Why Do Chefs Use Towels Instead of Pot Holders? (8 Reasons)

As the hot plates are, hot, you’ll need extra protection to deal with the extreme heat. You won’t touch them with your bare hands alone, otherwise, you’ll get burned. So, in order to protect your hands, you can use the pot holders.

Why Do Chefs Use Towels Instead of Pot Holders?

However, chefs often use towels instead. Why do chefs use towels instead of pot holders? In this article, we’ll explain the reasons along with a few types of towels used to handle the hot pots. See more of them below!

Why Do Chefs Use Towels Instead of Pot Holders?

As you may know, the pot holders are made to handle hot stuff, like hot pots or ovens. However, due to the inflexibility of its design, it would make it harder for chefs to be more agile in dealing with hot pots.

So, instead of using the holders, they prefer using towels instead. But, it’s not just any towel, they use specialized towels for it. However, there are also plenty of other reasons, such as:

Better Grip

If you look at the pol holders’ design, you may notice that it’s very stiff. The rectangular shape would make it hard to fit the awkward pot’s shape. As chefs need to handle the pots quickly, an obstacle like this is inexcusable.

So, to have a better grip, durable cooking towels are preferable. As the towel may easily fit the pot handle’s design, chefs may have a much better grip on hot items, including hot pots.

Heat Protection

If you take a quick glance at both the kitchen towel and pot holder, you may notice that pot holders do have thicker shapes. However, don’t think that kitchen towels are less durable. Instead, chefs would prefer using kitchen towels they can also handle the heat coming from the hot pots.

But, it’s highly advised to fold the towels multiple times to create enough layers to deal with the extreme heat.


Another point that stands out from the kitchen towels is how versatile they are. You can use them to hold hot items easily (better if you fold them first) and wipe the kitchen clean.

Once the chefs are done cooking, they can simply fold the towels and keep them in a clean zone. These towels are also washable, which makes it easier to clean.


Aside from the texture, another lovable aspect of kitchen towels is their dexterity. By using the towel, your hand may have greater flexibility and dexterity to grip the hot items. As your hands may grasp the hot items more easily, the time it needs to switch between holding a hot pot to another may be quicker as well.

When compared to pot holders, kitchen towels may provide better control for hot items as the chefs can hold them more securely.


When handling hot items, like hot pots, pans, or other utensils, it’s better if the heat can be evenly distributed. Of course, it’s achievable when the chefs are using something to protect themselves, like kitchen towels. The durability provided may effectively protect their hands from the heat without losing the necessary flexibility.


In the kitchen, stains from cooking are commonly found anywhere. And, as you may know, it’s important for everybody to keep their kitchen clean, as the smallest germ may cause terrible health effects when affecting the food.

To clean these stains, chefs may use kitchen towels, which is a great item to use to absorb water, sauce, or other type of liquid.


A great thing about kitchen towels is that they’re washable, meaning that they can be used over and over again. As the kitchen needs to be a clean place, keeping the towels clean is also necessary. Fortunately, you can just wash it clean in the same way you wash your clothing.

Use gentle detergents to wash the stains off. Do some little tappings if they persist.


Seeing how many benefits the kitchen towels may offer, it’s just natural that many chefs prefer using kitchen towels compared to pot holders. It’s a convenient item to use that offers great versatility, and durability, and is easy to clean.

Chefs may use it not only for dealing with cooking purposes but also to clean something as kitchen towels are absorbent.

What Types of Towels Do Chefs Prefer to Use?

Of course, the kitchen towels that chefs use are not limited to fabric. There are also other types of kitchen towels in there, such as:

  • Terry cloth towels: The first one is terry cloth towels, which is a type of towel that has a high degree of absorbency, and is made with texture surfaces. These towels are mostly used for cleaning but are durable enough to deal with various kitchen tasks, including handling hot items.
  • Cotton dish towels: The next one is pretty common, the cotton dish. It’s made of fabric, really light, and highly versatile. Although mostly used for cleaning kitchen utensils, cotton dish towels can also be used to handle hot items, including pots.
  • Linen towels: As the name implies, this fabric is made of linen fabric. Linen towels offer unique features that might be missing from the other towel types, including excellent absorbance, quick drying, and antibacterial properties.
  • Bar mop towels: A conventional towel used in most kitchens and bars. Due to their design, this type of mop is perfect to use in a fast-paced environment.
  • Flour sack towels: The name comes from the material used to make them back in the day. But as the days have gone by, flour sack towels are now made with fabric material. As they use fabric, they are basically similar to a cotton dish towel, with non-distinguishable features.
  • Side/Apron towels: The next one is side towels, a type of towel that’s usually placed on the side of the kitchen apron. These are the common towels worn by chefs and the kitchen crew. Even professionals are using the side towels. Although it can be used to handle hot stuff, the main use of these side towels is for cleaning utensils, or quickly wiping extra sauce when plating.
  • Tea towels: Tea towels are also common to use in the kitchen. This type of towel is highly absorbent, and versatile to be used for various purposes. Seeing how beneficial it is, this towel is considered essential in homes and kitchens. It comes with various colorful designs that may easily fit different personalities.
  • Oven towels: These towels are not the same as oven mitts. This towel is usually placed on the oven door handle. The original purpose of this towel is to offer extra protection when dealing with hot food made in the oven. But, as this is practically a towel, it can be used for many other things, including cleaning.
  • Bamboo towels: Bamboo towels are always considered to be more eco-friendly compared to other type of towels. As bamboo is a renewable resource, bamboo towels can be a solution for those looking for a more environment-friendly item for the kitchen.
  • Microfiber towels: If you’re looking for a kind of towel that has exceptional absorbency and softness, microfiber towels can be really considered. These towels are made of a combination of polyamide and polyester fibers, which are finer than traditional cotton.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What are the advantages of using pot holders in the kitchen?

There are several significant benefits to using Pot Holders in the kitchen. Some major applications are listed below:

  • Holders for pots It helps in heat resistance and protects your hands from burns.
  • The Slots provide your hand in secure grip.
  • Using high-tech materials improves insulation.
  • It is more durable than towels.

How are towels rolled up or folded by chefs to shield their hands from heat?

  • Lay Towel Flat: Begin with a clean, flat kitchen towel.
  • Divide or Fold in Half: Fold it lengthwise in half.
  • Fold once more: Fold it in half lengthwise again.
  • Roll it up: From one end, tightly roll the folded towel.
  • Secure the Ends: Tuck the ends of the towel under the rolled towel.
  • Wrapping the handle: Wrap the towel around the heated handle.
  • Grip Strength: Protect yourself by holding the wrapped handle.


There are plenty of reasons why chefs use towels instead of pot holders like it’s easy to use, absorbent, convenient, and highly important to keep everything clean. However, chefs do have their own preferences, and they are free to use anything that’s most comfortable to use for them.

The point here is that kitchen towels can be durable to use to handle hot items, despite their flat and thinner design compared to pot holders, which are generally thicker. But, do remember to fold the towel accordingly for extra protection.

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