Why Material Matters When Shopping for Scrubs

March 29, 2018

If you’re a nurse or other medical professional, there’s a pretty good chance that your work “uniform” is a set of scrubs. Since you wear scrubs day in and day out for several hours at a time, it’s really important to find ones that fit well, giving you the flexibility you need throughout your day, and that are durable enough to withstand the rigors of working in the healthcare world.

When shopping for scrubs that are comfortable and durable, it’s important to understand that the material scrubs are made from matter and can make a big difference in how you feel in them and how long they last.

Let’s take a look at the “must-have” features for all scrubs, as well as what you should know about material in order to find the scrubs that will work best for you.

Must-have” Features for Scrubs

Most scrub-wearing medical professionals will likely agree that there are three main features that all scrubs need to have – as well as two additional “bonus” features, which may actually be “must-haves” for many!

  1. Breathable/moisture-wicking – No one wants to feel sweaty at work or have their clothes cling to them. It’s important to wear scrubs that are breathable and moisture-wicking, keeping you cool and confident all day.
  2. Comfortable material – It’s difficult to fully focus on doing your best at work when you’re wearing clothes that don’t fit well and make you feel uncomfortable.
  3. Good/consistent fit – Fit is so incredibly important, especially for medical professionals who are on their feet a lot and have many tasks that require physical movement, such as lifting, bending, reaching and squatting.

Clothes that fit well and allow you to be flexible in your movements are key. The fit also needs to remain consistent, fitting the after 1, 5, 100 and more washes.

And the two bonus “must-haves”:

  1. Stylish/professional looking – While scrubs might not be at the top of the list when it comes to talking about “stylish” clothing to wear to an event outside of work, they have certainly come a long way in design, with many fashionable options now available. With so many colors, styles and patterns on the market, it’s easy to find scrubs that are not only professional looking, but that fit your style and make you feel good to wear.
  2. Low maintenance – With everyone leading busy lives, who has a lot of extra time to spend caring for scrubs in order to keep them in good shape? We bet not most people. This is why getting scrubs that are “wash and wear”, without the need to follow special instructions for washing and drying or having to iron them, can be a lifesaver.

3 Main Material Types for Scrubs

The three main types of materials scrubs are available in include cotton, synthetics and cotton-synthetic blends. Below are the pros and cons of each type.

  1. Cotton

Since cotton is grown, rather than manufactured, it’s considered a natural fiber. The pros and cons are listed below:


  • Soft feel
  • Resistant to pilling
  • When pills do form, they shed


  • Moisture absorbing
  • Not as breathable as synthetics
  • Prone to fading


  1. Synthetics

Scrubs are made with different types of synthetic fibers, including polyester, nylon, rayon and spandex. Pros and cons include:


  • Known for moisture wicking properties
  • Retain their shape


  • Susceptible to pilling
  • Stronger smell after sweating in them
  • Not as soft as cotton against the skin


  1. Cotton-Synthetic Blends

You’ll find different blends of cotton and synthetic fabrics. Since cotton and synthetics each have their own positive and negative attributes, the scrubs that are made from blends of different fabrics will have their own pros and cons, based on the specific combination of fibers they’re made from.

Which Material is Best for You?

This is where trial and error come in to play. It really boils down to personal preference – you’ll need to see which material type best suits your style and body type, has the most comfortable feel for you and enables you to efficiently perform the tasks you need to on the job. Just as with everything else, there’s not one type that is the best for everyone.

Knowing the importance material plays in how scrubs feel and perform, and what the pros and cons are for each fabric type, you’re equipped with the information you need to choose the scrubs that work best for you. Just be sure they also include the “must-have” features and you’ll be a happy to wear scrubs for your professional uniform!


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