How Often Should Aprons Be Changed or Washed at Restaurants?

Restaurants need to ensure a hygienic and safe working environment for staff, as well as customers, which requires daily apron changes and washing. With regular washing, aprons remain fresh and free from contaminants, helping to create a safe and clean environment for both staff and patrons.

Aprons are invaluable in a restaurant environment. They contribute to the overall look and feel of an establishment, helping employees look uniform and convey the aesthetic of the restaurant. Aprons also help shield staff from potential hazards while upholding hygiene standards by preventing cross contamination.

Certain situations necessitate more frequent apron changes in restaurants. When there are spills, stains or handling of raw meats and fish, it is imperative staff put on new aprons and place the contaminated ones in the laundry immediately.

Furthermore, exposure to smelly items such as garlic or cleaning chemicals might also indicate the need for an apron change in order to ensure neither employees nor patrons have to inhale the odor.

The Value of Aprons in the Restaurant Setting

Aprons are indispensable assets in the restaurant industry. Here are some of the benefits of aprons in restaurants:

Safety and Protection of Staff

Aprons provide vital protection to restaurant staff in potentially hazardous environments. In the kitchen, aprons shield chefs from hot liquids, oil spills and other accidents. Similarly, dining area servers benefit from wearing an apron to protect them from spills.

Hygiene Standards Maintenance

Aprons play an essential part in upholding hygiene standards. By acting as a barrier between staff clothing and food preparation areas, aprons can help to prevent cross contamination. They can ensure a clean and hygienic working environment by protecting the work area from any contaminants that might be on the employee’s clothes.

Professional Appearance

Aprons add to a professional appearance, whether they are bright white aprons worn by kitchen staff or brightly colored aprons worn by hostesses or waitstaff. They help to pull together the look of the uniform as a whole and create a cohesive look for the staff. 

Practicality and Function 

Practicality and functionality are hallmarks of an apron’s design. Boasting multiple pockets and compartments, aprons allow staff members to carry essential tools and items conveniently. Servers can store pens, order pads and other necessities, whereas chefs can keep thermometers, recipe cards and utensils in an easily accessible place. Doing this saves time for employees while also streamlining operations and increasing efficiency.

Branding and Advertising

Aprons provide an opportunity for branding and exposure. Customized with the restaurant’s logo, slogan or emblem, they turn staff members into walking advertisements. This exposure helps to promote the restaurant’s brand, raise awareness among customers and potentially lead to increased patronage and loyalty.

How Often Should Aprons Be Changed at a Restaurant?

Aprons in restaurants should be regularly changed based on several key considerations. It is recommended staff follow these steps:

  • Check the apron regularly. Inspect aprons regularly to make sure they remain in excellent condition. Replace an apron immediately if it is damaged, stained or has worn areas.

  • Change them every shift. In busy restaurants, staff members usually wear the same apron for a full shift. As a general rule, they remove aprons and put them in a laundry bin at the end of each shift. New aprons should be provided to employees for every shift.

  • Change immediately when contaminated. If an apron becomes stained with a hazardous substance or has strong odors, replace it promptly. Doing this can help to avoid cross contamination and maintain cleanliness, which is important for keeping staff and patrons safe.

  • Color code aprons for different positions. If your restaurant uses different colors for different staff roles or areas, change aprons when staff members switch roles or move between designated areas to help maintain hygiene and prevent cross contamination.

  • Maintain a regular laundering schedule. Establish a regular schedule for washing aprons based on use. Depending on how busy the restaurant is, aprons might need to be washed daily or more frequently. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying to maintain quality.

  • Prioritize personal hygiene. Train staff members to change aprons that have become visibly dirty or contaminated, even if it is before the designated changing time. Encouraging good personal hygiene practices is essential.

Which Situations Would Warrant More Frequent Apron Changes in Restaurants?

In restaurants, there are specific situations that call for more frequent apron changes to ensure cleanliness and safety. Some guidelines for managing this process include the following:

  • Spills and stains: If a staff member’s apron is heavily soiled with food, sauces or drinks because of spills or accidents, it is important for the staff member to change it immediately. Doing this helps to maintain a clean and presentable appearance while avoiding cross contamination.

  • Handling raw meats and fish: When dealing with raw meats or fish, there is a higher risk of contamination. Therefore, aprons worn while doing these tasks should be changed promptly to prevent the spread of bacteria to other surfaces or food items.

  • Strong odors: Some ingredients or cleaning agents can leave strong odors on aprons. If an apron absorbs potent smells such as garlic or cleaning chemicals, it is best to replace it to prevent odor transfer, which can affect the taste and smell of food.

  • Personal hygiene: Encourage staff members to change their aprons if they notice it has visible dirt, stains or odors during their shift. This practice ensures a professional appearance and helps to maintain a clean environment as well as good personal hygiene.

  • Allergen safety: Staff members who handle allergenic ingredients must take steps to prevent cross contamination, including immediately changing an apron that comes into contact with an allergen. Doing this can help to avoid transmitting these allergens onto other foods and potentially triggering an allergic reaction in customers.

  • Multitasking or role changes: Staff members who switch between different tasks or roles may require more frequent apron changes. For instance, a server helping with food preparation or cleaning should change their apron before serving patrons.

  • Health and safety compliance: Ahead of health and safety inspections, it is essential to ensure all aprons are clean and in good condition. Doing this might involve more frequent apron changes to meet the standards set by regulatory authorities.

Alsco Can Help You Create a Polished Image

Alsco offers industry-leading uniform rental services that can elevate your business. Our dedicated team will create a personalized plan tailored to meet your unique requirements and regular laundering schedules. 

Enjoy the ease of never worrying about clean aprons again. We take care of supplying fresh aprons as well as collecting dirty ones and laundering them. Our rental services eliminate storage and laundering hassles and you never have to worry about the state of your aprons. If any are torn or stained, we immediately replace them. 

Contact us today to learn more about our apron and uniform rental services. We will ensure your aprons are always fresh and clean so you don’t have to. 


Food Safety Education Month: Preventing Cross-Contamination. (September 2022). Food Safety and Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Our Favorite Kitchen Aprons. (November 2020). The New York Times

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