What is the best way to care for my lead x-ray apron?

Proper care and maintenance not only keeps your apron looking good, it will help maintain the garment’s safe performance. Furthermore, failure to properly care for your apron may void its manufacturer’s warranty.

Here are some guidelines to maintain your apron’s protection for years to come:

Inspection
It is recommended that you inspect your x-ray apron upon receipt and at regular intervals as determined under your radiation safety program.

During a plain film radiographic inspection you may observe:

  • Light spots (small or large) may appear, indicating localized thicker attenuating content particles. This effect increases radiation protection and should be of no concern.
  • Darker shaded areas usually indicate a thickness variation in the material. If a sharp edge defines the darker area, this may be the result of damage to one or more of the garment’s two to five plies of protective material. This is often caused by misuse and/or improper handling of the garment (i.e. folding, draping or creasing the garments).
  • A small amount of dark spots, often referred to as “pin holing,” can appear. This is part of the manufacturing process and spots 5 mm in diameter or smaller pose no risk. Contact the manufacturer if you find dark spots or holes larger than 5 mm or an area which shows many small spots clumped together.
  • Dark lines usually indicate possible cracks or severe thinning in the material. This is normally caused by one or more plies cracking or deteriorating as a result of misuse, mishandling, or age.

Apron Care

  • Don’t fold, crease, drape or sit down tightly on your garments. Consider apron and glove racks to store your protective apparel.
  • Cleaning: Keep your garment clean by wiping away stains as soon as possible, using cold water and mild detergent, or a product designed specifically for apron cleaning, such as Scrubbles. Do not autoclave.
  • Hook-and-Loop Closure must be secured properly to avoid snagging or tearing of fabric. Always store apron with Hook-and-Loop Closure closed.

Information courtesy of Shielding International

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