Beginner's Guide: How to Wash Scrubs for the First Time

Beginner's Guide: How to Wash Scrubs for the First Time

Stepping into the medical world with your first set of trusty scrubs can be a memorable moment. Much like every 'first' encounter, it's important to handle the washing of your scrubs delicately the first time around, ensuring that they last and maintain their professional appearance. Here's your step-by-step guide to making sure those scrubs emerge from the laundry as crisp and clean as the day you bought them.

How to Wash Scrubs for The First Time Based on Fabric Types

Not all scrubs are created equal, especially when it comes to the fabric they are made from. Here's a detailed look at how to handle your first scrub wash according to the fabric:

100% Cotton

Cotton scrubs are the most common, owing to their comfortable and breathable nature. For the first wash, it's essential to set your washing machine to the delicate or gentle cycle with cold water. Cold Water helps preserve the fabric's color and prevent it from shrinking. Avoid hot water, as it may cause the cotton to shrink. Use a mild detergent, and skip the fabric softeners as they can leave a residue on the fabric. Over time, residue may reduce the scrub's absorbency—something you want to maintain, especially if you are likely to encounter a lot of fluids in a medical setting.

Polyester Blended with Cotton

Poly-cotton blends give you the best of both worlds, with the comfort of cotton and the durability of polyester. Washing these is typically less stringent than 100% cotton. Start with a warm water setting and a regular or casual cycle. Mild detergent is still best, but you can use a fabric softener to keep the scrubs soft. However, if your scrubs have any specialty features or are brand new with bright colors, consider washing with like colors to prevent any color bleed.

Polyester Blended with Rayon

Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric, and when mixed with polyester, you get scrubs that are incredibly soft and moisture-wicking. Use a regular cycle with cold water for your first load. When it comes to drying, hang them up. If you must use the tumble dryer, do it on low heat to avoid any shrinkage or damage to the fabric.

Polyester Blended with Rayon and Spandex

This combination is excellent for stretch and shape retention, particularly useful if your job involves a lot of movement and body mechanics. Use the delicate cycle with cold water. Skip the dryer and hang these up to dry for the first wash.

How to Remove Stains from Your Shirt

Your scrubs will inevitably face the brunt of the day-to-day medical environment, and with that comes a range of stains. Here's how you can tackle the common ones:

How to Remove Stains Out of Your Shirt

Reminders Before Removing The Stains

  • Always dab and never rub a stain to prevent it from setting into the fabric.
  • The quicker you treat a stain, the better your chances are of getting it out completely.
  • Always read the label on the scrub for any specific cleaning instructions.

Tips to Remove Different Stain Types


For those persistent underarm stains, pre-treat them with a mix of white vinegar and water before washing. The acidic properties of vinegar can effectively combat the alkaline nature of sweat.


For fresh bloodstains, rinse with cold water and treat with hydrogen peroxide or a paste of meat tenderizer and water. For dried stains, use cold water to soak the scrub, then gently scrub the area with a toothbrush and detergent.


Urine stains can sometimes be accompanied by an unpleasant odor. Before washing, soak the scrubs in a vinegar solution for 30 minutes, then wash as usual.

Medication Oil-Based:

Oil-based stains from medications can be a little trickier. Use a pre-treater specifically for oil-based stains or a gentle dishwashing detergent to break down the oil before washing.

Medication Ointment:

If you've gotten a medicated ointment stain, you'll want to begin by scraping off the excess before treating it with a stain remover or a mixture of liquid detergent and water to wash away the greasiness.


Vomit can leave a strong odor and stain. Begin by removing any excess, then pre-treat the area with a solution of water and oxygen bleach. This will help lift the stain and kill the odor-causing bacteria.


For the caffeine lovers who've had a close encounter with their morning cup, flush the coffee stain with cold water and treat it with a mix of detergent and white vinegar. Then launder as usual.


Ink can be one of the toughest to remove. Dab the area with rubbing alcohol and allow it to sit for a few minutes before washing it out. Be sure to test a small, hidden area of the fabric first to ensure the alcohol doesn't cause any damage.

Tips to Remove Different Stain Types


Is it better to wash scrubs with hot or cold water?

For the first wash and generally, it's better to use cold water for most stains and to prevent shrinkage. Exceptions include blood or contamination involving infectious materials, where hot water (at least 140° Fahrenheit) is recommended for sanitization purposes.

How often do you wash  medical scrubs?

Medical experts recommend washing your scrubs after every wear, especially if you're in direct contact with patients or in an area where infection control is crucial.

Do scrubs shrink when you wash them?

Cotton scrubs are prone to shrinking if they are washed in hot water or dried on high heat. Dr. Woof's scrubs made from a blend of 74% polyester, 20% rayon (Vegan Silk), and 6% spandex are the epitome of comfort and functionality for your scrubs. With simple care instructions and minimal maintenance, due to the wrinkle resistance and breathable material, our scrubs offer unparalleled convenience and will not shrink as cotton scrubs.

Learn More Tips with Dr. Woof

For more expert advice and product care tips, head over to our blog page.

Be sure to read up on our extensive collection of scrubs that cater to your individual fabric needs and unique stain-fighting strategies.

Ready to add a splash of style and function to your medical wardrobe? Visit Dr. Woof Apparel today for a wide variety of chic and sturdy scrubs designed to make your workday shine!