Voila! Get nasty stains out of your scrubs

By | 2022-02-23T14:30:04-05:00 December 13th, 2012|1 Comment


Before you throw out those stained scrubs, have you tried — I mean, really tried — to get that stain out?

Some stains are unavoidable: spurting blood, projectile vomit. (I know. Gross. But we’re nurses; we can handle it.) And some stains are a consequence of our own clumsiness. Who cares how it got there; let’s focus on how to get it out!

My research taught me a few major stain-removal principles that you should keep in mind.

  1. The earlier you address a stain, the better results you’ll have.
  2. When in doubt, use cold water — not hot — for soaking and blotting EXCEPT when dealing with iodine stains.
  3. Pretreating with detergent can lift most stains.

Read on for some more pro tips for removing stubborn stains.


Stain Removal How-To Tips

Blood There are a number of simple blood stain-removal methods. But hydrogen peroxide is probably available where you work and that does a number on blood. Make sure to avoid hot water.
Oil-based medications Baby or talcum powder will absorb grease. Or pretreat by pouring some detergent onto the spot and allowing to set for 10 minutes before washing. Some say dish soap is the most effective grease remover.
Alcohol-based medications Pretreat with detergent and rinse with cold water before throwing in the washer. If stain is stubborn, Good Housekeeping recommends pretreating a second time, and allowing the fabric to soak in cold water before washing again.
Feces An easy tidbit from Apartment Therapy: Letting stained fabric lie in the sun will resolve fecal stains (or, as referred to in this post, “Poo stains”). That, my friends, is called solar power.
Ball point pen Remove with rubbing alcohol.
Adhesives Soak in cool water to remove water-soluble adhesives.
Iodine Soak in warm water for 20 minutes with detergent, then wash, along with an oxygen-based bleach.
Vomit Rinse clean, pretreat with detergent, and wash in warm water.
Baby formula StainRemoval101 says first rinse, then pretreat with detergent and soak in cold water for about 30 minutes before washing.
Coffee For coffee stains, immediately blot stain to absorb excess liquid. Sponge stain with 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts warm water. Once stain is lifted, rinse and wash.
Mix 1 tablespoon white vinegar in ½ cup water and sponge solution onto affected areas to lift stain.


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One Comment

  1. Hannah September 28, 2019 at 7:07 am - Reply

    What about stains from anatomy lab cadaver juices?

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