How to Get Fluoride Varnish Out of Scrubs

By Young Dental on May, 28 2019
How to Get Fluoride Varnish Out of Scrubs
Young Dental

We take great pride in developing innovative dental hygiene products that are manufactured in the USA.

Fluoride varnish: the notoriously sticky substance that's probably ruined a pair or two of your scrubs 😡 How on earth do you get varnish stains out? We put several popular treatments to the test and actually found something that works! 


The Setup


We started with 4 globs of varnish on our favorite pink scrubs 😬 (Yes, it hurt to do it.) While the varnish dried, we gathered up 4 common stain fighters that we had around the house. 

1. Hydrogen Peroxide 

2. Rubbing Alcohol

3. Dawn Dish Soap 

4. OxiClean

Why did we choose these four in particular? 🤔 Mostly because they were on hand, but also because they are known for their stain-removing power. Hydrogen peroxide is great at removing natural stains like blood and grass, while rubbing alcohol is a must-have for ink stains. Dawn dish soap is great at cutting grease and OxiClean is said to work best on set-in stains.


The Experiment

IMG_3781Once we had all of our supplies in place, we grabbed our "laundry" toothbrush (no, the irony did not escape us!) and began gently scrubbing each stain.

How long? Maybe 30 seconds or a minute for each glob of varnish.

Once treated, we let the wet spots sit for about five minutes, like this:



IMG_3801The Wash

Next, we let the scrubs soak in soapy room-temp water for about 20 minutes. Then we tossed them into the washing machine using a normal cold-wash cycle recommended on the scrubs' tag (go ahead and follow whatever recommended washing instructions come on your particular brand of scrubs).

Then, we tossed them in the dryer.


 The Results

 And the winner is ... RUBBING ALCOHOL ✨ Hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap really struggled with the stains, while OxiClean made a slightly noticeable difference. But rubbing alcohol is a fluoride varnish magician, leaving no traces behind. Just look at it!


Keep in mind, these were FRESH varnish stains. Now that we had washed and dried our stained scrubs, we created some stubborn set-in stains. Could rubbing alcohol tackle those, too?

We decided to dab the three remaining stains with rubbing alcohol to see.


Again, we let the treatment sit 5 minutes; soaked the scrubs for 20 minutes in soapy room-temp water; washed them based on the tag-recommended cycle; and then gave them another spin through the dryer.

The outcome?


As you can see, rubbing alcohol wasn't quite as effective on the more stubborn set-in stains, but they disappeared enough to make the scrubs wearable again. Going through the same exercise again and again would likely continue to make a difference.


There you have it! If you have some scrubs dotted with fluoride varnish (and we're betting you do), maybe give rubbing alcohol a try. But first, here are a few things to consider before trying this at home:

  • Be VERY careful when using rubbing alcohol on your stain. It will take the finish off of some surfaces, including wood (like it did on our cute wooden tray! Oops!) and can make colors bleed on certain fabrics. Make sure to spot test first and use on a surface that won’t get damaged.
  • Do not use rubbing alcohol on acetate, acrylic, rayon, wool or silk fabrics. Our test-dummy scrubs were polyester.

  • If possible, try to treat the stain while it’s fresh or before it goes through a wash cycle. Washing and drying will set the stain and it won’t come out as easily. If your stain is stubborn, it may take a few treatments of rubbing alcohol with your laundry toothbrush.


To Recap

1. Use a laundry toothbrush to apply rubbing alcohol on your (preferably fresh) varnish stain
2. Once treated, let sit for about 5 minutes
3. Soak in soapy room-temp water for about 20 minutes
4. Machine wash using the tag-recommended cycle
5. Repeat as necessary until stains disappear


If you've treated varnish stains with rubbing alcohol, or have another varnish stain magician up your sleeve, share it with us in the comments! 👇


New call-to-action

Submit a Comment

Stay up to date