Commercial kitchens are inherently dangerous places. From sharp tools to cooking at high temperatures, it's not so much of a question if you'll get injured but rather when. Still, there is an easy way to prevent most wounds and that's by using gloves. Gloves are your best line of defense when it comes to warding off burns, cuts and more. In this buying guide we'll talk about the types of gloves you should have in your back of house.
"One-size-fits-all" might sound like a nice approach when it comes to picking gloves, but we doubt you'll find much success with it. Different gloves excel in each application, so it's important to evaluate your environment and understand what the job is prior to any purchase. Ready to learn more? Let's get started.
Cuts are one of the most common injuries facing chefs in kitchens—speed and sharp tools don't always mix! Cut-Protection gloves can help give your fingers an extra layer of defense when a slip of the knife occurs. Keep in mind though, that while cut-protection gloves are cut-resistant they are not cut-proof, and the risk of laceration is still there. Cut-protection gloves come in a variety of materials, so be sure to select the one that best suits your needs.
Did you know? It only takes one second to produce a third degree burn. Burns are a very serious injury, but they're also one of the easiest to prevent. Oven mitts provide excellent protection against hot ovens though their effectiveness is largely determined by the amount of insulation within the glove itself.
For tasks like filtering fryer oil, consider gloves that are not only heat resistant, but oil-resistant too. Use gloves made of heavy duty rubber like Neoprene™ to ensure that hot oil is not absorbed into the glove during use.
Knives and ovens are the obvious place for injury, but what about your sink? Sure, dishwashers are at risk for burns when washing with hot water, but they're also at a risk for another type of burn: chemical burn. Heavy duty cleaning solutions and sanitizers are chock full of chemicals that may or may not react well with your skin (even less so if your hands contain open wounds, like a knife cut from the day before). Protect your extremities with heavy weight, solid rubber gloves.
So far we've only covered safety from personal injury, but we'd be amiss not to discuss injury to others. Practicing proper food safety is key to preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses to your staff and patrons.
Nitrile gloves are powder-less and non-stick, making them the perfect option when you're removing CBD-infused candies from their molds or preparing packages for shipment. Going powder free is also your best chance at meeting regulations concerning cross-contamination.
Knowing what type of material your glove is made out of will help you determine which glove is best suited to the task at hand.
|Product ID||Material||Type||Pros||Cons||Good for|
|Vinyl||Food preparation||Affordable and latex-free||Easily stretched or snagged on nail edges called by some healthcare experts as "infection control nightmares."||Simple food preparations like deli counters, stocking shelves, etc.|
|Polyethylene (Poly)||Food preparation||Affordable, powder and latex-free with excellent dexterity||Not very durable and looser fit decreases dexterity and thin material is more susceptible to tears||Tasks requiring delicate compilations like sushi and empanada preparations.|
|Latex||Food preparation and light janitorial work||Biodegradable, affordable and are elastic and strong. Come in both powder and powder-free versions and can be worn for an extended period of time.||Many people are allergic to latex, and particles of latex may end up in the food (three states have banned latex gloves in restaurants)||Back of house stocking or light janitorial work (cleaning restrooms, mopping, etc.).|
|Nitrile||Food preparation and light janitorial work||Synthetic material is good for those allergic to latex and feature supreme puncture resistance||Contains bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, or DEHP which is recognized as carcinogenic.||Those with latex allergies, nitrile does well for cleaning tasks.|
|Cotton blend||Heat protection||Provides excellent heat protection while keeping hands cool. Some manufacturers include Kevlar® for added durability and protection||The effectiveness of oven mitts varies greatly by manufacturer, so pay attention to materials and coatings for long-lasting performance.||Pulling hot pans in and out of the oven throughout your shift.|
|Neoprene™||Heat and chemical protection||Resists degradation better than natural or synthetic rubber.||Not designed for food handling like making sandwiches.||Janitorial work that includes exposure to caustics and other harsh chemicals, working with fryer oil and more. Provides great heat-resistance as well.|
|Kevlar®||Cut Protection||Excellent flame resistance and lightweight construction.||Doesn’t protect from punctures, only slices||Heavy duty kitchen applications like cutting through tough, fibrous materials.|
|Cut-resistant yarn||Cut Protection||Usually a poly blend that may incorporate stainless steel strands, this glove is comfortable and flexible||Doesn’t protect from punctures, only slices||Prep work before and during service.|
|Metal Mesh||Cut Protection||Offers good puncture resistance. Gloves without fabric straps offer superior hygiene and sanitation.||No standard on how to make a mesh glove, so quality of the glove can vary greatly between manufacturers.||Breaking down animals, deboning chicken, and more.|
Working with hot oil and harsh chemicals will naturally wear any material over time. If you want to lengthen the lives of your gloves be sure to wash them with warm, soapy water after each use to remove as much residue as possible; this will help keep the integrity of the material for longer. Also, store gloves in a cool place away from heat in the kitchen for better performance.