Cotton Scrubs vs. Polyester Scrubs: What’s the deal?

When it comes to scrub fabrics, you have two main choices. On one hand, you’ve got cotton scrubs, and on the other, you’ve got synthetic or polyester scrubs. Of course there are blends and other synthetic fabrics to keep an eye out for, but for the sake of understanding the core differences in these fabric types, we are going to be looking at 100% cotton scrubs and 100% polyester scrubs. 

Trust us, we are the first to admit that reading a blog about fabric types for medical uniforms is about as low as you can go on the entertainment scale, but hopefully the deets we’ve pulled together for you will help you in deciding which scrub fabric you want to buy.

The Cotton Scrub

Cotton Scrubs

What is cotton? That’s probably a good place to start. Cotton is a natural fiber, made from the cellulose that the cotton plant produces. No big surprise there! The fluffy white fibers are harvested from the cotton plant and spun into yarn that is then woven into the fabric that we all know. 

There are different types of cotton, ranging in characteristics, texture, and price. This is good to know because even though you have a super comfy organic pima cotton t-shirt in your closet, it doesn't mean every piece of cotton clothing will feel like that.    

With that said, cotton is generally lightweight and breathable. It’s no wonder cotton is one of the most ubiquitous fabrics used to make clothing. But, being a natural fiber, it does have its limitations, especially when being used to make scrubs. As you well know, scrubs can take a beating. Worn during long shifts with lots of movement and the need for regular and consistent washings, the disadvantages of cotton scrubs can become clear.

Cotton Cons

From the perspective of scrubs, there are 3 main cons when it comes to cotton: 

  1. The natural fibers of cotton wear down faster than synthetic fibers, which inevitably means holes in your scrubs. This can become even more apparent if the same cotton scrubs are worn day in and day out. Simply put, cotton scrubs are not as durable as we would want our scrubs to be. 
  2. Cotton shrinks. Special care needs to be made when washing and drying cotton scrubs so that the fit is the same as the day it was purchased. Looking like you're wearing your child's clothes is just not a good look. 
  3. Cotton fabric is absorbent. That means those accidental spills take longer to dry and pit stains are certainly in the future.

The Polyester Scrub

Polyester Scrubs

Cotton and polyester couldn’t be any more different. Polyester is a man-made synthetic fiber, so where cotton is grown in a field, polyester is created in a lab. Polyester pellets are melted down and forced through small holes and then stretched. The extruded fibers cool and solidify into a very strong fiber. Then the process looks similar to cotton, as the fibers are spun and then woven into the polyester fabric we all know. 

Polyester was once criticized for the unnatural feel it had on the skin, but technology has progressed greatly since the creation of polyester in 1946. Today, you can find high-end performance polyester fabrics with amazing touch and feel that rival some of the best natural fabrics. 

Polyester Pros

When compared with cotton fabrics, polyester has 3 main benefits that will make for a better scrub-wearing experience: 

  1. Polyester is a very strong fiber. Holding up very well to heavy washings, it also has high color retention when compared to a cotton counterpart. This means longer lasting scrubs for you. 
  2. Unlike cotton, polyester is hydrophobic, which means it dries fast and wicks moisture from your skin, leaving you feeling dry and cool. 
  3. Polyester fabric is easier to care for. It’s naturally wrinkle-resistant and does not shrink. Looking professional is simple with polyester scrubs.

Like your favorite workout gear or the uniforms of pro-athletes, scrubs need to be able to stand up to the extra abuse that your run-of-the-mill t-shirt never sees. This is why we believe scrubs created from a strong fiber with performance qualities is truly the way to go.  

Performance scrubs

At TiScrubs we didn’t just create another average scrub. We developed a performance scrub with an athletic vibe that is sure to turn some heads. Give our best-selling scrubs a try with free shipping and returns. It’s time you slipped into something special.

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