Disposable gloves are a vital tool in many kitchens worldwide. From preparing salads and entrees in the kitchen to serving customers or bulk-processing shipments, disposable gloves are crucial. They protect against cross-contamination in addition to keeping users’ hands safe from chemicals, cleaning solutions, and more.
Our team has received a number of inquiries over the years regarding the use of disposable gloves near an open flame or grill, whether cooking in the kitchen or grilling at the barbecue. Looking for the short answer? Disposable gloves don’t provide sufficient protection against direct or adjacent heat sources—but they make a great supporting tool when using utensils.
Manufacturers have warned that nitrile, vinyl, and latex disposable glove materials offer minimal thermal insulation and protection. If you cannot touch something hot with your bare hand, it should not be touched while wearing a disposable glove.
Thicker disposable gloves such as 1st Choice 6 mil. Industrial Nitrile Gloves with Raised Diamond Texture or Gloveworks 8 mil. Industrial Nitrile Gloves with Raised Diamond Texture can have the potential to slow the transmission of heat, but the difference is not substantial, and the user can still face injury.
Lightweight 3-mil vinyl gloves are rated for a maximum of 200 degrees Fahrenheit over short-term exposure: truly just a glancing touch at most. These gloves are designed for frequent glove changes, as they are effective at preventing cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria.
Overall caution is always the best policy when it comes to disposable gloves and heat. Glove manufacturers have listed the maximum for latex disposable gloves at 350 degrees and at 400 degrees for nitrile. However, this is only for short-term exposure and should be used only as a general guide. Specified heat-resistant gloves, those made of Kevlar or silicon, would be a suitable choice when working on a grill in both a restaurant and a home setting. The use of disposable gloves remains pertinent in the industry with vinyl for food prep, nitrile for more demanding needs, and specialty gloves for baking and grilling. The concern of safety remains at the forefront for disposable glove users.