The COVID-19 pandemic has given just about everyone on Earth a newfound appreciation for two things: healthcare workers and disinfectant. Together, these have been the true heroes for the past year and a half, keeping thousands of people safe from the worst of this new coronavirus.
Of course, if you are a healthcare worker, you likely appreciate keeping clean and staying healthy more than anyone else right now.
Whether you’re a nurse, phlebotomist, dental hygienist, or any other healthcare professional, germs are an everyday factor you face while on the job. Those germs were always an occupational hazard, one you dealt with through careful measures. However, in the midst of COVID-19, it’s become even clearer that sanitizing yourself, your equipment, and your scrubs is critically important for your safety and the wellbeing of those you come into contact with outside of work.
Even as we see a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, it’s likely that precautionary measures around sanitization will stick around, especially in the hypervigilant healthcare industry. So, how can you make sure your work scrubs are always clean and sanitized? Here are a few simple tips.
DO: Separate Your Scrubs
After a long day at work, it might be tempting to simply take off your scrubs and toss them into the hamper with all your other clothes. After all, it’s all going to get washed, right?
The clothes you wear to the grocery store or to pick up food are nowhere near as dirty as your work scrubs. Unless you plan to sanitize everything, you don’t want those scrubs contaminating your street clothes. Get a second hamper specifically for your scrubs, and make sure you always wash them separately from your other laundry.
DON’T: Wear Your Scrubs Everywhere
In the same way that you don’t want your scrubs contaminating your laundry, you also don’t want them contaminating other things like the interior of your car or the people and places you encounter when you’re off the clock.
Avoid putting on your scrubs until you get to work, and make sure to change out of them and store them in a plastic bag (or a duffel you plan on sanitizing) before you leave. Even if you’re simply taking a lunch break, it’s best to switch back into your street clothes until it’s time to resume your shift.
DO: Use Disinfectant
Washing your scrubs is a lot like washing your street clothes in the washing machine. However, sanitizing scrubs requires one extra step: disinfectant.
If you’re washing white scrubs, a chlorine bleach solution will help kill off any bacteria lurking in the fibers. For colorful scrubs, simply add a color-friendly, non-bleach disinfectant to your warm water and run the wash cycle.
You can also use the “Sanitize” setting on your washing machine for an additional level of cleaning protection. If your washer doesn’t have this setting, don’t worry—adding a heavy-duty disinfectant to your wash will be enough to keep your scrubs germ free. However, if you’re in the market for a new washer and dryer, finding one with a “Sanitize” setting might make your life a little easier.
DON’T: Forget to Treat Stains
While washing your scrubs with disinfectant and warm water will kill off the germs you encounter at work each day, it doesn’t always help you deal with stains that can come along with your job (or with simply being human). In fact, warm water can set stains more quickly, resulting in clean yet sloppy-looking scrubs.
To avoid this issue, properly treat any stains before washing your scrubs. You can use anything you want: a stain remover pen, liquid detergent, or even just cold water. But whatever you do, make sure the stain is carefully treated before sticking your scrubs into the washing machine. This will help ensure that your scrubs look nice and clean in addition to being sanitized.
DO: Buy Quality Scrubs
With all this sanitizing, treating, and washing, it should be no surprise that your scrubs can show signs of wear quickly. However, there is one easy way to avoid this: buy high-quality scrubs. Investing in durable scrubs made from premium materials will help you maintain a professional look even after multiple washes.
Quality scrubs last longer, which can save you money in the long run. But perhaps more importantly, well-made scrubs are less likely to suffer wear and tear, which means you’ll have better protection against bacteria, viruses, and other germs while you’re on the job. Plus, you’ll be able to sanitize your scrubs daily without worrying how they’ll hold up.
Now more than ever, it is necessary to sanitize your scrubs after every shift. Using our tips (and having the right scrubs and apparel), you’ll be able to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safer.