No, Your Oven Mitts Are Not Actually Fireproof

Before the oven mitt, we picture our ancestors reaching into the oven and sacrificing their skin over an open flame for a slice of good bread. But before we had handy dandy oven mitts, people used a variety of tricks to safely remove pots, pans, and food after cooking. Most used thick towels to handle hot items or tongs to pick up their food.

The invention of the oven glove or mitt was particularly wonderful because it covered the whole hand in insulated fabric, so if any accident happened and the pan or kettle slipped in front of your fingers, you could adjust your grip without giving yourself some painful burns. These gloves are primarily made from low conduction materials, meaning that heat does not quickly move through them to your hands like cotton, Teflon, Kevlar, silicone, and leather (via Safety Gloves). But while these materials are low conductors, they are still a fire risk in your kitchen.

Better safe than sorry

We've all made the mistake of leaving potholders or oven mitts on the stovetop, but we must be careful in the kitchen because a moment of disregard can lead to some very fiery consequences. A warm oven can be a very dangerous thing. According to Taste of Home, oven mitts are never meant to be placed in the oven or near an open flame. Many gloves are made with combustible synthetic fibers or materials that can catch fire. When using oven mitts, it is important to use them while dry, as carefully as you can, and then place them far away from the heat source.

Kitchen Seer reminds us that these "heat-resistant" gloves are only resistant to a certain degree; cotton and polyester will burn more easily than neoprene or silicone, but ultimately all are considered flammable. True Builders lists leaving flammable items like oven mitts, towels, and other such objects near an open stove top or high heat as one of the top five causes of kitchen fires and reports the findings of the National Fire Protection Association, which states that 49% home fires are caused by cooking. So please be mindful of where your oven gloves or mitts are.