How To Make Scrubs Soft? Things You Should Know

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
22 min read

Scrubs are medical apparel that must be comfortable to be used effectively. While wearing scrubs that have faded, they can feel stiff and uncomfortable. If your job requires you to wear scrubs on a regular basis, you’ll want to learn how to make them softer so you can work more comfortably.

Stains, dirt, grime, and bacteria can all be found on medical scrubs. It’s just as crucial to know how to disinfect and soften scrubs in order to stay healthy. Please continue reading if you are interested in learning more about softening scrubs.

How to Wash Cotton Medical Scrubs and Make Them Soft Again

Wash with Cold Water

Most medical scrubs are composed of 100% cotton, even though this is a typical occurrence. They also perform well in frigid conditions. This implies that when washed in cold water, they are very easy to clean.

How To Make Scrubs Soft: Cleaning Tips | Clean Sweep Supply

Flip it inside and out to minimize further abrasions on the exterior and to reduce the fading. Once you’ve finished washing it, be sure to dry it on the lowest heat setting possible. Using the lowest dryer setting to dry 100% cotton medical scrubs avoids further wrinkles and fading.

Adding Vinegar

Another method of disinfecting without the use of commercial scented softeners that contain harsh chemicals is to wash 100% cotton scrubs with distilled vinegar. Vinegar can be added to the water you use to wash off your suit in order to do this. A vinegar solution is a great approach to learn how to soften scrubs.

Commercial cleaners aren’t necessary in these simple methods for softening hospital scrubs.

Disinfecting Scrubs

Various viruses and bacteria can infect medical scrubs. For the most part, they can adapt to a variety of conditions and environments. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to catching these infections for the people who live in your house, even if it seems unlikely. This is due to the fact that the scrubs are completely safe to use after they have been rinsed and disinfected.

When it comes to disinfecting white scrubs, adding chlorine bleach to the wash is a standard practice. Directly pouring chlorine bleach into the washing machine while wearing scrubs is not recommended since it could damage your scrubs. Diluting it with water before pouring it into the washing machine is recommended.

For the uninitiated, Oxygen-based bleach has not been proven to be a disinfectant, especially when used in the daily laundry process.

For colored scrubs, use a pine-oil based disinfectant diluted in warm or hot water to be more effective and efficient at disinfecting. Fortunately, your local store has a wide selection of pine-soil based products.

As long as you follow a simple washing method, your family will be protected from these hazardous bacteria and disease-carrying agents. The secret to eliminating any viruses hiding in your scrub suit is to know how to make them soft while sanitizing them.

Removing Stains on Your Scrubs

Scrubbing up on stain removal is just as important as learning how to soften scrubs. Stains are a fact of life, especially if you’re a police officer. Different stains require different methods of treatment in order to get the best results.

Liquid Medications

The dye in liquid medication is one of the primary sources of stains. Oxygen-bleach and cool water are the best ways to remove stains caused by liquid drugs. Make sure your scrub is completely submerged in this liquid before using it. The more time it takes, the better the results. This is a safe and efficient way to get the job done.


This is a regular issue for those who wear scrubs. It’s a good thing that this method is so easy to implement. Allow your scrubs to soak in cold water for a few hours. Apply a heavy-duty detergent to the stain and let it stay for around five to ten minutes before rinsing it off. Run cold water through the stained area while rinsing.


Ointment stains are notoriously difficult to remove because of their tenacity. The problem can be solved by soaking your scrub suit for a few hours in warm or hot water. Brush the soiled area and then let the detergent do its thing. Rinse it off after letting it sit for around ten minutes.

Feces, Urine, and Vomit

The cold water soaking procedure is the only way to remove protein stains. Use an unused, dull-edged spoon or knife that is no longer in use to remove any solid materials from the stain. After flushing it out, wait for the stain to go away over time. The discoloration will spread if you apply pressure to it, so don’t do that.

Best Overall: Dagacci Medical Uniform Top and Pants Scrubs Set


  • Many sizes to choose from
  • Affordable
  • Pockets of various sizes are available.


  • Finding the appropriate size can be difficult due to the use of Unisex sizing.
  • It’s possible that a loose fit will make you look bigger than you really are

Scrubs, like any other type of apparel, require a precise fit to be effective. However, you don’t want to pay too much for an exact fit. With an elasticized waistband and many pockets on both the shirt and pants, these Dagacci scrubs are perfect for working in the heat or humidity. Healthcare personnel can choose from a variety of colors and sizes, from x-small to 5X-large.

Blend of Polyester and Cotton: 100% Polyester

Standard V-neck style with a relaxed fit that’s suitable for both men and women.

Tumble drying is recommended for washing.

Best Budget: Just Love Women’s Scrub Sets Six Pocket Medical Scrubs


  • Waistband with a drawstring
  • In a variety of hues
  • Blended fabric that is soft and breathable.


  • When compared to other brands, Fabric is less durable.
  • It’s oversized and baggy.

Scrubs might be costly depending on where you buy them from. When tops and bottoms must be purchased separately, the price increases higher. Fortunately, Just Love sells scrub sets in so many hues that you’ll want to stock up on more than one pair.

Cotton and polyester make up 55% of the total.

Comfortable, classic v-neck T-shirt fit

Machine wash and tumble dry are the recommended methods of cleaning.

As a rule of thumb, I pay $15 to $18 for a blouse and $20 to $22 for a pair of pants. The low-cost scrubs tend to rip at the seams and absorb liquids more quickly, whereas the high-end scrubs are more fluid-resistant and contain antimicrobial characteristics, but they can’t stand up to hot water and high heat drying. — Southern California nurse Sarah Patterson, LVN

Best With Pockets: Dickies Women’s GenFlex Cargo Scrubs Pant


  • Pockets in the front, back, and cargo
  • Soft, elastic fabric
  • Fastening at the waist


  • Low-rise waists are not suited for physically demanding tasks.
  • Dust and lint are drawn to the material.

Healthcare workers who require a little extra storage during their shifts love these pocketed pants.

VCUHealth System Registered Nurse Danielle Pobre said, “Pockets, pockets, pockets.” This is the only thing that’s left,” he said. As nurses, we often carry things like saline flushes, alcohol pads, and more in our pockets. We need to have immediate access to these goods, rather than having to return and forth between the supply room and the production area.”

There are nine pockets on Dickies GenFlex Cargo Scrubs for healthcare personnel to use during their shifts. With a low-rise, drawstring waist and a stretchy polyester-Spandex blend, these pants will keep you comfortable all day long.

A mix of cotton and polyester with a 3% spandex content

A modern straight-leg fit.

Washing Instructions: Machine wash separately in cold water; tumble dry low.

Best for Plus Size: WonderWink Women’s Plus-Size Wonderwork Pull-On Cargo Scrub Pant


  • Expanded dimensions
  • Stretchy and flattering.
  • Waistband provides full coverage at the hips.


  • Inches away from the pack

Scrubs tend to be square and rigid, but there are a number of adjustable choices available. Plus-size scrubs from WonderWink are designed to enhance rather than conceal your shape. A selection of vibrant colors and petite and tall sizes are available in the line’s assortment. Anything that doesn’t celebrate your curves isn’t worth your time.

Polypropylene (65%) and cotton (35%).

Straight-leg pant with a classic women’s fit is included.

Washing Instructions: Machine wash separately in cold water; tumble dry low.

Best During Pregnancy: Cherokee Maternity Mock Wrap Scrubs Shirt


  • Breathable
  • An adjustable drawstring top that can be worn through all three trimesters.
  • Side panels with knitted edging


  • The chest area is a little snug.
  • Stiff or hefty fabrics are both possible.

It can be difficult to navigate a hospital for 12 hours at a time. Imagine doing it with a baby on the way. To get through a long day at the office, you’ll need scrubs that aren’t too heavy to wear.

Taylor Russell, a VCUHealth System Registered Nurse, was recently pregnant and ended up wearing Cherokee maternity scrubs. Because of the flexible band that covered my stomach, I found the scrubs to be really comfortable. To accommodate my growing size, the top’s drawstring tied around the waist, but it still included all the compartments necessary for nurses to keep all the equipment they need on hand.

Pregnant women who need a little additional stretch while on the job will love Cherokee Women’s Maternity Mock Wrap Scrub Tops. Despite the fact that they are lightweight and breathable, they provide ample protection to keep your tummy safe throughout the day.

Polypropylene (65%) and cotton (35%).

Fitting: Empire Waist

Washing Instructions: Machine wash separately in cold water; tumble dry low.

Best for Men: Cherokee Men’s Cargo Scrubs Pant


  • Fastening at the waist
  • Fly with a concealed zipper.
  • Carry-on pockets


  • The inseam is long
  • Fits better with a little more padding.

Comfort is the most important consideration for many men, and these Cherokee cargo scrub pants deliver. It’s important to dry these items at a low temperature to prevent any shrinkage.

Comfort and flexibility are two things I look for while shopping for scrubs,” CVS Pharmacy Lead Technician Will Vanags explains. Solid colors that match my neutral footwear are likewise a no-brainer for me.”

Polypropylene (65%) and cotton (35%).

Straight leg, natural rise

Tumble drying at low temperature is recommended for washing.

Quality is significantly more essential to me than price when it comes to scrub tops because we have a bespoke thread logo sewn onto every one of them. It doesn’t make financial sense to buy cheaper scrub tops if I have to spend more money customizing them later on. There’s a dentist in South Jersey named Kathryn Hively.

Reversible Cargo Scrub Pants & Scrub Uniforms

Best Yoga-Style: ScrubStar Women’s Premium Collection Flexible Drawstring Scrub Pants


  • Soft, breathable fabric
  • Pants with vents on the legs
  • Breathable and cozy


  • Runs the show

ScrubStar’s soft yoga-style scrubs are so comfortable that you’ll never want to take them off during your shift. In addition to the elastic waist and drawstring tie, ScrubStar’s pants have a fashionable and eye-catching appearance thanks to their increased stitching and unique design features.

We walk, bend, and run a lot at work,” VCUHealth System Registered Nurse Jawharah Tomawis remarked. In other words, “comfort all the way” like these scrubs.

Spandex is 3% of the total weight of the material.

Fit: Straight-leg

Machine wash in cold water, tumble dry on low heat.

Most Comfortable: HeartSoul Break On Through Scrub Jogger Pant


  • In the style of sweatpants
  • Petite and tall sizes are available in larger sizes
  • Knitted waistband


  • Get out there and go for it.

Is there anyone who doesn’t want to wear scrubs that feel like sweatpants? That’s exactly what you’d receive with the HeartSoul jogger pant scrubs. They include a drawstring and a contemporary, low-rise silhouette that will suit you well.

Richmond-based Pharmacist Donny Preval explained that he prefers contemporary jogger scrubs because he likes his scrubs to be loose.

Textile content: 95% Polyester, 5% Spandex

Sizing and Fit: Joggers with a low rise

Machine wash in cold water, tumble dry on low heat.

Most Stylish: FIGS Women’s YOLA Tall Skinny Scrub Pants


  • The pants include 11 pockets.
  • Stylish
  • An elastic waistband with a drawstring.


  • On the pricey side

It may seem tough to make scrubs fashionable, but it’s all about the fit. Do not waste time on something baggy if you want to make a statement with your set. You’ll want more than one pair of FIGS’ fitted skinny-leg pants as soon as you see them. These pants not only look great, but they’re also wrinkle-resistant, liquid-resistant, and lightweight, so you’ll be ready for anything at the hospital.

72 percent Polyester, 21 percent Rayon, and 7 percent Spandex make up the majority of the fabric.

Leg style: straight and slender

Machine wash in cold water, tumble dry on low heat.

When shopping for scrubs, don’t prioritize style over utility; you’ll be wearing them all day, so they should be as comfortable as they are functional. Scrubs that look well, fit well, and have lots of pockets make it easier to get things done around the office. When looking for a pair, look for a combination of materials that is both stretchy and breathable, as well as easy to clean and comfortable to wear.

It’s never a bad idea to have many sets of scrubs on hand. In the end, the Dagacci Scrubs Medical Uniform or the WonderWink Plus Size Bravo Scrubs are the finest options if comfort and perfect size is what you’re looking for.

What to Look for in Scrubs


To be a healthcare practitioner, dealing with bodily fluids is a regular occurrence. You need scrubs that can withstand the demands of patient care and the rigors of your washing machine.

Dr. Michael Cellini, D.O., an interventional radiology fellow in New York City, argues that “the fabric itself is the most significant in terms of the scrubs’ lifetime.” A little more expensive, but performance scrubs tend to last longer than normal scrubs, according to this study.

If your scrubs are made of a fabric that fades or wears out quickly, you may not be able to keep up with your hectic work schedule if you don’t know how to properly care for them.


“Pockets!” is the most common response from healthcare workers when asked what they want most on their scrubs. If you’re like most people, you’d rather not spend your entire day on your feet without a place to keep your most often used items like your phone or pager or ID card or stethoscope.

For Shiefer, it’s not enough to have just any pockets; there should be multiple, strategically positioned, and of a size that prevents objects from spilling out. On the work, Dr. Cellini says, “I feel like I’m always carrying a lot of goods and the more pockets the better!”

Fit and Style

A v-neck, drawstring waist, and loose-fitting top and bottom combo are typical of scrubs. Many companies are now branching out to offer scrubs in a variety of various styles.

Scrubs makers are catching on to the idea that healthcare professionals come in a wide range of forms, sizes, and personal styles, and they’ve come out with a slew of different designs of scrubs to accommodate this.

While Schiefer favors fabric over fit, she does eventually want to look good in her scrubs and loves pairs that fit well and are stylish. For other professionals, finding a pair of scrubs that fits their own aesthetic is one of their top concerns.


How often should scrubs be cleaned?

Every shift is ideal, however it may not be necessary if you don’t interact with patients on a regular basis

To avoid exposure to patient bodily fluids or being in an isolation room, LVN Sarah Patterson of Southern California stores her scrubs in an appropriately labeled plastic hamper. Those are the kinds of things she advises should be washed right away in the machine.

How many pairs of scrubs do you need?

The number of shifts you work each week and how effectively you can clean your scrubs will both contribute into your decision (and any other factors, like how often your scrubs may become contaminated between patients). For Portia Wofford, LPN, a former nursing facility manager, “enough for the work week plus two additional sets” is her preferred approach. “I used to work three shifts a week, which meant five [total] sets,” says the author. Nurses must evaluate what works best for them and whether they need more scrubs, says Wofford (and if so, how many).

Do colleges and hospitals provide scrubs for nurses?

Colleges and hospitals all seem to have their own unique takes on it. Students and personnel are not required to wear scrubs, but some institutions do so nevertheless. Depending on the program, Wofford says scrubs may be included in the tuition and expenses. In certain cases, students are required to purchase their own scrubs, while in others, they are required to wear a specific color of scrubs. As the founder of Acute on Chronic LLC, Rebecca Abraham, an RN who has worked in the intensive care unit (ICU) for over a decade, she knows the importance of having a clean pair of surgical scrubs to change into every shift. It may be easier for nurses to purchase or “earn” free scrubs at hospitals that don’t supply them fully free of charge to employees. For example, you may have to work for 90 days before you get a free set of scrubs…or you get a free set on your work anniversary.” Scrubs can also be purchased in the hospital gift shop, scrub companies are invited to sell their products on site, and personnel can have the cost of scrubs deducted from their wages at some hospitals.

Do different color scrubs have different meanings?

Generally speaking, nurses wear scrubs that are separate from those worn by other healthcare workers while working in a hospital or other large medical facility.

According to Abraham, “[this] helps the patient recognize who is who on their care team, [and] normally nurses are allocated some form of blue.”

Scrub colors can be utilized in numerous ways to distinguish distinct healthcare practitioners, as outlined by Wofford:

  • On-site personnel may wear scrubs of a different color than nurses.
  • The uniforms used by nurses working in specific areas have a distinct color scheme.
  • Nurse supervisors and managers don a distinct uniform than the rest of the nursing staff.

The color of your scrubs may not matter in every facility, according to her, but that is not the case in all of them.

Reversible Cargo Scrub Pants & Scrub Uniforms

What’s the best way to clean scrubs?

Washing your scrubs can be affected by the material they are made of, but in general, hot water and high heat should be used to wash and dry scrubs.

As a dental practice manager in South Jersey, Kathryn Hively had to order scrubs for her staff and explains that “they have to be retrieved from the dryer immediately soon and folded otherwise they wrinkle like crazy, and no one has time to iron scrubs.”

How often you should wash your scrubs is determined on how filthy they are. In the event that Patterson is aware that her scrubs have been infected with a patient’s germs, she uses Tide with bleach and Lysol laundry sanitizer to thoroughly clean them.


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Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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