Those who cook only occasionally may be able to make do with a pot holder to handle hot objects, but serious home cooks and professional chefs often prefer to use oven mitts. An oven mitt is a type of mitten, but unlike the mittens that small children wear for snow play, they generally extend far past the wrist, covering the entire forearm to protect it from burns. Another key difference between regular mittens and oven mitts concerns material. Oven mitts are not made of a loosely woven knit fabric. They are composed of heavy duty heat-resistant materials and feature ample levels of insulation to protect the hand, arm, and fingers from heat. Oven mitts are not only useful for handling cookware direct from the oven. They also protect a cook's hand and arm from incidental burns that can occur from contact with ovens and stoves. They are not, however, designed to protect the wearer from open flames. Oven mitts are also not intended to protect against hot liquids. They do, however, provide outstanding protection against direct contact with heated objects.
Oven Mitts or Oven Gloves
Oven mitts are also sometimes referred to as oven gloves. Technically, an oven glove would have individual spaces for fingers, much like a regular glove. Oven mitts, on the other hand, tend to have one large space for the four largest fingers and a separate pocket of material into which the user inserts his or her thumb. An alternate design style for oven mitts, however, is for them to be lacking the thumb space completely. Instead, there is simply one large pouch into which the user can insert his or her entire hand. The flexibility of the material used allows the wearer to grasp hot materials with any portion of this pouch. This type of free-form oven mitt is the easiest type to use since there is no need to line up the thumb with the space intended for it.
Double Oven Mitts
A highly useful variation of the oven mitt is the "double oven mitt." This term does not merely refer to a pair of mitts that wearers can use to protect both hands at once. Instead, a double oven mitt is a single item that consists of a long, wide strip of insulated material that is capped at each end with an oven mitt. This creates a style that protects not only both hands and forearms, but also the distance in between. By positioning the long strip of insulated material correctly, wearers can make sure, for example, that the edge of a hot pan will not touch them directly against the torso or upper arm. Those carrying very large or very heavy hot pans may want the additional protection provided by a double oven mitt. In most cases, double oven mitts are of a style that does not have any separate space provided for the thumb of either hand.
Styles of Oven Mitts
Despite their largely practical function, some patterned oven mitts are available. These can range from festive prints to vintage style pictures, or even old favourites such as floral patterns. For those shoppers looking to coordinate in the kitchen, the patterns often come in a variety of different colours, making matching kitchen textiles a much easier process.
Materials Used in Oven Mitts
Oven mitts vary greatly in terms of their materials. Casual oven mitts such as a dedicated home cook might prefer are often made almost entirely of cotton. The outside of the mitt is quilted with layers of heavyweight cotton, while the heat insulation inside is also made of cotton, but this time fabricated into thick terry cloth. This type of oven mitt can be washed in a standard home washing machine when it gets soiled. They are often a little longer than a foot in length and feature a separate thumb space. Cotton oven mitts come in a variety of colours and may feature decorative patterns or motifs that allow them to look completely at home as they hang in a place of pride in a home kitchen. It is important to emphasise that while traditional cotton mitts provide basic protection from heat, if expecting to handle a number of very hot items in succession – whether as part of their cooking regimen or as a commercial requirement –look at alternatives such as silicone mitts.
Silicone Oven Mitts
Cotton oven mitts have a long tradition. A more recent innovation is to treat the fabric of the oven mitt with silicone, which provides superior heat protection. A layer of silicone also helps to make an oven mitt more water-resistant, which can help to prevent burns when carrying a hot pot filled with boiling liquid that may slosh as the pot is carried across a kitchen space. Silicone also helps an oven mitt to resist stains better, which helps to keep it looking neat and clean in between uses. Some manufacturers have taken the silicone concept even further. Rather than merely treating a fabric oven mitt with silicone, they have fashioned the entire mitt to be made out of silicone. Silicone oven mitts are available in a variety of colours and allow a wearer to handle a hot object for a longer span of time than would a fabric-based oven mitt.
Space Age Oven Mitts
Most people who cook regularly are aware of the dangers of removing items from a cooker or a microwave without adequate protection. Old or frayed oven mitts are not likely to keep skin fully insulated from heat and should be replaced as a matter of course. Fortunately developments in technology have meant that innovations used in other industries have been adapted to the kitchen environment. Oven mitts are now made from a variety of synthetic materials including Kevlar and Nomex. Kevlar is a strong synthetic material that has actually been used to replace steel in the tyres of racing cars. It is so heat-resistant that it is also a component in the wicks used in fire dancing props. Nomex is a man-made material that is commonly used in fire-fighting equipment. Both of these materials provide excellent heat resistance that makes them ideal choices for use in an oven mitt. Despite this, it is important to note that even highly heat resistant oven mitts are only intended to come into direct contact with hot objects for a relatively brief amount of time. A furnace glove or furnace mitt is an appropriate choice when intensely hot objects must be handled for a longer span of time, as these objects are insulated more heavily than oven mitts.
Oven Mitt Configurations
Most of the time, oven mitts are sold as single items instead of coming as a pair. This makes sense as a single oven mitt can be readily worn on the right or left hand. This means that left-handed individuals need not worry about finding an oven mitt that is designed especially for them. It also allows individuals to switch the mitt between hands as needed while doing kitchen tasks. Double oven mitts, of course, come as one item intended to accommodate both hands at once.
Find Oven Mitts on eBay
To find oven mitts on eBay, enter a search term into the search box provided, which appears near the top of the home page. The site will automatically suggest other search terms that may be helpful. Those interested in purchasing a mitt at once should click on left hand side of the page and check the Buying Formats/Buy It Now box, which will display only items that can be purchased without the need to go through the auction process. Alternatively, search by category. Simply click on the Categories drop down next to the search box and select Home, Furniture & DIY. From here, click on Cookware, Dining & Bar in the left hand panel then select Kitchen Textiles followed by Oven Mitts & Pot Holders.
Oven mitts are available on eBay, where they can be purchased through an auction format for low prices. Alternatively, the Buy It Now feature allows the site to function much like a standard online store where it is possible to immediately conclude a transaction. Once purchased, oven mitts will help a professional or casual chef to stay safe in the kitchen even when handling objects heated to a high temperature.