The style of lab coat you choose should be a reflection of your own personal style, but you must also be pragmatic about the type of fabric used in your lab coat.
If you work as a medical professional, polyester has been the standard lab coat fabric for decades, though we have recently seen a trend towards lab coat made of cotton. In this occupation, you need a fabric that is comfortable, bright white, and durable – though added performance features are also a huge plus.
For those of you working with dangerous chemicals or infectious materials (researchers and scientists), it’s a smart choice to get a lab coat made of fabric that offers high protection.
Here is a breakdown of the fabrics commonly used in lab coats:
This has set the standard of lab coat fabrics for a long time because the material is lightweight, easy to produce, and relatively comfortable. Polyester by itself isn’t as comfortable as cotton, but cotton tends to wrinkle more easily. It is very difficult to make this fabric bright white; it is often a little bit yellow-tinted.
This fabric is a good choice for professionals who need lab coats to protect from dangerous chemicals or fire. Modacrylic fabric is resistant to tearing, and when exposed to an open flame the fibers will shrink instead of melting or fusing together to create a burn hazard. The fabric is also highly resistant to most chemical solvents.
We have started to see a trend in the medical apparel industry as more and more lab coats are being made with 100% cotton, which is much nicer than the cotton/polyester blend of yesteryear. This fabric is much softer and allows the garment to “breathe” much better. Cotton lab coats are sometimes treated with chemicals to give them performance features (such as wrinkle resistance, flame resistance, etc) but these will wash out after being laundered a few times.
This proprietary fabric is the most appropriate for medical professionals for many reasons. It has technological featured imbued in the very fibers of the fabric, including stain resistance, bacteriostatic properties, and quick-dry. It is also environmentally friendly and as soft as cotton, but far more resistant to wrinkles. The color of the fabric is a bright white that is perfect for making a lab coat look polished and professional.