Why You Should Never Use a Wet Oven Mitt

Few things are better than a hot tray of cookies emerging from the oven, but there’s nothing worse than suffering burns on your hands from retrieving them. That’s why we have oven mitts. While they’re insulated to allow us to briefly handle surfaces that have been exposed to high heat, there’s one thing that will render them useless: water. Traditional fabric oven mitts work by inserting a layer of heat-resistant material inside the mitt. If, however, the fabric becomes damp, or you place wet hands inside the mitt, the effectiveness of the heat barrier is dramatically reduced. That’s because water conducts heat. Wearing a wet mitt that’s exposed to 350ºF or more could cause a third-degree burn in as little as one second. While some mitts are labeled as waterproof, others may have a cotton lining, so it’s best to be on the safe side. All oven mitts have a limited period of time for handling hot items — up to 10 seconds, with some far less. Remember, it’s harder to eat cookies when your hands are bandaged.