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Six Ways to Clean Blood Out of Your Scrubs

One of the less glamorous parts about being a nurse or PA (we know, there are lots of them), are all the lovely body fluids you’re sprayed with from time to time.

Photo By: Cotton: The Fabric of Our Lives

One of the less glamorous parts about being a nurse or PA (we know, there are lots of them) is the lovely body fluids you’re sprayed with occasionally. Vomit, urine, saliva, every consistency of feces you can imagine, perhaps others you prefer to forget, but blood is often hardest to remove in the laundry. No doubt you have your own hacks for cleaning blood out of your scrubs—aside from just, you know, buying new scrubs—but perhaps there are some new tricks below you haven’t heard of yet.

  1. Ice, Ice Baby

This is probably the first one you learned when you or your sister weren’t prepared for your first period and your mom held your undies under ice-cold water. Especially for lightweight fabrics like scrubs, keeping the fabric under cold running water can eliminate much of the blood. If it’s fresh and you move quickly, it might wash it out. After you’ve run it under the water, grab an ice cube and use it like a sponge, scrubbing at the stain as it melts. This can eke out a bit more of the blood. Whatever you do, though, avoid hot water, which makes the blood soak into the clothing fibers even more.

  1. Make Lemonade?

When life hands you lemons, use them to get the blood out of your scrubs. Cold water and ice work well for more recent blood spatters, but dried blood that’s had time to set is a bit more persistent. Use lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide to treat the stain if your scrubs are light-colored (or you don’t mind a new weird tye-dye look on darker scrubs). You could soak the whole area with the stain in the solution, but you can be more precise if you soak a sponge in lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide and then blot at the stains. Alternate blotting and running the clothing under cold water until you’ve gotten out as much as possible. For an alternative to a sponge with a bit more oomph, grab an old toothbrush to scrub it.

  1. Just Spit on It

Okay, this option won’t work for big stains unless you’ve got some particularly overactive salivary glands, but for minor stains, like a drop of blood or that stain where you accidentally scratched open a scab, spit on it. Saliva has enzymes whose whole purpose is to break down food, and they’re remarkably efficient at breaking down other organic matter.

  1. Two Aspirin

Lemons and hydrogen peroxide aren’t the only household goods that can help with a blood stain. Aspirin not only treats your aches and pains, but it’s a bloody good stain remover too! Crush a couple of tablets, mix them in water, and apply the paste to a sponge to apply to the garment. Let it sit at least a half hour before tossing it in the wash.

  1. Baking Soda Use #73

Baking soda is one of the most versatile household goods, and removing blood stains is just one more trick this handy chemical can do. Like the aspirin paste above, you can create a paste by mixing baking soda and water that you apply to your clothes and let sit. The longer it sits, the more it might help, so consider leaving it overnight before washing it the next day.

  1. Level Up to the Big Guns

If you’ve tried everything above and the stain is still stubbornly sticking to your favorite Sesame Street scrubs, there are specialized products designed to remove blood. There’s good old-fashioned bleach and specialized detergents out there, and there’s also the handy Carbona Stain Devil #4, pocket-sized tubes you can carry with you in your scrubs pockets.

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