Aprons: What Are They & Why Use Them When Cooking?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 4, 2022

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I’m sure you’ve seen them in the kitchen of a restaurant or at a friend’s house. They’re those bib-like things that people wear while cooking, right? Well, not quite.

An apron is a large piece of cloth worn over the front of the body. It’s used to protect clothing and prevent stains when cooking or baking. They’re also used in professional kitchens by chefs, servers, and bartenders as a uniform. 

In this guide, I’ll explain when to use an apron and share some useful tips on choosing the best one for you.

What are aprons

The Pros and Cons of Wearing an Apron in the Kitchen

When it comes to cooking, there are a few things that are essential for any chef. A sharp knife, a good set of pots and pans, and, of course, an apron. But is it really necessary for chefs to wear an apron? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of wearing an apron in the kitchen.

The Pros

  • Aprons are a great way to meet local health codes. Most health codes require chefs and cooks to wear protective and clean garments when cooking and handling food. Aprons are an easy and cost-effective way to meet these requirements.
  • Aprons can help keep your clothes clean. Whether you’re a professional chef or just cooking at home, aprons are a great way to keep your clothes from getting stained or splattered with food.
  • Aprons come in a variety of styles. From bib aprons to waterproof aprons to designer aprons, there’s an apron for every chef.

The Cons

  • Aprons can be hot and uncomfortable. Let’s face it, wearing an apron in a hot kitchen can be pretty uncomfortable.
  • Aprons can be a bit pricey. Depending on the style and material, aprons can be quite expensive.
  • Aprons can be a bit of a hassle. Taking the apron off and on can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you’re in a rush.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide if wearing an apron is right for you. But if you’re a professional chef, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a good apron.

The Benefits of Wearing Striped Aprons for Chefs

Why Wear Striped Aprons?

If you’re a chef just starting out, you may be wondering why you should wear a striped apron. Well, here’s why:

  • Dark-colored and striped aprons are less likely to show stains and require less washing than white aprons.
  • The blue-and-white striped apron was originally a butcher’s apron, but has made its way into the restaurant kitchen in recent decades.
  • Striped aprons can help protect you from hot liquids and other messes that come with the job.
  • Long aprons also provide an extra layer of protection, so you don’t have to worry about getting your clothes dirty.
  • Plus, they come with handy pockets to store all your kitchen tools and appliances.

Why Wear Half Aprons?

Half aprons, or waist aprons, are great for chefs who don’t want to get their chef’s jacket or other clothing messy. They’re also great for waiters and servers, as they come with large pockets for pens and notepads.

How Often Should Chefs Wash Their Aprons?

Chefs should wash their aprons every few days, or after every use if they get particularly messy. If you’re baking, you may want to wash your apron after each use, as flour can get everywhere.

Do You Need an Apron for Cooking at Home?

Heck yeah! Aprons are great for protecting your clothes from spills, stains, and smells. Plus, they provide an extra layer of protection from hot liquids and flames. And if your apron has pockets, you can store oven mitts and washcloths in them.

Who Invented Aprons?

It’s hard to say who invented aprons, as they’ve been around for centuries. But we do know that Assyrian priests and Ancient Egyptian pharaohs used to wear them. So, there you have it – aprons are a timeless fashion statement!

The Benefits of Wearing an Apron in the Kitchen

Safety First

Cooking and baking can be a dangerous business, so it’s important to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Wearing an apron is a great way to protect your upper legs and thighs from any potential flames or high heat.

Stain and Smell Protection

No one wants to walk around with food stains and smells on their clothes, so aprons are the perfect way to keep your uniform clean and fresh. Plus, you can easily switch out a dirty apron for a clean one throughout the day.

Municipal Health Codes

Most municipal health codes don’t require chefs to wear aprons specifically, but they do require protective and clean garments when cooking and handling food. Aprons are an easy and cost-effective way to meet these requirements.

Types of Kitchen Aprons

There are plenty of different types of aprons to choose from, depending on your needs. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Bib Apron: Protects the front upper portion of the body down to the thighs.
  • Waist Apron: Covers the waist and lap area.
  • Bistro Apron: Worn by waiters at upscale restaurants and includes large pockets.
  • Waterproof Apron: Perfect for dishwashers.
  • Disposable Apron: Great for caterers.
  • Woodworking Apron: For hobbyists who are crafting, woodworking, gardening, or sewing.
  • Designer Apron: For homemakers who want to look extra stylish.

Color Options

Gone are the days when chefs only wore white aprons. Nowadays, you can choose between black and a blue-and-white striped pattern. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to ask the kitchen staff what colour they prefer. If you don’t have time, black is always a safe bet.

Why Are Chef’s Aprons So Long?

The length of the apron is for safety reasons. For example, if you’re boiling a hot pot of water, the risk of it spilling over and burning you is reduced if you’re wearing a long apron. It will protect your legs and waist from hot liquids.

Plus, it also offers other benefits, such as preventing stains and smells from getting on your clothes. The large pockets in long aprons also provide chefs with a place to store their tools or appliances.

How Often Should Chefs Wash Their Aprons?

Chefs usually wash their aprons after a few days of wearing them. Most chefs wear the aprons for no more than a week before throwing them in the washing machine and dryer. However, if the apron gets really messy due to spills, then it’s best to wash it right away. Bakers, in particular, need to wash their aprons more often, as they often get flour all over them.

Do You Need an Apron for Cooking at Home?

If you’re cooking something that can get messy, like spaghetti sauce, chilli, or lasagna, then an apron is a must. It’ll protect your clothes from spills, stains, and smells. So, if you’re planning on whipping up a delicious meal, make sure you don an apron first!

Do You Need an Apron for Cooking at Home?

The History of Aprons

Aprons have been around for centuries, so it’s no surprise that no one knows who invented them! But we do know that they were worn by some pretty fancy folks, like Assyrian priests and Ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

In the Middle Ages, aprons were a symbol of cooking and taking care of the household. They were also a common symbol of artists at the time.

Why Do Chefs Wear White?

Chefs wear white to signify cleanliness. It’s easier to spot any spills or stains on a white uniform, so chefs can quickly change their clothes if needed. This helps reduce the risk of cross-contamination or potential allergens ending up in a meal.

Other Parts of a Chef’s Uniform

Chefs also wear:

  • A hat or cap to keep their hair or sweat from falling into the food
  • A jacket with long sleeves to protect from burns and two layers of fabric in case of a grease fire
  • Baggy pants to keep hot spills or flames away from the skin
  • Comfortable shoes with anti-slip soles, since chefs are often on their feet all day

Do You Need an Apron for Cooking at Home?

If you’re cooking something that could get messy, like spaghetti sauce, chilli, or lasagna, an apron is a must-have! It’ll protect your clothes from stains, spills, and smells, and keep you safe from flames and heat. Plus, if your apron has pockets, you can store oven mitts and washcloths in them.

So if you want to look like a real chef in your own kitchen, an apron is the way to go!


Apron Vs Gown

When it comes to medical staff uniforms, you’ll often see them wearing aprons and gowns. Aprons are usually white and have pockets to store equipment like pens and flashlights. They also act as a barrier against infections and keep the doctor’s clothes clean. Plus, a white apron can have a psychological effect on the patient, which is why psychiatrists and pediatricians don’t usually wear them. Aprons are usually made of cotton, linen, or polyester and can be washed at high temperatures for disinfection.

Gowns, on the other hand, come in three types. Disposable isolation gowns are worn when the medical staff is dealing with burns, bone grafts, and splashing discharges. Disposable protective gowns are used to protect the medical team from liquid discharges, and disposable surgical gowns are worn during surgery to protect both the patient and the medical staff from infections. Gowns come in one-piece or two-piece forms and have elastic cuffs and a belt for easy removal.

Apron Vs Coat

Aprons and coats are two types of protective clothing that are often used in the workplace. Aprons are great for protecting the upper body from splashes and spills, as well as providing coverage for the upper legs and knees. If you’re dealing with tasks that require you to be at knee-height, an apron is the way to go. On the other hand, if you need full coverage of the upper body, a welding jacket or coat is the way to go.

When it comes to comfort, aprons are usually the more comfortable option. They’re lightweight and don’t restrict movement, making them ideal for tasks that require a lot of movement. Coats, on the other hand, are usually more bulky and can be quite restrictive. So if you’re looking for something that’s comfortable and provides full coverage, an apron is the way to go.


In conclusion, aprons are a must-have for any aspiring chef or home cook. Not only do they protect you from spills, splashes, and stains, but they also keep you safe from any high heat or flames that may arise while cooking. Plus, they look super stylish! So, if you’re looking to up your kitchen game, make sure you invest in a good quality apron. Just remember: when it comes to aprons, don’t be a fashion faux pas – KEEP IT CLASSY!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.