Few pieces of kitchenware get quite the use your oven mitts do, and the need for your mitts to be in good shape is fairly obvious. They aren't something you can keep around in poor condition and squeeze a little extra use out of. A scalded hand or finger is a painful lesson to learn, and avoiding it altogether is ideal. So do your oven mitts wear out, and when will you need to replace them if so? We here at KitchenSeer have looked into it down below.
Oven mitts are made to survive the punishment they're inherently going to go through. If you've purchased mitts of good quality and take care of them well, they should last several years. But be on the lookout, and at the sight of any scorch marks or tears, replace them because when the material is compromised, its ability to do its job decreases.
Your good quality oven mitts will last if properly taken care of, but be smart. Remain on the lookout for damage and wear and tear, and don't hesitate to replace your mitts if wondering about them. We'll go into more detail about the nuances of the life of your oven mitts down below.
Are you supposed to wash oven mitts?
Whether one needs to clean their oven mitts or not is a question the frequently arises. Your mitts don't usually come into contact with food and don't tend to get super dirty. Outside of the obvious toss into the laundry basket should heavy stains arise, do you need to wash your oven mitts?
It is generally good practice to do so, usually every couple of months or as needed. Food residue will likely make its way to your mitts eventually, creating greasy residue and a general mess. Along with that, germs can congregate on your oven mitts with a fair amount of ease. These can both be from food products or your hands as you use your mitts. Considering sanitation on any tools found in your kitchen is never a poor idea.
Don't fret excessively, however. Washing your hands frequently and keeping your kitchen clean will help with any germs you might otherwise need to combat. Give your mitts a good wash every few months, making sure not to go overboard. Repeated unnecessary washes will likely speed up the decline of the fabric of your mitts.
How do you clean greasy oven mitts?
If you have mitts with grease stains that need cleaning, there are easy solutions. A simple solution is mixing a grease dissolving dish detergent in warm water in a large bowl or sink. Let your oven mitts soak in the soapy water for several minutes, allowing the detergent to work. Once the detergent has broken up the grease stains on your oven mitts, you can scrub them by rubbing the mitts together. You can also use a separate scrubbing brush to clean the grease off the mitts if so desired.
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Allow your mitts to dry completely before use. Using wet or damp oven mitts can lead to painful scalding and an unsteady grip when removing cookware from the oven. Make sure you've left yourself enough time to let your mitts dry completely before needing them again. It's generally recommended to leave them for at least 24 hours until using them again.
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How do you dry oven mitts?
Given their shape, oven mitts can prove difficult to dry in a reasonable amount of time fully. Particularly the inside will stay damp for extended periods of time if left alone. There are ways to speed up the process and make sure the insides of your mitts are getting dried.
Hang up your mitts on a clothesline or anywhere it can dry out with a clothespin. Insert a utensil or other similar object that will spread out the inside of the mitt down to the fingers. This will allow dry air to get into the interior, including the ends, much easier and expedite the drying process. Make sure your mitts are dry all the way down.
How often do you replace oven mitts?
As with all good things, the life span of your oven mitt will come to an end. Kitchen safety is paramount, and replacing your mitt at the right time will save you literal pain and suffering. While holding onto mitts that have old stains is fine, given they don't upset your sensibilities, of course, once actual wear and tear start to show, you're going to want to swap out your mitts.
What you use your particular mitts for will largely play a role in when this damage is likely to occur. The quality of the product and the material used to make it also play a part in the timeframe. If you mostly use your mitts to take hot pots off an open stove, it's doubtful they'll sustain much damage even over time. This is a low-impact activity that goes by quickly.
However, if you use them to reach inside incredibly hot ovens and pull out equally hot cookware, over time, they are definitely more likely to scorch eventually. Common sense is the most helpful tool when it comes to judging whether you need a replacement oven mitt or not. Don't skimp either; it's a matter of safety. A painful burn will cost much more than a good quality oven mitt ever could.
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What do you do with old oven mitts?
Replacing and retiring a pair of oven mitts from kitchen duty doesn't mean that you need to throw them away. There are actually several helpful functions old oven mitts can serve around the house.
You can use old oven mitts to fend off thorny roses when cutting flowers and pruning equally thorny bushes and plants. Although their clunkiness likely will prevent their use in more dexterous gardening activities, general pruning can be done with mitts to protect your hands.
Your old oven mitt can be a great polishing tool when it comes to your furniture. You can use one side to apply your favorite wax or polish to your furniture. The other side of the mitt can then be used to buffer in the product and polish. It's a great way to extend the lifespan of your oven mitt even after it retires from the kitchen.
What can you use besides oven mitts?
There are several alternatives to oven mitts if for, whatever reason, you aren't a fan. For an experienced chef, special all-purpose kitchen towels are an option for removing cookware. They are quick, multipurpose, and far easier to clean. This is why most professional chefs use them instead of oven mitts.
Keep in mind; the reasons experienced chefs use these towels instead of mitts tend not to apply to many situations in the home. Towels benefit largely in situations in which large amounts of food are quickly produced over a continuous period of time. Because of this, the tools of a professional chef also get much dirtier quicker. There could be situations in the home where such a situation applies, but generally, towels make the most sense in professional settings.
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Potholders are also an alternative to traditional oven mitts. Silicon potholders offer increased mobility when wrangling hot pans and skillets, and again are far easier to clean. Make sure you feel comfortable and safe with handling these if you do. It's far easier to slip up with potholders than with mitts if you're not safe about it.
Silicone potholders also double as trivets. Click here to see a set of four on Amazon.
Mitts offer safety as the tradeoff for their decreased mobility. For the average home cook, they fill every need you'll have when it comes to food preparation. It's up to you to decide what works best for you and what you're best equipped to work with. Always keep safety in mind above all else. It is the most important factor.
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Taking good care of your oven mitts will extend their lifespan and keep your hands and arms safe. This does include cleaning them occasionally and knowing when to replace them. Hopefully, this article helped answer all your questions on oven mitts and how to best do just that. Remember, taking care of your mitts is important but taking care of yourself is essential.