When it comes to the nature of nursing work, going home with a few stains here and there is part of the territory. While some of them happen by accident, we also have our own clumsiness to blame for a handful of those stains. No matter how they end up on your uniform, getting rid of them can be a challenge, but to maintain a professional appearance and to feel good about yourself, you need to keep those scrubs in pristine condition.

Before you throw any of your uniforms away, here are some of the most effective stain removal tips you can try first.

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Blood Stains

  • Never use hot water when attempting to remove blood stains. Hot water will ‘cook’ the blood and set it in the fabric which can make stain removal even harder for you. Use only cold water instead.
  • If you are dealing with a white uniform, apply bleach or even hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. Keep in mind that these cleaning agents are not recommended for use on the colored scrub suits.
  • Pour a little vinegar on the stain to help lift the blood off your uniform. If the blood has already set, you can try to soak the affected area in vinegar until the stain disappears.
  • It might seem a little repulsive, but spitting on your uniform can also help to remove blood stains. Spit contains an enzyme that helps to break down blood.
  • Lemon juice also works well on fresh blood stains. If the blood has already set in, squeeze some lemon juice on your uniform and leave it in direct sunlight. You can add a sprinkle of salt to the juice to hasten the process.

Ink Stains

  • Rubbing alcohol works wonders on fresh ballpoint pen stains. Saturate the affected area with alcohol for about 30 minutes and use a sponge or cotton ball soaked in cold water to lift it up afterward. Make sure you have another layer of cloth underneath the stained area to avoid spreading the ink to the other side.
  • Toothpaste also works wonders on ink stains. Apply to the stain and let it sit for half an hour before washing it off with cold water. Try to rub the toothpaste under running water. Best to use white toothpaste only though.
  • An unusual one, but alcohol-based hairsprays can handle ink stains too. Spray it on the stained area a couple of times or until the affected fabric is saturated with hairspray. Take a sponge soaked in cold water and dab it on the area.
  • Soak the affected area of the stained scrub suit in milk overnight and wash as normal the next day.
  • Another trick is to mix baking soda with water. Rub the mixture on the fabric until the ink stain gets removed. Baking soda and vinegar also work well for more stubborn stains.

Medication Stains

  • When dealing with oil-based medications, you can use baby powder to get rid of the grease first. Once the grease is out, it will be easier for you to wash the stain off. Another good option is to apply a small amount of detergent powder or dishwashing soap directly onto the stain first prior to washing.
  • For alcohol-based medications, simply pre-treat the stain with a good detergent and rinse with cold water.
  • In the case of ointment stains, try to scrape off any excess ointment first before sprinkling corn-starch on the area. Rub it in until the stain is completely covered. While rubbing, make sure to avoid spreading the stain. Leave the corn-starch until the grease is completely absorbed. Then brush the powder off before washing your scrub suit in cold water.

Coffee Stains

  • If you get coffee on your uniform, blot it right away with tissue paper to absorb the excess fluid. Aside from tissue paper, you can also use baby wipes. They are slightly damp and have a mild gentle soap content which can help clean your uniform.
  • Another trick is to mix 1-part vinegar with 2-parts water and use a sponge to scrub the mixture to the fabric. Wash as usual.

Vomit Stains

  • For these, you need to pre-treat your uniform prior to washing it. Spray affected area with pre-wash stain remover. If you find the smell a bit repulsive, you can rub a small amount of baking soda on the stain prior to pre-treatment.

Urine Stains

  • Strong urine can leave a stain on your uniform so make sure you address it right away.
  • In removing the stain, you can pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on it. As soon as the bubbling stops, rinse the affected part with cold water to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • You can also mix ¼ cup of baking soda in with the detergent.

General Disinfection Tips

Cleaning and washing aren’t enough when it comes to scrub suits. For safety, you need to make sure they’re disinfected before you put them on for your next shift.

Here are a few important things you can try:

  • When washing your scrub suits, separate them from your regular clothes or from the clothes of the rest of your family members. This way, you can avoid spreading any microorganisms you might be carrying from the hospital.
  • To prevent wear and tear, reserve your scrub suit for work alone. Change into them only when you’re in your place of work and make sure to change first before running any extra errands after your shift.
  • Treat any stains before throwing your uniform into your washer.
  • As far as possible, run your scrubs through two wash cycles. Turn them inside out for the first wash and run a second wash cycle as how you’d normally wash them. Some machines have a medic wash cycle which will also do the trick.
  • Press your scrubs using a very hot iron. Aside from helping you maintain a well-kept appearance, it also helps to kill germs.
  • Avoid using hot water on your scrub suits. It will not only set several types of stain on the fabrics, but it can also decrease the life of your uniforms.
  • Add a disinfecting agent when washing. For white scrub suits, you can use chlorine bleach. When dealing with colored uniforms, use a phenolic disinfectant instead.

How do you remove stains from your scrubs? Are there any tricks you can add to the list?

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