Your scrubs - how to avoid bringing bugs into the car & house?

Students CNA/MA

Published

Hey everyone,

Is there a good/safe way to get your scrubs off after you've been at work? I know there's a specific way to remove your PPE... since I've done my clinicals and am now looking forward to work, I am acutely aware of the germs that I can bring home with me on my scrubs and on my shoes. Infection control, IMO, shouldn't end when you clock off. In class, though, we haven't learned about infection control beyond the practical setting.

I am thinking about setting up a laundry bag at the front door and some hand sanitizer, and just take it all off the moment I come inside (I really don't want to track anything into my house). My scrub top is the non-button kind. How can you get it off without rubbing the front of your blouse all in your face and hair? My training tells me it must involve perhaps removing an arm and rolling that side of the shirt over the shoulder, then lifting it over your head to the side, then rolling it down the other arm, but I really have no idea.

As for my shoes, I can keep a small tray and a small bottle of bleach in the corner by the door, to kill whatever's hanging onto the soles, but maybe just a wipedown with a couple of Clorox wipes would do the trick?

As a sidenote, I am also wondering if anyone worries about periodically wiping down the inside of the car. We all learn to wipe down our personal equipment with alcohol prep pads, so again, while I'm still in my scrubs, infection control should be in play. Do you agree?

I would think that many pathogens would die while baking in the summer heat while the car's in the parking lot. But some bugs like A/H1N1 seem to thrive in heat, so that would not work. I may keep some Clorox wipes in the car as well. Only thing is, my seats and steering wheel are leather, but I'm thinking that a light solution of bleach/water wouldn't hurt it?

I'm not being paranoid am I? :lol2:

Specializes in 6 yrs LTC, 1 yr MedSurg, Wound Care.

Bring a change of clothes with you to work and change before you leave. Put your scrubs in a grocery bag and put them straight into the washer when you come home.

I was told in class to turn your scrubs inside out when you take them off to keep the most contaminated part contained.

Dondie

GPdreams

8 Posts

I've always wondered about this as well. I don't really want to wear my scrubs home, but I don't want to change into new clothes without showering. Contaminate my car or contaminate my clothes and have to change when I get home. I don't know. :-\

Girl Scout

165 Posts

I've always wondered about this as well. I don't really want to wear my scrubs home, but I don't want to change into new clothes without showering. Contaminate my car or contaminate my clothes and have to change when I get home. I don't know. :-\

Yeah, because if you change before you leave work, you still have to toss those clothes, plus the scrubs, in the hamper when you get home, and clean both pair of shoes.

I'll be asking my instructor about this tomorrow, if I can remember. We learned about taking off gowns but not about how to remove your scrubs and what you should be aware of possibly bringing home from work.

BabyLady, BSN, RN

2,300 Posts

Specializes in NICU, Post-partum.

Personally, I wouldn't over-analyze this.

This is what I do:

1. I have a plastic bucket that I keep outside on my porch...my shoes go in it and I bring them in and set them in the bathroom so I don't walk on my carpet in my house.

2. My kids don't touch me until I change clothes....hugs are saved for later.

3. I take off my scrubs in the bathroom and drop them in the bathtub. I put on my bathrobe, pick up the scrubs, hold them away from me, and in the washer they go.

4. I then wash my hands....then hug the kiddies and go about my day.

I refuse to buy those expensive wipes of any kind, for any household chore.

I wouldn't be concerned about the car.

Purple_Scrubs, BSN, RN

1 Article; 1,978 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing.

If you are worried about the car, you could buy some car sear covers that are easily removed and washed, or even throw a large sheet/blanket over your seat when you are coming from work, then throw it in the wash with your scrubs.

There are thousands of nurses who do not take those precautions, however, and I would venture to say that the vast majority do just fine. If it makes you feel better, go for it! I am sitting here at my desk surrounded by hand sanitizer, lysol AND clorox wipes, so I have zero room to talk! :)

fuzzywuzzy, CNA

1,816 Posts

Specializes in LTC.

I assume you're probably fairly young and reasonably healthy, in which case a little germs are not going to kill you. Do you wear a biohazard suit to the grocery store or to go shoe-shopping or pump gas? Because you're probably picking up just as many germs in those places as you are at work. What happens when someone who was on droplet precautions for VRE at your facility goes home? They're not wearing a mask everywhere. Same goes for people with C-diff or anything else. How many times have you been in a public bathroom and seen someone "wash their hands" by sticking their fingertips under the water for all of 3 seconds before walking out (like that's supposed to do anything)? You yourself might have MRSA colonized in your nose. At least at work, they provide PPE for known cases of things like this, and people wash their hands properly and frequently.

Not saying we should all be totally careless about it but don't worry yourself to death either!

azcna

232 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Rehab, CCU, Alzheimers, Med-Surg.

Honestly, I don't worry about it all that much. Germs scare people, but germs are everywhere! You shouldn't hang out all day in your dirty scrubs, but don't be too paranoid about the germs. I just take mine off when I get home and put them in their own laundry hamper. That way all the germs can live together in a nice little bundle :) As for my shoes, I keep them by the front door. I clean them every so often, but I don't make a big deal out of it.

A lot of people shower right after they get home, that is probably all you need to do. As long as you wash your hands obsessive compulsively you should be ok.

Girl Scout

165 Posts

Thanks guys! I feel more educated on this issue now. I didn't get a chance to ask my instructor today because we were in exams, then in lectures, all day. I'm not feeling too paranoid about it, but I wanted to be sure to undertake the reasonable infection control.

I think what I'll probably do is just take a spare 5 gallon bucket I've got, and keep it in the front of the house, and that way I don't have to bring the dirty scrubs in through the house all the time. I can use the bucket if I feel like it, and otherwise just get rid of the scrubs in the bathroom before I jump in the shower, which is the normal routine now.

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