Kitchen Kit: The Oil Cloth Apron


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Images from the justwipe.co.uk website

One of the most useful tools around the kitchen is an apron – I’m sure I don’t need to explain why!  However, in recent years the oil cloth version, my preferred type, has apparently become really unpopular as it has become nearly impossible to find.   Every single one I see in shops is the basic fabric type which I don’t like at all.

The oil cloth apron is better (in my opinion) than the basic fabric type for three main reasons:

  1. It protects your clothes more – splashes from the hob/food processor/hand blender/sink don’t go through an oil cloth apron, whereas a strong splash will go through a fabric one and end up on your clothes underneath.
  2. It is far easier to clean – take a wet cloth and wipe it down.  It doesn’t need to go in the wash and it doesn’t stain (unless you have an old one with cracks where the fabric is unprotected – those cracks will stain).
  3. It doesn’t need ironing as it never goes through the wash!

The only real downside to them are that they do age – the oil cloth finish will wear thin anywhere where you habitually crease it (so don’t sit at the table in it) and the creases do eventually turn into cracks.  However, they probably last longer than fabric ones in terms of staining.  I love to cook with tomatoes and turmeric (not necessarily at the same time), the two worst staining offenders of all time.  So this is is a major consideration for me – it might not bother you if you tend not to cook with ingredients that stain.

In recent years, I’ve only found them in two places – either in tourist shops (with the requisite novelty patterns) or online.  One great place which I’ve repeatedly ordered from is www.justwipe.co.uk.  They offer a bundle of 10 for £50 or you can choose your preferred pattern for £9.99 each – with a range of patterns, including plain and seasonal patterns as well as patterns resembling ones from famous designers such as Orla Keily and Cath Kidston, there should be something you like.  Every few years I buy the bundle of 10, pick my favourite from the random selection they send to replace one of my worn ones (I have 3 on the go at a time – so there is one for every person who might be cooking at one time), and distribute the rest as Christmas gifts to people I know who like them – at £5 per apron, that’s a real bargain gift!


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Image from the justwipe.co.uk website