International Nurses Day: The best medical workwear fabrics

Antimicrobial medical workwear and views from an expert

Every 12th of May, nurses around the world celebrate International Nurses Day to mark the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth and to commemorate the achievements of the nursing profession.

In the last year we have all seen how fundamental the role nursing plays in society, and how vital is for nurses to count on the correct medical workwear for their jobs.

At Carrington Textiles we provide millions of metres of fabric every year to dress nurses around the world. With the demand to keep medical staff protected being higher than ever, it’s important to understand the best products available.

An important element to consider when selecting medical workwear fabrics is the composition of the material, the ideal blend being 65% polyester and 35% cotton as it provides great durability, launderability, comfort and is available in a wide range of colours.

Compared to a cotton rich textile, poly cotton offers greater strength and abrasion resistance with a lower shrinkage rate, ideal for garments that need to be industrially laundered. This type of fabric is softer to the touch and it offers the opportunity of adding cooling and wicking properties to make it even more comfortable for the wearer. Regarding colour, it’s possible to get a wider range of colours on these blends.

Carrington Textiles’ Alba 2 for example is a lightweight fabric that, at only 145 gsm, provides comfort, durability and a colour range perfect for medical workwear. Heavier options include our best selling Teredo at 195 gsm, Delta at 210 gsm and Tomboy at 245 gsm, all providing outstanding performance for the wearer and crease resist finish as a standard for better appearance.

Latest innovations include Xtraflex SL 37.5 a fabric that offers extra comfort due to its stretch properties and thermoregulation technology to keep the body’s core temperature at its optimum of 37.5 degrees.

The most common colours for medical workwear are hospital blue, hospital grey, sailor navy and aquamarine, but they tend to differ depending on the country.

Antimicrobial medical workwear

Since 2020, protection against microbes and germs has never been so important. The textile industry quickly adapted to this need, and the development and application of antimicrobial properties to fabrics for workwear became widely available.

A solution like our Antiviral Finish offers extra protection by reducing the risk of a healthcare worker becoming infected by secondary diseases. This technology developed by Sanitized® allows the globally-recognised antibacterial effects of silver to be applied to fabrics through various methods, including being embedded into yarns or coated over a fabric’s surface.

Both methods inhibit bacteria growth and contribute towards enhanced protection from potentially harmful viruses.

Views from an expert

Alsico’s Sales & Marketing Manager, Anthony Watson, says: “Our two most popular fabrics are Carrington Textiles’ Teredo 195gsm and Alba 145gsm which we have used to produce healthcare uniforms for many years as we know they will perform wash after wash and are rated highly by those we dress.

Thousands of front line medical and care service workers rely on our clothing in their professional lives and deserve uniforms that not only protect them, but that are durable and comfortable to wear when working long shifts and dealing with the demands of the day job”.

Alsico is the UK’s largest manufacturer and distributor of clothing for people at work, and one of the biggest uniform providers for the NHS. Alsico supplies over 3.5 million garments a year to the UK market. The company prides itself on producing innovative supply solutions and premium quality high performance workwear to customers.

Visit our workwear fabrics page to learn more, or contact us for more information.