For many radiologic technologists, MRI technologists and radiologists, radiation shielding gear is a critical and daily necessity. But like any garments you wear on a regular basis – they get dirty.
For lead and non-lead aprons, vest and skirts, you should be aware of the best ways to sanitize them from sweat, blood, iodine and typical dust and dirt.
Our standard recommendations for apron care can be found here – and although we are confident in the information we provide to our customers, we wanted to put our advice to the test by experimenting with our care methods and analyzing the results.
To ensure a high level of sanitation accuracy, our quality assurance department performed an extended test in the lab to confirm, or deny, the effectiveness of our care instructions.
Our recommended cleaning solutions were used to soak the Xenolite sheet, that is the core x-ray blocking sheet without fabric encasing it. This is a more aggressive test as the fabric that normally shields the Xenolite sheet from the cleaning solution was not present. The following concentrated cleaning and disinfecting solutions were used, and diluted with tap water according to the manufacturer directions. They were also prepared as more concentrated solutions for a more aggressive test:
- Clorox Pro Quaternary All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner
- Lysol Fiberlock I.C. Quaternary Disinfectant Cleaner
- Fiberlock IAQ 2000 Disinfectant Cleaner
- BDD Bacdown Detergent Disinfectant
After soaking the Xenolite sheet in the two strengths of each disinfectant solution (normal recommended dilution and more concentrated) for various lengths of time, and appropriate water-only controls, all samples were then checked for changes in several material properties using a tensile testing machine.
The test measured yield stress, ultimate tensile strength and elastic modulus to judge whether the cleaning solutions led to significant change.
It was determined that when used as directed for short contact times, the cleaning/disinfectant solutions recommended by Lite Tech for Xenolite containing aprons negligibly affected ultimate strength, yield stress and elongation of the x-ray blocking sheet within.
When Xenolite sheet was contacted with more concentrated solutions for prolonged periods of time (overnight) there was a slight chance that some minor softening of the sheet could occur. However, Lite Tech does not recommend this practice.
Overall, the tested cleaners appear to be appropriate for Xenolite X-ray aprons when used as directed and for short contact times.
Takeaways & Tips
- Customers should follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaner and disinfectant usage and avoid repetitive, prolonged treatment at high cleaner concentrations as it may potentially cause some softening of the Xenolite sheet within if the cleaning solution soaks through the fabric and onto the sheet.
- The recommended technique for cleaning Xenolite garments is to wipe the surface of the apron with a rag or cloth, followed by rinsing with a moistened cloth and then wiped dry.
- When storing, do not fold your apron. Over long times this could lead to cracks in the shielding material. Instead, invest in an apron rack that is equipped to accommodate your protective gear.
- Be wary of using cleaning instructions from competitors to care for your Xenolite X-ray apron, as they may use different materials than our products.
- For transportation, the garments should be carefully rolled-up and place in a structured box or tube.
All Lite Tech fabrics are “non-stretch” or limited-stretch woven fabrics, which are effectively distinguished from competitors’ stretchy knit-based coated fabrics. Stretchy and coated fabrics can be vulnerable to de-lamination, coating adhesion and wear issues.
Lite Tech recommends hospitals conduct annual inspections of all aprons. For more information about determining your organization’s needs and/or placing an order, contact us today.