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Washing Scrubs


Has 10 years experience.

I'm curious to see if anyone has, or knows of, any research out there on safe practices for washing scrubs at home. I've read through posts here on allnurses of what people do and think should be done, but I'd love to see some research data if there is any out there.

I'm tired of going through scrubs so fast because I wash them in hot water if it really doesn't make a difference (i.e. mechanical washing and hot dryer kill of organisms anyway), but I don't want to be the fool who spreads nosocomial infections to my patients, or infect my family.

Thanks! :)

JBudd, MSN

Specializes in Trauma, Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

I don't have any research, but I'd stick with the hot water as well as the mechanical washing & hot dryer. Why take chances? I think it gets my stains out better too.

The hot water in a washing machine is not hot even to sanitize clothing, not even close. Supposedly from a clothing side of things warm water is supposed to set it protein based stains like blood.

Until recently there were issues with detergents in that the surfactants used actually did work better in warm water. There have been some major changes in detergents in the last couple of years changing that.

Keep in mind that the CDC states that there is no evidence for warm or hot water having an impact on handwashing and that warm water is associated with skin damage. The CDC recommend washing according to the manufacturer's guidelines but do recommend using a hot dryer to dry the clothes.

Reference to washing clothes can be found here CDC - MRSA and the Workplace - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic