How do oven mitts work? (+3 different types)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “How do oven mitts work?”, discuss answers to other related questions like can’t you just use a tea towel, and what to consider while choosing the oven mitts. 

How do oven mitts work?

Oven mitts work on the basic principle of the property of the low conduction of certain materials such as silicon (water and stain-resistant). This ability of low conduction of the materials used to make oven mitts prevents the transfer of heat through the gloves to the hands of the user. Traditionally, these gloves are made from insulated fabric.

The insulated fabric does not work well when wet because water is the conductor of heat, and it conducts heat from wet gloves to the hands of the user to dangerous levels and causes scalding.

Can’t you just use a tea towel?

Many people use a tea towel for picking up hot items out of the oven. A tea towel can protect your hand slightly but it is more likely to be wet and water would not stop heat at all. Also, because you have to fold a tea towel to provide the required protection, there is a high chance that your hand will slip. Slips like this in the kitchen will mean you will risk seriously burning yourself due to the limited dexterity a tea towel provides.

Oven mitts are better to be used than tea towels because if you need quick, extra leverage, your whole hand can be used and guarded, including the back of your hand. Hence, for an expert, oven mitts are always the appropriate choice.

What to consider while choosing the oven mitts?

Oven mitts, the important insulators used to hold hot things out from the oven, are not created equally. So, while buying them, you need to keep a certain thing in your mind. Following are the important characteristics of the oven mitts that you should be concerned about before purchasing them;

The first and foremost thing that you should keep in mind while buying the oven mitts is the coverage that they will provide to your hands. Based on the coverage that will be provided by the oven mitts, they are classified into two types:

  1. Standard-sized oven mitts are about 14 inches in length and are useful for moving items around on the stovetop, but they wouldn’t protect the rest of the forearm when reaching into the oven to pull a pan out. 
  2. Extra-long oven mitts are about 17 inches in length and can be used if you need some extra protection. These mitts are ideal for grilling or cooking over any large surface. 

Secondly, you need to observe the material of the oven mitts. The resistance provided by the mitts for heat majorly depends on the material of which they are made. Try to buy the mitts that are made of such a material that can resist heat up to atleast 400 Fahrenheit. Also, it should be able to withstand high temperatures for more than 10 seconds. Additionally, the best oven mitts should have an extra layer of protection to insulate hands and prevent burns. 

Thirdly, try to choose the mitts with a solid grip to avoid dropping any slippery cookware. One thing to mention here is that the grip of the mitts also depends on their material. Silicon and neoprene offer the most secure grip. Some cloth or cotton mitts have heat-resistant gripping rubber material sewn into them, which can help when working with heavy pans and pots.

Other FAQs about Ovens which you may be interested in.

How long does an oven take to preheat to 400?

4 different types of oven mitts

Silicone oven gloves

Silicon oven gloves are made from FDA-approved silicone and come either with or without the internal cotton layer. These gloves are heat resistant to 450 Fahrenheit, which makes them much safer than ordinary fabric gloves. They are completely waterproof. Also, they provide a good grip and are machine washable.

Neoprene cooking gloves

Neoprene gloves are rather comfortable and offer good protection to your hands. They are heat resistant to 500 Fahrenheit. Their coating is resistant to water, grease, acids, and caustic substances. These gloves can be washed using hot water while rubbing the gloves.

Cotton oven gloves

Regular cotton gloves are decorative and come in vibrant colors. These gloves offer more flexibility. So, you can have much more control over your fingers. These gloves are machine washable, and the soft material is comfortable to wear.

Aramid fiber’s cooking gloves

Aramid fibers are extremely strong and can withstand temperatures up to 932 Fahrenheit. These gloves have non-slip silicone lining outside for a better grip. They are cut-proof and can be washed in the machine.

Check out the best oven mitt for cast iron.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How do oven mitts work?”, discussed answers to other related questions like can’t you just use a tea towel, and what to consider while choosing the oven mitts.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.