How to properly wash & disinfect scrubs??!

  1. So I have come into contact with many sick patients lately. Contact & droplet precautions, and just coming into too many bodily fluids for my liking when I am not gowned.

    How can I properly disinfect my scrubs? I usually do cold water because the hot water will eventually break down the material, and put them in the dryer for the heat to kill any germs. What should I add in the wash? Peroxide, vinegar? Can't use bleach on colored scrubs
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   loriangel14
    I use Tide. You don't need anything special.
  4. by   nurse2033
    Actually it is the dryer that is your friend. High (130 degrees) will kill germs (and dust mites BTW). Remember that the solution to pollution is dilution. The wash removes dirt from your clothes and it drains away with the water. The rinse cycle doubles the effect. I'm not saying your clothes are sterile when you are done, but the vast majority of the germs you might have had on your clothes are gone. I always remove blood stains with peroxide right away though.
  5. by   haunani
    Who told you you can't use bleach on colored scrubs? Of course you can! You just use a smaller amount. When I wash mine during cold/flu season (I work postpartum, so not as much "ick" exposure as a medical floor), I add about 1/8 cup of bleach to the dispenser on my washer. No damage at all to any of my colored/patterned scrubs.
  6. by   sallyrnrrt
    i use oxyclean detergent
    Last edit by sallyrnrrt on Jan 2, '15 : Reason: too early to be posting
  7. by   emillie
    I basically take off my work clothes in the doorway, separate them from other attire in the wash, and dry them on the sanitize function on my dryer. I want to say it's 130º that gets about all of the ickies off. Boyfriend and I recently invested in an amazing washer/dryer combo by Samsung and I'm loving all the functions of them.

    Good luck, stay clean!
  8. by   ponymom
    I washed mine in Pine-Sol and dried them on sanitize cycle. I Cavi wiped and Lysoled my shoes.
  9. by   Ozzy84
    Bleach ?
  10. by   steven007
    I am surprised with some of the comments.
    This is a topic I am very passionate about, and have considered studying further (currently doing Graduate work in clinical infectious diseases)
    I personally use 1/2 cup pine sol with laundry detergent and colour safe bleach. There's a plethora of studies on how filthy and bacteria ridden your clothes are after washing AND drying.
    In fact, there are even a couple of news reports on this!
    A study in the UK found that there is, on average, about 0.1 g of fecal matter on every item of clothes after it has been washed. And that was studying the average household, I imagine this would be augmented in health care workers who are exposed to much more fecal matter on a daily basis.
    And really, use common sense. In the hospital, to disinfect and sanitize materials, they need to be autocalved. Autoclaves reach temperatures of 121 degrees celsius, with humidity and pressure!!!
    The average dryer reaches temps of around 50 - 100 C (depending on how expensive, new and "high tech" your dryer is), which is generally insufficient to kill spores (mind you, new dryers and washers are now having options for steam clean and "sanatize" which would be sufficient to denature spores).
    So no, "Tide" is not enough to clean your scrubs. And I am really surprised at the ignorance of some of these fellow health care workers. No wonder hospital acquired infections are so prevalent in our society today!
  11. by   Ozzy84
    Never know that pine sol uses for laundry. Sounds weird.
  12. by   steven007
    Yeah, it sounded weird to me at first too!
    But it turns out MRSA and VRE are sensitive to it,.which are the bacteria that concern me the most. It's also cheap and readily available. It's good for stains totoo!
  13. by   Ozzy84
    That's true. Very cheap
  14. by   LittleTwinStars
    Pine oil is a phenolic disinfectant! The traditional Pine-Sol, along with those huge green bottles of Pinalene, are the ones that really contain pine oil. The pure pine oil gets expensive, and I'm not sure how much to use, so I just get pine cleanser.

    I've also been using Dettol liquid. The classic tan stuff is added to the regular wash, and the green benzalkonium chloride stuff is added to the final rinse.

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