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Are home-laundered scrubs safe?

Home-laundered scrubs at the start of a day have the same amount of organisms as scrubs worn all day. Leave your work at work!

Several studies over the last 15 years show that wearing scrubs when leaving the hospital and the home-laundering of staff scrubs can create a risk of cross contamination at home, in the community and on return to the health facility. Results of a 2012 Washington State study of nurses’ uniforms showed that the average bacteria colony growth per square inch was 1,246 for day and 5,795 for the night shift. In fact MRSA was found on 70 percent of the uniforms. While not the practice in the United States, there are several countries including Canada, Belgium and Australia, that have prohibited wearing hospital clothing outside the workplace and required workplaces to provide clean scrubs at the healthcare site to prevent the spread of infectious materials. 

Beyond not offering a controlled and regulated environment  found in a commercial cleaner like Crown Health Care Laundry, when washing scrubs at home, many staff are not taking or may not be aware of the recommended special steps to ensure proper cleaning.  A 2015 study at De Montfort University showed that 49 percent of hospital staff did not wash their uniforms at the recommended 140-degree temperature. 

Other steps to mitigate contagions like COVID including placing the worn garments in a bag before entering the home, washing the garments separately from family clothing, using detergent and a bleach, avoiding short cycles, and immediately placing the item in the warmest dryer cycle recommended by the garment manufacturer. For these reasons, many professional health organizations recommend that scrub attire should be laundered by an accredited commercial laundry facility. 

Crown Healthcare Laundry uses a dual-accredited, commercial cleaning process that ensures that patient care and staff linens pose no danger of transmitting illness. Healthcare staff should change back into their personal clothing and dispose of scrubs in the blue soiled linen bag when leaving their workplace, NOT in a locker.


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