As a nurse, you come into contact with all kinds of germs over the course of a single day — and so do your nursing uniforms. We’re sharing how to keep your nurses uniforms clean for your own safety as well as the well-being of your patients, coworkers and loved ones.
General Care Techniques for Nursing Uniforms
Keep your nurses uniforms clean and disinfected with the following care techniques:
Pretreat your nurses uniforms
Prior to your first wear, you’ll want to wash your new nursing uniforms separately from your other washing in cold water. Adding a cup of vinegar to the wash helps prevent colour fading, and it helps to extend the life of the nurses uniforms, as well. Vinegar treatments make nursing uniforms more durable and better able to withstand exposure to common medical disinfectants.
Treat and disinfect
To remove stains and disinfect your nurses uniforms, first wash your nurses uniforms in cold water with regular detergent. It’s best to set the load size to the maximum setting to allow your scrubs plenty of movement for a deeper clean. Check them for any remaining stains once the first wash is complete, and wash them again if needed.
Hot water is often recommended, but most leading detergents kill 99% of bacteria when used with warm water instead. Hot water has a tendency to set stains, and it’s harder on uniform fabrics in general.
Wash your nursing uniforms inside-out
One of the best ways to help your nursing uniforms last is by washing them inside-out after the first wash. Doing so protects the outer uniform fabric and prevents fading.
Dry your nurses uniforms on the lowest tumble dry setting of your dryer or let them line dry to help prevent shrinking and fading.
Use bleach sparingly
Avoid using bleach on monogrammed nurses uniforms, as the bleach can cause the monogramming to fade. Bleach is also known to turn plastic buttons yellow, so avoid using it on your lab coats and buttoned jackets.
Soften your nurses uniforms
Adding 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to the wash can actually soften your scrubs in place on traditional fabric softeners.
Handle soiled nursing uniforms with care
Obviously, soiled nursing uniforms can contain all kinds of bacterial and viral infections that no one wants to be exposed to. Protect yourself and your family members by keeping these scrubs separate from all other garments and washing them apart from other scrubs. It’s also a good idea to wear disposable gloves when handling soiled scrubs, and make sure you carry the washing as far away from your face as possible.
Only wear your nurses uniforms at work
Nurses uniforms are probably the last thing you want to wear on your time off, but saving your nursing uniforms exclusively for your job goes beyond your sense of style.
You want to protect your nursing uniforms from contaminants, and that means bringing them with you to your job site in airtight bags and then changing into them as you start your shift. Similarly, always take off your nurses uniforms as soon as possible after your shift to further protect your own health.