phone 02032 875 990Mon-Thu 9 AM - 5 PM, Fri 9 AM - 3 PM

The History of Medical Scrubs

The Medical Scrub has long been an essential part of healthcare professionals' attire in hospitals. But what is the history behind this indispensable garment for medical workers?


The origin of the Medical Scrubs

The Medical Scrub, now an essential garment for medical workers, has its roots in the late 19th century. Although the concept of a protective gown dates back to ancient times, it was during this period that the Medical Scrub's use in medicine began to solidify. At that time, hygiene and sterilisation were not yet standard practices in hospitals and clinics. As doctors and surgeons started recognising the importance of protecting themselves and their patients from infections, the Medical Scrub emerged as a practical solution. It provided a barrier against potential splashes of medications and other contaminants, marking a significant advancement in medical safety and hygiene practices.

Early adoption in the UK

Historically, only women were permitted to care for patients, and they protected themselves with large, white garments worn over their clothes. The first documented use of the Medical Scrub in the UK occurred in the late 19th century, coinciding with the adoption of more rigorous hygiene practices in British hospitals. These heavy cotton canvas gowns were worn over regular clothing to protect against cross-contamination.


Evolution of Medical Scrubs over time

As medical practices and hygiene measures advanced, so did Scrubs. In the early 1900s, heavy cotton scrubs were replaced by lighter fabrics, with the gowns remaining white to symbolise cleanliness and hygiene. This evolution continued, adapting to the growing needs and standards of the medical field, ensuring both protection and comfort for healthcare professionals.

Introduction of synthetic fibres in Medical Scrubs

In the 1940s, the emergence of synthetic fibres revolutionised Medical Scrubs, making them more durable and easier to clean. Advances in technology also led to the creation of stain and chemical-resistant fabrics, offering enhanced protection for healthcare professionals.

Impact of World War II

World War II significantly accelerated the development of synthetic fibres. The urgent need for durable and easy-to-clean materials during this period led to innovations that greatly benefited Medical Scrubs, making them more practical and functional. This era marked a notable improvement in the quality and usability of Medical Scrubs, meeting the evolving demands of the healthcare industry.


Modern developments in Medical Scrub design

Over the past several decades, Medical Scrubs have continued to evolve to meet the needs of various medical specialties. Modern Medical Scrubs are designed not only for functionality but also for comfort and style.

Influence of cinema on Medical Scrub colours

In the 1960s, the film industry influenced the transition to coloured gowns. White coats were too bright on camera, prompting the adoption of softer colours like blue and green in medical films. This change gradually made its way into real-life medical settings, introducing a more diverse range of colours for Medical Scrubs.

Technological advancements in fabric

Recent years have seen significant technological advancements in the fabrics used for Medical Scrubs. Modern fabrics are not only stain-resistant and easy to clean but also breathable and comfortable for long hours of wear. Innovations such as antimicrobial coatings have been introduced to enhance hygiene and safety, providing even greater protection for healthcare professionals.


The Medical Scrub today: styles, colours, and features

Today, Medical Scrubs are available in a variety of styles, colours, and designs to suit individual preferences and the requirements of different healthcare settings.

Variety and modern features of Medical Scrubs

The colour of Medical Scrubs typically varies depending on the healthcare professional’s role and specialty. While white remains traditional, Medical Scrubs now come in a wide range of colours, like those offered at Happythreads. Modern Medical Scrubs might include features such as easy closures, functional pockets, and elastic cuffs, enhancing both practicality and comfort.

Personalisation and cranding

Many healthcare institutions now personalise Medical Scrubs with embroidered names, logos, and titles. This not only helps in identifying staff but also adds a professional touch to the attire. Customisation options have become increasingly popular, allowing for a greater sense of identity and pride among healthcare professionals.


The significance of Medical Scrubs

Specific requirements for Medical Scrubs can vary by country, healthcare institution, and medical specialty. These regulations may change over time with technological advancements and new health and safety standards. Regardless of their form, Medical Scrubs remain a significant symbol of the medical profession and its commitment to patient health, protection, and well-being.

Symbol of authority and trust

Medical Scrubs are not just practical garments; they are also symbols of authority and trust in the healthcare profession. Patients often associate Medical Scrubs with competence and professionalism, which can help build trust and confidence during medical consultations.

Future of Medical Scrubs

As technology continues to evolve, the future of Medical Scrubs may include smart fabrics with integrated health-monitoring sensors or temperature-regulating properties. Ongoing advancements in material science are likely to bring even more innovative features to this essential piece of medical attire.


Browse our collection of Lab coats and Scrub tops.

Tags: Lab coat
Please enter these characters in the following text field.

The fields marked with * are required.