Tag Archives: White Coat


5 Tips To Keep Your Lab Coat White And Bright

Nothing says professional like a crisp, white lab coat. The white color is highly significant in the medical profession, as it has come to symbolize cleanliness and purity. Wearing an immaculate white lab coat sends a strong visual signal to your patient that you are diligent and thorough, and instills a greater subconscious sense of trust in your patient-physician relationship.

Here are some tips for keeping your white lab coat as bright and white as the day you got it.

  1. Separate your colors – seriously. Even light colors can transfer onto whites.
  2. Don’t use too much detergent, which can leave residue on clothes that acts like a magnet and sticks to dirt.
  3. Use a bluing agent to remove a yellowish tinge, but make sure to read and follow the instructions.
  4. Don’t use bleach. White clothing is actually dyed to be white, and bleach can strip the whiteness away leaving behind a dingy greyish color.
  5. Use white vinegar or lemon to make your whites brighter, by adding 1/4 a cup of vinegar or lemon juice and warm water and letting your whites soak before washing. Do not mix with ammonia products!!

Lab Coats Are The Perfect Winter White!

If you’re anything like me, the turn of October has you already planning your fall and winter wardrobe. Usually what people wear in the hot weather couldn’t be more different from cold weather clothes, and that includes everything from fabric, style, cold protection, and colors.

Winter white is personally one of my favorite parts of the changing seasons. It’s crisp, clean, and always makes you look effortlessly put together. It goes with everything, and is reminiscent of a beautiful white snowfall the day after a blizzard.


It recently occurred to me that lab coats are, in fact, the perfect shade of winter white! This makes sense, as the popularity of white in the winter is probably due to the snow, which is most beautiful in its pristine form – the pure sheet of white that you see before cars start driving over it and it turns into slush.

Similarly, the doctors coat is a striking white color because of the purity and cleanliness it represents.

The White Coat Effect

Invisibilia Podcast “The Secret Emotional Life of Clothes”

Podcasts are a great way to stay up to date on news stories and learn about things you never thought about before. They are ideal for listening to during a commute, or while doing tedious household chores. Listening to a podcast is the first thing I do every morning, as it wakes my brain up and stimulates thinking as soon as I wake up, preparing me better to take on the day.

One of my favorite podcasts is NPR’s Invisibilia, which tells stories “about the invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.” These stories are often things you probably never even thought about before, and it prompts you to look at the world in a different way.

Recently, Invisibilia featured an episode entitled “The Secret Emotional Life Of Clothes”, which explores 7 different stories to examine how what we wear affects us more than we might think. The most poignant story, in my opinion, was their analysis of the theory of “enclothed cognition“, based upon a study in which participants were asked to complete a simple stroop test.

Some participants completed the test in their regular clothes, while others were asked to complete the test while wearing a white doctors coat. The study found that on average, participants wearing a white lab coat made fewer than half of the errors made by the other study group.

Interestingly, some participants were also asked to complete the test while wearing a white coat, but were told that it was a painter’s coat rather than a doctor’s coat. In these cases, participants also were not as accurate as those who believed they were wearing a white doctor’s coat.

This is an interesting exploration of how feeling like you are dressed professionally gives you more confidence and actually enables you to perform better intellectually. It is surprising that the simple act of putting on a white doctor’s lab coat would actually make you perform better on a test, but the proof is in the pudding.

Resew Button Onto Lab Coat

How To Sew A Button Back Onto A Lab Coat

No matter how good the quality of your clothes, including but not limited to your white doctor’s coat, there will be instances of seams coming loose or buttons falling off. That is just the nature of clothing, but with a little sewing know-how, you can do some of these wear-and-tear-repairs from your home.

Everyone should have at their home a mini travel sewing kit – these come with threads of many colors, needles, a pin, and a needle threader (so you don’t have to squint at the eye of that needle to get the thread through!) and a small pair of scissors. If you don’t already have one, they cost about $6 at your local drugstore and are always small enough to fit in a handbag.

Mini Travel Sewing Kit

Re-sew a button

  1. Choose your thread color and cut a length 2x longer than the amount you think you’ll need.
  2. Thread your needle, looping the thread around and retying it at both ends, creating a giant loop of thread with the needle hanging. This is a handy way to keep the thread from falling out of the needle, and saves you time rethreading your needle. It also creates the knot you’ll need to prevent your thread from falling out.
  3. Align the button with the other buttons on your lab coat, and push the threaded needle up through the fabric and through one hole in the button. Use a pin between the stitch you have made and where the next stitch will go to in order to keep from stitching the button too tight. Push the needle down through the hole, through the fabric, and pull the thread all the way through with your needle.
  4. Repeat this process, crisscrossing your thread in an x-shape if its a 4-hole button, until the button is secure.
  5. Push the needle into the fabric under a place that the button covers and make a 3 more stitches to secure the thread further.

Sewing Button Onto Lab Coat

Lab Coat Germs

Do White Coats Really Spread Germs?

Over the last few years a debate has begun about the deficiencies of lab coats worn in doctors’ practices and clinical settings. Most criticisms have to do with the spread of germs and a lack of hygiene. On the surface, these claims seem to make sense – but dive a little deeper, and you’ll actually see that this threat is mostly bark with very little bite. As a matter of fact, with the proper care and worn in the right settings, the white coat is still very much an integral part of the patient care experience.

The white coat of today comes in performance fabrics that help doctors reduce the likelihood of spreading germs. Because the fact is, germs and bacteria are everywhere anyways – take off your white coat and you have bacteria on your arms and hands. There simply is no escaping all the bacteria, but there also hasn’t been any research that indicates doctors’ lab coats spread bacteria in cases of hospital-acquired infections.

Actually, in the UK health leaders started implementing a “bare below the elbows” policy for doctors with their lab coats. The intention was to prevent the spread of germs through the sleeves of the lab coat, which are the most likely to pick up bacteria throughout the work day. However, studies found that this measure didn’t have a significant effect on the reduction of hospital-acquired infection in patients.

As long as you launder your white coat regularly, there is very little evidence to indicate that lab coats are any more unhygienic than any other garment worn in a clinical setting. I would recommend that you wash your lab coat 3-5 times a week – not only will this reduce the amount of dirt and bacteria day-to-day, but keeping your lab coat fresh at all times is an easy way to prevent the buildup of these in the fabric as well.

Professional Doctor White Coat

What Does A Professional Doctor Look Like?

What is the image that comes to mind when you picture a modern professional?

Your answer will of course depend on what kind of occupation the person has, but there are a few things that are crucial for a professional image regardless of the type of work. For example, a professional businessman would probably wear a beautiful designer suit with impeccable details that fits him well. He would probably match it with a tasteful silk tie and high quality collared shirt. If it’s a businesswoman, she would likely wear a pants suit, or a skirt suit, or a modestly elegant dress.

Notice the key factors here: fits well, detailed construction, high quality garments.

This is no different in the medical industry! Like it or not, people judge a book by it’s cover every time they meet someone new. In the patient-physician relationship, your professional appearance can set the entire tone – are you wearing a shabby, ill-fitting lab coat? Your patient will notice, and they will subconsciously form an opinion of you that may not reflect your true level of professionalism.

As a doctor, it’s really important to keep in mind the image you are presenting to the outside world. Having a lab coat that fits like a tailored jacket is important, as is the quality of the fabric and construction. These details make a significant difference in making you look professional. After all, you worked hard for years to get that white coat – why not choose one that reflects your level of skill and sacrifice?