What Type of Surgical Scrub Cap is Most Effective: Fabric VS. Disposable Caps?

What Type of Surgical Scrub Cap is Most Effective: Fabric VS. Disposable Caps?

One of the most intriguing debates in the medical world is which type of Surgical Scrub Cap is most effective – a fabric or cloth cap or one that is disposable?  Let's debate the evidence: Fabric VS. Disposable Caps - which Scrub Cap is better?



This was studied by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) which recommended cloth scrub caps overall.  Their study found out that a disposable cap was the least effective barrier to transmission of particles. The Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses cites study by Dr. Markel that tested disposable banded bouffants and disposable skull caps and newly laundered cloth caps in a mock surgical procedure. The researchers found no significant differences in particles or actively sampled microbial contamination between disposable bouffant and disposable skull caps. They did find however, that disposable bouffant hats had significantly higher microbial shed at the sterile field.  Dr. Markel’s research concluded that cloth surgical scrub caps are best at minimizing airborne contamination in the operating room, but they must be laundered daily. 

Which type of cap is more comfortable to wear a cloth cap or a disposable cap? Fabric VS. Disposable Caps

Cloth caps are generally more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, as they are made from soft, breathable materials. Disposable caps can sometimes feel scratchy or uncomfortable, especially if worn for long shifts.

Ultimately, the choice between cloth caps and disposable caps will depend on your specific needs and preferences. You might also consider factors such as cost, environmental impact, protection, and comfort when making your decision.

Your institution may also play a factor in this decision as they may have rules and regulations on what can be worn in the operating room, for example.  Some may even wear a disposable cap over their cloth fabric cap.

The Bottom Line: Fabric VS. Disposable Caps

Surgical Scrub Caps, no matter which style you choose, are just one of the many garments used in operating room to protect yourself and your patients. However, just wearing a Surgical Scrub Cap isn’t enough. 

If you choose a Cloth or Fabric cap, you must wash your cloth scrub cap after each use. Sparkling EARTH has many beautiful cloth caps in a variety of styles that fit virtually everyone.  They come in 100% Cotton in solid and a variety of patterned fabrics.  We recommend washing our Surgical Scrub Caps, Riley Comfort Scrub Caps (European Fit), Banded Bouffant Surgical Scrub Caps (Ponytail Cap), and the Big Hair Surgical Scrub Caps (Ponytail Cap) with warm water (40-60° Celsius) daily. 

Likewise, if you use a Disposable Cap, you must dispose of it after each patient to avoid cross contamination. Our Disposable Banded Bouffant Surgical Scrub Caps (Ponytail Cap) are patterned after our cloth caps and can be tied in a ponytail to keep your hair back during long days in surgery or in the procedure room.

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