Women have been wearing aprons since 1300 AD to protect their clothing and reduce their workloads. Susanna Wesley may be credited for the most unusual use, putting her apron over her head as a signal to her 19 children that now was not a good time to approach Mom.

But now that aprons have generally fallen out of use, should we revive this historical trend? When you wear an apron, it helps to protect your clothing from stains, cut down on your laundry loads, and protect your skin from absorbing grime and chemicals.

Aprons protect your clothing from food disasters.

Even if you’re not baking, cooking in the kitchen can take a toil on your clothing. It only takes one spatter of oil to leave what looks like a permanent water mark on your shirt. Now you’re required to take time to remove the stains or throw the shirt out and lets face it; we know which of those is easier.

Spaghetti sauce will leap from the pan onto your shirt. And remember that instant irritation that comes when you lean over the sink, only to find the water from the counter seeps onto your shirt? Avoid this by doing what Grandma did and don an apron to put a barrier between you and kitchen calamities.

Aprons cut down on laundry.

Growing up, my family referred to the laundry pile as “Mount Everest.” Conquering that mountain was a daily challenge. Remember, your apron is a shield, so anytime you’re doing chores that you normally finish by brushing off your clothing, you could avoid the need for a fresh pair of clothes by using your apron. Better to wash one garment with a new load, than change multiple times in a day and create twice as many loads.

Aprons give you a place to dry your hands.

I rinse my hands when I cook and clean—a lot. It seems like a small thing but having the apron to dry them on is my favorite reason for wearing one. It cuts down on paper towels or searching for the drying rag. It also helps me avoid my habit of wiping them on my pants, ending up with stains, wet spots and/or wrinkles.

Aprons protect your health.

If you’re the type of person who uses chemical cleaners instead of natural cleansing agents, having an apron can help you avoid getting the chemicals onto the clothes next to your skin. Your skin can absorb these chemicals and cause health issues, so every barrier you use to avoid contact will help you stay healthier.

Whether it’s protecting you from stains, dirt, water, or chemicals, your apron is a big ally. Wearing an apron can help you cut down on paper towel waste and wear and tear on your clothes. It can help you avoid needing to change into fresh clothing that will double your laundry load from that day. While donning one may leave you feeling a bit like a Disney princess, women who have tried it know the truth: your apron is not just a fashion accessory. It’s a shield.

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