bacteria and germs as well as the bleach-based ones. For colored scrubs, pine oil is a highly-recommended color-safe disinfectant.

Do not crowd the washer. Many professionals, for reasons of water- and energy-use conservation, wait to wash their scrubs together at the end of the week. Should you opt to do this, make sure that the washer is not overcrowded as there must be enough space inside the washing machine to agitate the water for the detergents to work and effectively clean the garments.

Machine-dry the garments. Although the maximum temperature of most hot dryers is not as effective in bacteria eradication as a laboratory autoclave, it is enough to get rid of some bacteria residue that has not been removed by washing.

Store your clean scrubs properly.  Try not to wear them anywhere outside of the hospital to avoid dragging pathogens from public spaces into the medical facility.

The Better Way to Disinfect Scrubs           

Unfortunately, knowing how to disinfect scrubs at home does not exactly measure up to the effectiveness and convenience plus the peace of mind of the professional medical garment laundry process! With a professional laundry, you will never have to worry about having to travel with soiled scrubs, sanitizing your washing machine after every wash load of scrubs, or how safe and sanitary your medical uniforms are.

In the hands of professional laundry service providers, your scrubs will be picked up from the facility in appropriately labeled and sealed bags, safe from exposure to other garments and people, and washed in an industrial facility and processed in a manner that meets the highest standards set for medical apparel.

And they are delivered clean, safe, and ready to use for the next round of demanding shifts. In short, with a professional medical laundry service provider, the safety of your garments is no longer a guessing game. You know what you are getting – every single time.

The Ideal Linen and Uniform Difference

Get this kind of assurance only from Ideal Linen and Uniform! Ideal Linen and Uniform has over 100 years of experience specializing in the professional care of medical linens and garments. Our facilities are equipped with top-of-the-line technology to bring you the cleanest results in your most critical items.

We can take care of your scrubs so your personnel do not have to! Call us today at 800-658-4047 to get started or schedule a plant tour.

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