Cloth Scrub Caps vs Disposable Surgical Caps: Effective at preventing contamination in the OR

Cleanliness is a foundational pillar in healthcare. Maintaining a sterile environment for surgery in the operating room is one of the most important requirements for successful surgeries. Before beginning the actual surgical procedure a surgeon and the team do a lot of preparations from prepping the OR to prepping themselves. These preparations include everyone attending the OR to dress properly - in which case, scrubs are used. 

One of the essential parts of this attire is a scrub cap. Recently there has been a lot of discussion over the best scrub caps as there are many options available in the market. An alternative to the disposable surgical caps are the cloth scrub caps that can be made in a variety of styles and designs.


Purpose of Head Coverings in the Operating Room:

Do Scrub Caps Prevent Infection?

Absolutely. The main purpose of scrub caps is to prevent the shedding of hair and skin particles. It reduces the risk of contamination in the operating room. Both cloth and disposable caps play an important role in maintaining a sterile environment during surgical procedures in the OR.

To help you in making an informed decision we have compared the cloth scrub cap and disposable scrub cap below. Let's read!

Disposable Surgical Caps:

Disposable caps are typically made from non-woven fabrics. They offer convenience both in use and in their disposability. It further reduces the risk of potential cross-contamination between surgeries. Let's weigh the associated pros and cons.

Pros of Disposable Surgical Caps:

  • Convenience: Easy to wear and easy to dispose of after each use.
  • Reduced Cross-Contamination: Disposable scrub caps lower the risk of carrying contaminants between surgeries. Hence are considered cleaner.
  • Cost-Effective: comparatively disposable caps are available at cheaper price ranges, but are only intended for single-use.

Cons of Disposable Surgical Caps:

  • Environmental Impact: Contributes to waste and may not be environmentally friendly.
  • Permeability: Studies suggest disposable caps may have larger pores, potentially allowing for greater microbial shed.

Cloth Scrub Caps:

cloth scrub cap

Cloth scrub caps are generally made of cotton fabric, offering breathability while keeping the environment sterile. These caps are both stylish and functional with a interesting print, colors, and styles to cater to individual preferences. Now, let's look at the pros and cons of the cloth scrub caps.

Pros of Cloth Scrub Caps:

  • Durability: Made from high-quality, durable fabric, cloth scrub caps withstand the rigors of daily use by medical professionals.
  • Customization: Available in various prints, colors, and styles to suit personal preferences.
  • Hair Protection: Satin-lined interiors can protect hair against frizz and breakage.

Cons of Cloth Scrub Caps:

  • Washing Requirements: Regular machine washing is necessary, and improper cleaning may lead to contamination.
  • Cost Over Time: While cost-effective in the long run, the initial investment may be higher.

Comparison Between Cloth Scrub Caps and Disposable Surgical Caps:

Cloth Scrub Caps and Disposable Surgical Caps

Recent studies, such as "Hats Off: A Study of Different Operating Room Headgear Assessed by Environmental Quality Indicators," suggest that disposable bouffant caps (disposable surgical caps) exhibit greater permeability and microbial shed compared to cloth scrub caps. This challenges the notion that disposable scrub caps are better in preventing airborne contamination.

Additionally, according to the article “Cloth Caps More Effective Than Disposable Caps at Preventing Contamination in the OR” cloth scrub caps are more effective than disposable caps at preventing contamination. Principal investigator Dr. Troy A. Markel noted that "cloth skull caps are the thicker and have the lowest permeability".

In the ongoing debate of cloth scrub caps vs disposable scrub caps for preventing contamination in the operating room, it's clear that cloth scrub caps comparatively offer better prevention of contamination than disposable ones. 

While disposable caps offer convenience, cloth caps boast durability and thickness. The choice ultimately depends on factors such as effectiveness, cost, environmental impact, and individual preferences.

The Bottom Line

In making this decision, healthcare professionals should consider the specific needs of their environment. The quest for a clean and sterile operating room continues, and the choice of headgear is a significant step in that pursuit.

However, if you’ve already made up your mind to buy stylish and functional cloth scrub caps with fun prints, do visit Sunshine Caps Co. to find the perfect match for your personality and functionality today!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.