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Summer’s Here: Tips to Avoid Sweating Through Your Scrubs

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Summer’s Here: Tips to Avoid Sweating Through Your Scrubs

As the summer temperature rises, figuring out how to stay cool while running around during long shifts is becoming more and more challenging. We all know what it feels like to realize those dreaded sweat stains are starting to pop up on our scrubs, and it’s not a fun feeling. We’ve collected some of our favorite tips to stay (…or at least look) sweat-free on hot summer days.

Wear Antiperspirant (Read: Not the same as deodorant)

Perhaps one of the best ways to combat the problem from the source is to wear antiperspirant. While many confuse this with deodorant, the two works very differently. For starters, antiperspirant actually blocks your sweat glands from producing sweat. Deodorant, on the other hand, simply masks odors. This can be enough on a normal day, but extra hot and humid weather calls for drastic measures.

To get the best sweat-blocking effect from your antiperspirant, opt to apply after showering when you are completely dry. If you apply while you are wet or sweating, the antiperspirant won’t be as effective. If you desire an even stronger solution than over-the-counter options, there are many prescription antiperspirants that have had rave reviews from sweat-hating workers.

In a similar fashion, antiperspirant wipes are also a great option for areas of the body where a roll-on antiperspirant is less ideal. Wiping down feet and hands to avoid excess sweat is an effective method to prevent feeling like you just walked through water or are leaving sweaty handprints on everything you touch.

Check Out Garment Guards

Little do most people know, garment guards (also called underarm pads) exist on the market for just this problem! The pads typically have one side that sticks to the inside of your shirt in the underarm region, and the other side is made of absorbent material to soak up any underarm sweat. These guards can be purchased through Amazon or at your local shops, but if you are in a rush panty-liners have been said to be able to serve as a quick alternative.

Wear Bicycle Shorts or Breathable Undershirts

Another great hack is to wear undergarments with absorbant and breathable material. This will help keep you cool while acting as a protective guard against sweat stains. Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are the most breathable fabrics and are also more liquid-absorbent than many of their synthetic counterparts. When wearing another layer of clothes in the summer, you want to make sure to choose options that will not overheat you. Bicycle shorts are also a great option if you find yourself getting seat-sweat stains or thigh sweat.

Stay Hydrated

It may seem counterintuitive, but drinking more water can help reduce sweating. By staying hydrated, your body stays cooler and sweat less. In addition to this, staying hydrated during extra hot days will keep you from feeling faint or overwhelmed by the heat.

Soak Up Moisture with Natural Powder

Baby powder or other naturally absorbent powders are great to absorb moisture. Simply turn your scrubs inside out and sprinkle them with the naturally absorbent powder before wearing. This should act as a sort of barrier between your sweat and your scrub shirt soaking up the moisture directly. There are many powders available through Amazon or at your local superstores.

Reduce Caffeine and/or Nicotine Consumption

Caffeine has been known to raise your heart rate and speed up the nervous system, which can lead to an increase in sweating. By reducing your caffeine consumption throughout the day, your body will likely sweat less. While many of us love our morning cup of joe, skipping that second cup and reaching for a nice cold lemonade or glass of green tea instead could be a great alternative in the summer. Nicotine works in a similar fashion, speeding up the heart rate and increasing sweating. If you regularly indulge in nicotine products, cutting back may be an answer to your sweating-woes.

Avoid Sweat-Inducing Foods

Who knew what we eat could have such a big impact on how much we sweat? We didn’t, but we do now! If you want to avoid excess sweating, try to avoid high-fat and high-sodium foods that are overly processed. These foods make you perspire and can add to the problem. It’s also wise to avoid hot peppers and spicy foods. If you’ve ever eaten an especially spicy meal, you know how spicy food can make you sweat even when it’s freezing outside! Try to stick with foods that are more milk in flavor and extra hydrating. Some good go tos are fruits, nuts, cold sandwiches with fresh ingredients, and raw vegetables with delicious dips.

Wear Dark Colors

While this won’t work to reduce your sweat stains, opting for darker colors in the summer can at least hide any evidence. If you feel that darker colors are too drab for summer weather, opt for patterns that incorporate many different tones (including dark tone) to hide sweat stains and pull attention away from any marks.

Bring a Change of Scrubs

If you feel like you’ve exhausted all options and just can’t avoid those pesky sweat stains, we recommend bringing a change of clothes for midway through your shift. If you want the change to go unnoticed, invest in a few pairs of same-color scrubs so you can just put on a new shirt of the same design. This change may actually leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the second part of your day!

Josie Burridge

Josie Burridge


Josie is a college graduate from the University of Michigan in biomedical engineering. She is currently studying for a graduate degree in public health and is focusing her education on population health sciences and improving health care systems in our communities. She loves the way in which the medical field is constantly evolving as new discoveries are made, and she hopes to one day contribute her own research!


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