How Often Should You Wash Oven Mitts?

When it's time to take a hot pan or tray from the oven, protective mitts are kitchen essentials. Grab them, put them on, and then reach into the oven to pull out a pan or baking tray, all while protecting your hands from the heat. Once the pot or tray is removed from the oven and your hands are safe from too much heat, you'll likely toss the oven mitts right back in their drawer or wherever you found them. These potholders often get glossed over for cleaning since they're something you reach for when using the oven or managing hot items. So how often should you wash oven mitts?

Whether you bake cakes and cookies often or roast meat or vegetables almost nightly, your pot holders are getting plenty of use. As with anything, the more you use them, the more you need to make sure you’re keeping up with washing them. “If you are the one using your mitts every day, then washing them once a week is recommended,” says Alicia Sokolowski, President and Co-CEO of AspenClean. “However, if you use your oven mitts less often, giving them a good wash once a month is sufficient.”

Oven Mitts


What To Do Before You Clean Oven Mitts

Before you decide to clean your oven mitts, check the labels for best washing. “Manufacturers’ recommendations can be found on the care label, usually hidden inside the mitt,” says Sokolowski. If you can’t find them, it’s possible care instructions may be missing, even with a new pair of oven mitts. According to Sokolowski, “Oven mitts manufacturers are not obliged to provide the care label on the mitt, such as clothing manufacturers are.” So if you find yourself without washing guidelines, do a quick Google search for steps, she advises.

What's The Best Way To Clean Oven Mitts?

“The general cleaning recommendation would be to hand wash the oven mitts with warm to hot water, using natural laundry detergent, and then let them air dry after washing,” says Sokolowski. “We recommend air drying even after the wash in the washing machine.”

And if you have difficult stains to remove, Sokolowski has a solution:

“Grab your biggest cleaning helper – baking soda – and get those nasty grease stains off your mitts,” she says. But before you douse baking soda on the entire stain, make sure it’s the appropriate method with a spot-test. “A good practice is to spot-test a solution of baking soda and warm water on your mitts first, to prevent further staining.” 

How To Clean Silicone Oven Mitts

These days you can find oven mitts made of different materials, such as silicone. What’s the best way to clean silicone oven mitts? Cleaning these type of mitts is similar to cloth-based ones. “Silicone oven mitts can be cleaned with natural soap and warm water. You can also put them in the dishwasher on the top rack, but avoiding harsh detergents and high temperatures is recommended,” says Sokolowski. And then hang them to air dry or wipe them down with a towel, she adds.

What Are The Health Concerns Of Dirty Oven Mitts?

Like with any household item, cleaning oven mitts frequently is important to maintain their longevity as well as ensuring you stay healthy. "If oven mitts aren't cleaned regularly, they can  harbor harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. This can lead to cross-contamination, which can cause foodborne illnesses,” says Sokolowski. “Dirty oven mitts can transfer harmful chemicals and toxins from the oven to the food.”

You’ll also want to consider having separate mitts based on the food you’re cooking or baking as a food safety precaution. “It’s recommended to use separate oven mitts for raw meats and other foods to avoid cross-contamination,” she says. 

But it’s not only avoiding cross-contamination that you need to be attentive to. Keeping your potholders clean and in good shape reduces the risk of fires and getting burned. “Dirty oven mitts can become a fire hazard, as grease and food particles can ignite in the oven,” she shares.

When To Replace Oven Mitts

If you frequently use the oven, checking your pot holders for holes or overly worn cloth or silicone is important to avoid burns or particles getting in your food. Sometimes instead of cleaning your oven mitts, it may be time to buy a new set to protect your hands and your health. “It's important to replace oven mitts that are worn or damaged, as they may not provide adequate protection from the heat,” says Sokolowski.

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