Scrubs are finding their way into fashion, with people wearing them just about anywhere. Nevertheless, a headline in the Wall Street Journal says that, comfortable or not, scrubs are a germy, deadly mess.
The article suggests that dirty scrubs spread bacteria to patients and could even allow bugs to escape the hospital if they are worn in public. On HealthWise at 5, Gastroenterologist Dr. Priscilla Snodgrass said there is a little fear factor in this report, but that it is true that surgeons, or anyone in high risk areas, should be getting into scrubs at the hospital and leaving those scrubs to be laundered there when they go home.
Dr. Snodgrass says, "The standard washing machine, the temperature setting in your hot water heaters doesn't get it hot enough for the recommendations of the CDC for what we consider a kill ratio. So, for those instances for actual safety for you and your family if you're a health care worker, they would probably recommend double washing. Most people don't do double washing," and she recommends washing them, "high, hot, and a heck of a lot".
Greg Bruce, a UMC Vice President, agrees that it takes powerful washers at the hospital to disinfect scrubs. That is why their [UMC's] policy is:"Employees using hospital scrubs should wear his/her own clothing into the building and change into scrubs once here. Scrubs should not be washed at any location other than UMC laundry."
At the University of Maryland, they are trying something new. They put their surgeons in bright pink scrubs to discourage them from wearing them out after work.