You may not have thought of this but latex gloves are an essential piece of kitchen equipment. In commercial kitchens, gloves are used throughout every step of the cooking process—from prep to serving to plating to clean up. There are many different types of gloves out there and each serve different purposes. From dishwashing to plating, different disposable gloves are needed to get the task at hand done in the perfect way possible. Here, we’re going to outline the most common styles of disposable gloves by material type for commercial kitchens, plus where to best use them in your space.
Types of Gloves
Neoprene gloves are great for heavy-duty use. These gloves commonly fit a little bigger, but because of their sturdy material, they can be worn for extended periods of time. Often, neoprene gloves are not as disposable as latex, nitrile, and poly gloves. They can be tossed frequently, but can also be kept for more than one use. These gloves offer great protection from acids, chemicals, and other harsh substances. Because they are made from neoprene, they maintain their flexibility even when working with a wide temperature range. In most cases, we don’t see neoprene gloves in the cooking or serving process. This style of glove is often used for dishwashing, cleaning, and maintaining the kitchen.
Nitrile gloves are similar to latex gloves. They can be a comparable option for those that have latex allergies. They offer a chemical and puncture resistant material that is a bit stronger than latex, but not as strong as neoprene. Nitrile gloves provide flexible and tactile wear while molding well to hands to provide a tight, skin-like fit. Like latex, these gloves are great for extended use and can help accomplish a myriad of tasks around the kitchen.
Poly gloves are great for serving and handling food. These are light, thin disposable gloves that can fit loose for quick wears. Typically, these gloves are hung near the line for the back of the house staff to handle food with care. Because of the loose fit, the back of the house staff can quickly slip hands in and out of these gloves to adjust, quality check, and plate food without touching them with coming in contact with the food. Because they are intended for quick and light usage, they are not very durable. In most cases, they come in the shape of a mitten, rather than a five-finger fit. This assists with the easy slip on advantage. Poly is also a great economical disposable material.
Vinyl gloves are latex-free gloves that come in both thick and thin sizes. They do not stretch and are less comfortable than latex, but still provide ease of tactile sensitivity that neoprene can’t compare to. Vinyl gloves are great for quick usage, but are not ideal for working with hazardous materials.
How To Shop for Gloves By Use
Shopping for gloves can be daunting at first, but now that we know the most common gloves used in the kitchen, it can be a bit easier. Let’s breakdown these gloves a bit further by defining their best uses.
Cleaning & Dishwashing
When you are cleaning, you come in contact with many chemicals, soaps, and other harsh substances, you need a glove to keep your hands safe. The best types of gloves for cleaning are latex, neoprene, and vinyl. But, for specializing in dishwashing, neoprene gloves are the best option.
Cooking & Food Prep
If your kitchen wears gloves for food prep and cooking, some of the best options are latex and vinyl. As briefly mentioned before, ensure that you get the non powdered version of either the latex or vinyl gloves. Powdered gloves are comfortable for the wearer, but can irritate sensitive skin.
Serving & Plating
Serving and plating require quick, easy, and spot-free use. For this, the best style of gloves will be poly and nitrile. Poly gloves are ideal for quick final touches and quality checks. Nitrile gloves can be a great option for back of the house staff that need gloves for more pristine handling. These are five finger gloves unlike poly gloves that are shaped as mitts.