A History of Scrubs and Their Use Today

In the medical world scrubs have become synonymous with professionalism cleanliness and comfort. Over the years these garments have transformed from ordinary attire to a vital part of healthcare culture. Let’s delve into the fascinating history of scrubs and explore their significance in the medical field today.

Origin of Scrubs

The term “scrubs” originally referred to the surgical attire worn by surgeons and their scrub nurses in the operating room. In the early 20th century the use of sterile clothing during surgeries became crucial in preventing infections. These garments were typically made of white cotton and consisted of a loose fitting one piece jumpsuit with short sleeves and a V neck collar.

However the white fabric posed practical issues as any stains or contaminants were highly visible. As a result healthcare professionals began embracing the use of colored scrubs allowing for better camouflage and a more hygienic appearance.

Evolution of Scrubs

During the 1940s and 1950s medical professionals started wearing green scrubs due to their soothing effect on the eyes. The color green offered a stark contrast to the red hues of blood making it easier to differentiate between fluids during surgeries. The lightweight and breathable nature of scrubs made them convenient for long hours in the operating room and provided comfort during demanding procedures.

By the 1970s scrub’s had become commonplace not only in surgical settings but across various medical disciplines. The introduction of synthetic fabrics like polyester and cotton blends facilitated the production of scrub’s that were more durable stain resistant and easier to maintain.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the concept of “color coded” scrubs began gaining popularity. Different healthcare departments started adopting distinct colors to represent their roles. This allowed for easy identification of specific staff members and improved communication within the hospital environment.

Scrubs Today

In the present day scrub’s have become an integral part of the healthcare industry. They serve several essential purposes aside from their functional advantages –

  • Uniformity – Scrubs provide a sense of unity and equality among all healthcare professionals regardless of their position within the hospital hierarchy. It promotes a team based approach to patient care.
  • Identification – By wearing specific colors or patterns healthcare personnel can be easily recognized by both patients and their colleagues. This identification helps create a safe and secure environment.
  • Hygiene – Scrubs are designed to be easily cleaned and sanitized minimizing the risk of germ transmission. The fabrics used today are often treated with antimicrobial properties to enhance infection control.
  • Comfort – Medical professionals often work long hours and require clothing that allows ease of movement and comfort. Scrub’s with their loose fit and breathable materials meet these requirements effectively.

Moreover scrubs have become a symbol of trust for patients. They associate the professional attire with expertise and knowledge enhancing the confidence patients have in their healthcare providers.


From their humble beginnings in surgery to their widespread adoption in all healthcare settings today scrubs have come a long way. These garments have not only played a vital role in maintaining hygiene but also in creating a professional and unified environment within hospitals and clinics.

As we continue to battle the challenges of the medical industry scrubs will undoubtedly remain a cornerstone of healthcare apparel. They provide comfort promote identification and embody the values of professionalism and dedication that healthcare workers hold dear.

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