One of the most important cooking gear I own is oven mitts. It fits me snugly while protecting me from hot surfaces.
I have collected different designs and materials like silicon, neoprene, cotton, etc. I use them frequently on the stovetop, oven, and even on the grill.
Recently I have been noticing stains and dirt on them. I wonder if I can wash them.
Yes, you can wash your oven mitts. How to wash them depends on the material and the manufacturing instructions that come with the mitts.
Allow me to go into detail about the different types of oven mitts and the different ways of washing them.
But first, let us briefly understand the workings of the oven mitt.
Oven mitts work on the principle of low conduction.
The materials used to manufacture oven mitts have low conduction – which means that it prevents heat transfer from the vessel to the hands.
When you use oven mitts, your hands are well covered and protected against burns while giving you a good grip and preventing accidental slips.
These are great accessories for handling hot cookware such as skillets, baking sheets, griddles, pizza pans, cast iron pots, roasting pans, cookie sheets, etc.
Oven mitts are mostly shaped like a small pocket for the thumb and a big compartment for the other fingers of the hand. This design is the signature of the term ‘mitts’.
Oven gloves, on the other hand, have a separate compartment for all the fingers.
Nowadays, the oven mitts are designed to offer dual protection – an inner insulated lining and an outer layer.
They are available in different lengths and sizes.
For everyday kitchen needs, an oven mitt extending from the fingertips to the wrist is sufficient.
Let us now look at the different types of oven mitts based on the material used to make them.
Different Types of Oven Mitts for Daily Use
Here are a few common types of oven mitts
The silicone used in these mitts is FDA approved. It may or may not have an additional internal layer made up of cotton.
Silicone mitts are heat resistant up to 450° F making them quite safe.
Silicone does not damage with exposure to water and has a good grip. They are known to be soft and flexible. However, they wear out faster than cotton.
Neoprene is a synthetic rubber. It is the same material used for making wetsuits. The heat-resistant capacity of neoprene is up to 500° F.
The oven mitts have good flexibility and a strong grip. They are grease, stain, and water-resistant.
Neoprene prevents heat transfer longer than traditional cotton. They are known to be strong and durable.
Neoprene and silicone oven mitts fall under the mid-range category of oven mitts costing between 10-20 dollars.
Cotton oven mitts are the most comfortable mitts around. They are breathable, light, and flexible.
However, they are low on heat resistance and suited for quick use at low temperatures up to 200° F.
Some manufacturers mix up cotton with other heat-resistant materials to increase their heat resistance capacity.
These are the least expensive of the lot, costing anywhere from 5 to 10 dollars.
Aramid Fabrics (Kevlar and Nomex) Oven Mitts
These fabrics are extremely heat resistant from 500° F up to 900° F.
Kevlar is used to make bulletproof vests and Nomex is used for making clothes for firefighters and astronauts.
Aramid fabric mitts are mostly used by chefs in commercial kitchens. They are also flame resistant.
Oven mitts made of aramid fabrics offer protection from high heat and open flames. These are long-lasting and heavy-duty mitts.
As they provide superior performance, they are the most expensive oven mitts costing anywhere between 15-40 dollars for a pair.
How to Wash Oven Mitts?
The first step is to follow the manufacturing instructions. Read the label carefully. It might be tucked inside the mitts and you may have to turn it inside out.
You might find washing instructions such as
- Do not machine wash
- Hand washing only
- Remove trim decorations, etc.
If you don’t find any instructions, visit the manufacturing website.
Find out the material your oven mitts are made up of and follow the techniques mentioned below
Testing the Material of the Oven Mitt
Take a gallon full of warm water. Add half a cup of mild detergent and mix.
Soak and wring a cotton washcloth in the solution. Dab and clean your oven mitt with it.
Let the solution remain on the oven mitt for half an hour.
If there is no stain or discoloration, you can go ahead and wash your mitt either by hand or in the washing machine by following any of the two methods covered next.
If it gets damaged, faded, or discolored, skip the following methods. Just wipe them with a cotton cloth wrung with cold water.
Do not use soap. This is because some materials don’t hold up well when exposed to chemicals found in detergents.
Hand Washing your Oven Mitts
Soak your oven mitts in a warm soapy solution for 20 mins to half an hour. Wring them out and rinse with warm or cold water.
Make sure to rinse away all traces of dish soap. You don’t want those mitts to slip or become stiff.
Allow it to dry up completely for a day before using the oven mitts again.
If your oven mitts are washing machine safe, wash them according to the manufacturing instructions.
A gentle /quick cycle with a mild soapy solution is usually recommended for machine washable oven mitts by manufacturers.
Do not use hot or lukewarm water to wash them in the machine even if they are labeled heat safe. Use room temperature or cold water.
Some examples of machine washable mitts are cotton oven mitts, neoprene, and aramid fabric oven mitts.
Some silicone oven mitts like oxo silicone oven mitts are machine washable.
If your mitts have nasty stains that refuse to go away, you can try soaking them with a baking soda solution for a natural degreasing effect.
You can also try soaking nastily stained oven mitts overnight in warm water.
Here are some frequently asked questions
Washing oven mitt in a washing machine is NOT recommended unless approved by the manufacturer.
Some oven mitt materials may not hold up under strong detergent.
It is best to soak them in water or wipe them with a damp cloth after every use and hang them up to dry.
If they are washer safe, use mild detergent and a quick cycle. Do not use hot water as the oven mitts might melt. Use cold water with a gentle cycle setting in your washing machine.
Check the instructions to find out the cycle duration recommended by the manufacturer.
Generally, oven mitts are not meant to be washed. They are meant to protect your hands from hot surface exposure.
It is best to clean them after each use. Just wipe them with a damp cloth and hang them up to dry.
They might get damaged in the washer. Unless specified by the manufacturer, do not soak them in soapy water or hot water solution.
If they are dishwasher safe, do not place them together as they might melt and stick to each other.
Place them separately in the top rack of the washer. Check labels to see how long you can place them inside the washer.
Plastics will not get cleaned up well inside the dishwasher. Handwash them by using warm water and soap.
I would not recommend placing oven mitts in the dryer. Dryer sheets help to remove wrinkles. Oven mitts might stick and melt to each other or other fabrics.
I would recommend hanging them up to dry and leaving them for a day before using them again.
It all depends on your comfort, need, and choice. If you do not bake frequently and have short exposures to hot surfaces, cotton oven mitts would be fine
If you frequently bake and handle hot cookware in the kitchen, a silicone oven mitt would be perfect. If you are looking for strong and sturdy grips, choose neoprene or silicone oven mitts.
Silicon mitts can withstand heat for a longer duration compared to other materials.
For barbecue, aramid fabrics, neoprene and silicone are the best oven mitts. With aramid fabrics, you can also touch hot coals.
It is best to have long-length oven mitts for barbecue. It will protect your hands and elbows from open flames and direct heat.
Just make sure the size fits your hand.
Summing up, oven mitts are best washed by cleaning with a damp cloth and hanging them up to dry after each use.
It is best to follow the manufacturing instructions as different materials react differently to detergent and water.
For washing the mitts, read the product label and test the oven mitts material with a mild soapy solution.
Depending on the results either wipe them dry, wash them by hand, or use a washer. Clean your mitts by following the steps above. Now that your mitts are cleaned up, enjoy your baking!
Other articles you may also like: