How to take care of your x ray lead apron

X-ray aprons are critical pieces of equipment (along with lead glasses) needed to protect radiology staff.

Not only do you need to choose carefully to make sure they adequately fit your needs, but you also need to give them the proper care, making sure that they will effectively protect the wearers and last long enough to cut down your costs.

To achieve this goal, you should know how to inspect, clean, store, and dispose of your lead apron properly. In this article, you’ll find general guidelines for each of these tasks, followed by our tips to help you extend the lifespan of your x ray aprons.


X ray aprons are radiation protection, making them sensitive equipment that should be inspected on a regular basis. The division of Health Service Regulation of the State of North Carolina recommends inspecting them fluoroscopically at least annually, or per the manufacturer's recommendations. The goal here is to make sure the X ray aprons provide an appropriate level of radiation protection. The annual check should also include a visual inspection and tactile evaluation to detect holes, cracks, or tears.

We recommend marking each x ray apron with a unique identification number and date of first use. This will help manage any sized fleet and make sure that records are properly registered under the right identifier.


Guidelines from the State of North Carolina are very clear on this topic. They stipulate that X ray aprons should be cleaned and deodorized by scrubbing with a soft bristle brush. They also specifically ask to never use products containing bleach and to never machine launder or dry-clean.

Our tip: cleaning your apron on a daily basis will ensure no stains, or any kind of soil, deeply mark your radiation protection equipment. Cleaning does not require excessive force or scrubbing and no harsh products are necessary. As a result, when cleaning is done properly, it serves to extend the lifetime of your apron rather than damage it.


Since X ray aprons are fragile pieces of equipment, they should be handled with care and properly stored. When deciding on a storage solution, radiologists should take into consideration that the goal here is to avoid frequent falling, dropping, piling, and improper storing, as they can lead to internal fracture of the lead layer, reducing or nullifying the effectiveness of the radiation protection. Lead aprons should never be folded. Cracks in the lead lining can develop at the fold, reducing the lifespan of the apron. X ray aprons should ideally be stored on dedicated racks to prevent internal cracks and tears. An alternative solution would be to store them flat if racks are not available.

Whenever you need to transport aprons from one facility to another or between departments, we recommend rolling them up loosely. However, make sure to unroll them as soon as possible, as leaving them rolled for a prolonged time can diminish their lifespan.


X ray lead aprons must be properly disposed when they no longer offer sufficient radiation protection. We recommend contacting a disposable service in your area that can properly discard lead material. These companies usually have a pick-up service, or alternatively they will have a drop-off program set up.

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