The Best Laundry Disinfectant: How To Disinfect Scrubs

As a nurse, a powerful laundry disinfectant is so important. Learn how to disinfect your scrubs the first time with these tips.

Keep reading and learn how to completely disinfect and clean your scrubs every single time so that you stay clean and safe. It’s easier than you might think. Learn the best washing cycle and where to buy laundry disinfectant that will kill those germs and pathogens.

How To Disinfect Your Scrubs: Essential Tips

To keep yourself, your home, and your family safe and healthy, follow these tips when you clean you scrubs. There are 6 easy things you can do that will make sure your scrubs are completely cleaned.

1. Keep Dirty Scrubs Separated

First, you need to keep your dirty scrubs in a separate basket from your other dirty clothes. You will be washing your scrubs in a different way than you normally wash clothes, so you need to keep them in a different place.

Some nurses take this a step further and take their scrubs off in the garage and put them in a laundry basket right away.

2. Pre-Treat Scrubs

This step will disinfect your brand new scrubs before you wear them. Pre-treat them with a mixture of cold water and white vinegar. Not only will the vinegar solution kill the germs on the fabric, but it will also extend the overall life of your scrubs too.

3. Wash With Cold Water And Detergent On Normal Setting

This is the first washing step for your dirty scrubs. Wash your scrubs in cold water on a normal setting. Use your regular clothes detergent for this step. During the cycle, the all of the loose dirt and sweat is being washed away. You’ll work on killing all the bacteria and viruses in the next step.

4. Wash Again On Hot With Color-Safe Bleach

Now it’s time to start killing those germs! Add the proper measurement of color-safe bleach or laundry disinfectant and wash it on hot. Do not add more detergent, just the color-safe bleach. I have a list of the best ones you can buy at the bottom of this post.

5. Dry Scrubs On High

After that cycle completes, throw your scrubs in the dryer and tumble dry them on high-heat setting. One thing I want to say here – high heat is known to break down fibers quicker and it could cause your scrubs to shrink. If you think your scrubs will shrink, use the low heat setting or let them dry on the clothesline. The sunshine is a fantastic disinfectant too!

6. Iron Your Scrubs

Finally, if you dried your scrubs on low heat, or if you hung them on a clothesline, you can use an iron to apply heat directly to your scrubs and make sure they are completely sanitized.

This last step makes sure any lingering pathogens are completely killed with direct heat.

Best Laundry Disinfectants

What are the best laundry disinfectants for nursing scrubs? I found four of the most popular color-safe bleach additives. They will protect the color on your scrubs while killing all the germs that are left behind in the fabric.

Please, always read the labels before you use a product. They list out whether they are safe for use in the washing machine and how they should be used.


Vinegar actually does work! Adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the washing machine will disinfect and deodorize your scrubs. It actually softens fabrics too.

Clorox Laundry Sanitizer

Clorox Laundry Sanitizer claims it kills 99.9% of odor-causing bacteria. It doesn’t make any claims about killing cold or flu viruses. This is a great way to treat scrubs if you have stubborn smells in them.

Lysol Laundry Sanitizer

Lysol says it kills 99.9% of bacteria like Staphylococcus Aureus & Klebsiella pneumoniae. They claim you can just use it in the rinse cycle, you don’t have to do a completely separate wash cycle for it. Plus, you can use it to kill these germs when you presoak your laundry too.

Purex-2 Color-Safe Bleach

This is a stain-fighter and color booster. If you have stubborn stains on your scrubs, this will help lift and remove them. I wanted to point out that it is not a germ-killing product, even though it stays “bleach” in the product name.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Chlorine-Free Bleach

This product has hydrogen peroxide in it. This means that it is safe to use on bright-colored clothes. Hydrogen Peroxide doesn’t meet EPA disinfecting requirements, so they can’t claim that it kills bacteria or viruses.

Final Thoughts

When you work in a hospital around all the different diseases, it makes sense that you want to completely sanitize your scrubs before you wear them again. Washing your clothes like normal should clean them well enough to kill any bacteria or viruses. If you still want added piece of mind, you can use vinegar, laundry disinfectant, and even a good dose of sunshine!

More Nurse Tips

Here are some more of my best tips that I’ve learned as a nurse.

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