Why Are a Doctor's Scrubs Blue or Green?

Written by chrys lin
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Why Are a Doctor's Scrubs Blue or Green?
Scrubs in solid colours other than white are less of a strain on doctors' eyes. (Scrub Nurse image by Mary Beth Granger from Fotolia.com)

Blue and green seem to be the dominant colours for medical scrubs in most hospitals. This isn't just coincidence; the reason so many medical institutions prefer these colours is practical.

Before Scrubs

Before scrubs were mandatory in a hospital, the earliest doctors performed surgery in their street clothes with a cover or an apron over them to keep their clothes clean. However, when doctors became aware the importance of sanitary operating environments in the 1940s, the shift toward medical scrubs began.

The First Scrubs

Medical scrubs were white when they were first used regularly in the 1950s and 1960s. The white fabric was meant to symbolise cleanliness; however, the white colour under the harsh light of operating rooms eventually began to strain the eyes of medical staff.

Blue and Green Scrubs

Doctors eventually switched to green or blue medical scrubs in the early 20th century so the colour would be less of a strain on their eyes. Green or blue scrubs may also have become more popular colours for medical scrubs because they were the opposite of the colour red. This contrast helped doctors see details in the human body more easily when they were conducting a bloody surgery.

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