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The Caring Support Blog

Tips On Choosing the Right Medical Scrub Fabric

March 30, 2024

Choosing the right medical scrub fabric is of paramount importance for healthcare workers as it directly impacts their comfort, mobility, and overall well-being during long shifts. This, in turn, helps them focus on providing exceptional care with the confidence that their attire supports their physical and emotional needs.

In this article, we will provide you with valuable tips to help you choose the perfect fabric for your medical scrubs. From popular choices to specific considerations for different seasons and purposes, we will try to simplify them for you. This will, in turn, help you better understand fabric choices, which will be crucial in making an informed decision about the garment you'll be using in performing your duties in the medical field.

Popular Choices for Fabrics Used in Hospital Scrubs

Traditionally, hospital scrubs were commonly made from cotton fabric. Cotton is known for its breathability, comfort, and ability to absorb moisture, making it a practical and widely used choice for medical scrubs. However, recent designs have favoured different types of fabrics as well, and there are different type of fabrics (or their combinations) currently being used in making hospital scrubs. The popular choices for fabrics used in hospital scrubs include:

A list summarizing the most popular fabrics used in hospital scrubs and their features.

Cotton

Cotton fabric is a popular choice for medical scrubs due to its breathability and softness. Its natural fibres allow air to circulate, keeping the wearer cool and comfortable throughout the day. Cotton also has moisture-absorbent properties, making it an ideal fabric for those working in high-stress environments. Cotton scrubs are also relatively easy to clean and maintain, making it a practical choice for healthcare professionals.

Polyester

Polyester is another commonly used fabric for medical scrubs. It is known for its durability and resistance to wrinkling, making it a great choice for those who want their scrubs to look crisp and professional. Polyester fabrics also dry quickly, which is beneficial in a fast-paced healthcare setting. However, it may not be as breathable as cotton, so it is important to consider the working conditions and personal preferences when choosing this fabric.

Rayon

Rayon is a versatile, semi-synthetic fabric made from natural cellulose fibres, often derived from wood pulp. It offers a soft and smooth texture, similar to silk. Rayon scrubs are lightweight and have excellent moisture-wicking properties, making them suitable for those working in high-intensity environments. However, rayon wrinkles a bit too easily and may require more care during laundry.

Spandex

Spandex, also known as elastane, is a stretchy fabric made of synthetic fibres that is often blended with other materials to provide flexibility and a comfortable fit. Scrubs containing spandex allow for a wide range of motion, which is essential for healthcare professionals who are constantly on the move. However, spandex can be less breathable and may cause discomfort in hot weather and humid environments.

Is There Such a Thing as the Best Scrub Fabric?

There's no single short answer to this question, as there is no one-size-fits-all best scrub fabric. Instead, it should be noted that the suitability of each fabric depends on various factors, including personal preferences, working conditions, and specific needs. However, certain fabrics excel in different situations. Here are some of the best options for different seasons and purposes and why they work well for such conditions:

Best For the Summer Season

During the hot summer months or dry weather, breathability and moisture-wicking properties are crucial. Fabrics like cotton and cotton blends are excellent choices as they allow air to circulate and absorb perspiration. Look for lightweight and breathable scrubs that will keep you cool and comfortable throughout your shift.

Best For the Winter Season

In colder climates or air-conditioned environments, keeping warm is of prime importance in helping healthcare workers stay comfortable and productive during their shifts. Heavy and cotton-based scrubs with less polyester content are often a good choice in the winter season, as they help provide insulation and retain heat while minimizing static buildup problems.

You may also opt to layer your scrubs with warm undergarments, which can help you stay cozy during the colder months and make your look more fashionable.

Best For Surgeries

When it comes to surgical procedures, cleanliness and sterility are paramount.

Scrubs made from fabrics with antimicrobial properties are highly recommended to minimize the risk of contamination. These fabrics are designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, ensuring a sterile environment for surgical teams.

Alternatively, you may also consider disposable surgical scrubs or those specially designed for single use to better contain the infectious agents within the surgical area and avoid cross-contamination within other areas of the hospital.

People within the surgical department may also benefit from the flexibility offered by fabrics with around 3 to 4 percent spandex or elastane content, as this allows surgeons and other healthcare workers involved in a surgical procedure to move better in their fast-paced environment.

Best For Protection Against Fluids or Chemicals

In certain healthcare settings, protection against fluids or chemicals is crucial. Scrubs made from fluid-resistant or chemical-resistant fabrics provide an additional layer of protection. Look for scrubs with special coatings or laminates that repel liquids and chemicals, keeping you safe and preventing any potential contamination.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Scrub Suit Fabric

When choosing the right scrub suit fabric, several important factors should be considered to ensure optimal comfort, functionality, and durability. These factors include:

Good Breathability

As a healthcare professional, you may find yourself in a fast-paced and physically demanding environment. Choosing a breathable or cooling fabric is crucial to prevent discomfort and excessive sweating. Look for fabrics that allow air circulation, such as cotton or cotton blends, to keep you cool and dry throughout your shift.

Durability

Medical scrubs go through rigorous use and frequent washing. It is important to choose a fabric that can withstand the demands of your profession. Fabrics like polyester or polyester blends are known for their durability and resistance to wear and tear. Invest in scrubs made from high-quality materials to ensure longevity.

Ability to Accommodate a Wide Range of Motion

Healthcare professionals are constantly on the move, performing various tasks that require flexibility and a wide range of motion. Opt for fabrics that have stretch properties, such as spandex blends, to allow unrestricted movement. Scrubs with added stretch will ensure that you can perform your duties comfortably without feeling restricted.

Ability to Wick Away Moisture

In a high-stress environment, sweating is inevitable. Choose fabrics that have moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable throughout the day. Fabrics like cotton and polyester blends excel in wicking away moisture, ensuring that you stay fresh and focused on your work.

Antimicrobial Properties

As mentioned earlier, antimicrobial fabrics are especially important in surgical settings. These fabrics are designed to inhibit the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, reducing the risk of contamination. Consider scrubs made from antimicrobial fabrics if you work in an environment where sterility is crucial.

Stain Resistance

Accidents happen, and stains are a common occurrence in healthcare settings. Choosing scrubs with stain-resistant properties can make a significant difference in maintaining a professional appearance. Look for fabrics that repel stains or have stain-resistant coatings to ensure that your scrubs remain clean and presentable.

Static Resistance

Static electricity can be a nuisance in certain environments, particularly those with sensitive equipment. Opt for fabrics that have static-resistant properties to minimize static buildup. This will prevent any unwanted disruptions or damage caused by static electricity.

Have your healthcare products be included in our growing list of vendors in the Caring Support Marketplace.

Caring Support: Providing Holistic Assistance to Healthcare Workers

Choosing the right fabric for your medical scrubs is essential for comfort, functionality, and professionalism. By understanding the different fabric options available and their suitability for various situations, you can make an informed choice that meets your specific needs. However, although comfort and functionality should always be your top priorities when it comes to medical scrub fabric selection, it's also still a good idea to add a fashionable twist to your work attire, from the design of scrub tops to the complementary accessories.

At Caring Support, we're committed to assisting healthcare workers in Canada in all aspects of their professional lives by providing comprehensive services that can take their careers to the next level. We provide job search and networking solutions to help them land their ideal jobs, and we also provide them access to a curated list of vendors selling duty essentials like scrub suits.

Contact us today to learn more about how partnering with us can help support our cause of providing assistance to healthcare professionals in Canada.

About The Author
Cam Adajar
Content Writer

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