Should You Wash Your Lab Coat?

Lab coats protect people from getting potentially hazardous materials on their skin. These coats are an integral part of any doctors office, or scientist’s lab. But, how often, if ever, should they be washed? Well, for starters, lab coats should never be taken home to be laundered. Routine washing of all lab coats is suggested, as long as the lab coats are not in contact with potentially hazardous materials. In that case, the lab coats should be discarded. If a substantial chemical spill on the lab coats occurs with a highly toxic, corrosive, or non-evaporating chemical, the coat must be thrown away immediately, axccordning to hazardous waste disposal procedures. Furthermore, if a coat is still wet with contaminants, has a strong smell of chemicals, contains chemicals that pass through nitrile gloves, or is contaminated with large amounts of concentrated acids or corrosive chemicals, then it should be disposed of immediately. In the case that the lab coats do not fall under any of these conditions, then the coats may be washed and reused. Here is the suggested washing protocol:

  1. Run the clean tub setting on the washing machine prior to loading the first wash of the day. This can help reduce the spread of different chemicals that are possibly leftover in the washing machine and could contaminate the rest of the lab coats.
  2. Wash all lab coats in hot water with bleach and a high efficiency laundry detergent. Refrain from cold or warm cycles. Tip: use the sanitary cycle for BSL-1 labs and the allergiene cycle for BSL-2 labs. The sanitary cycle reduces 99% of bacteria through extremely hot temperatures, and the allergiene cycle uses steam to reduce allergens in the lab coats.
  3. If the lab coats possibly contain biohazardous materials or fluids, follow the cycle with a round of bleach and hot water before any other laundry can be washed.
  4. Once the load of lab coats is completed, place it in the dryer for 60-90 minutes, until the load is entirely dried. Then, hang the coats in the area designated for clean lab coat storage.

London Cleaners

When in doubt, call professionals to handle the cleaning for you! London Cleaners offers FREE pickup and delivery for all laundry orders, with no minimum order size. Contact us to clean your lab coats professionally and hygienically.