Safe and delicious. How to clean a meat thermometer at home

When you want to cook a delicious dish perfectly, a meat thermometer comes to the rescue, which will help you measure the internal temperature of both raw and already fried meat.

But not everyone knows how to clean a meat thermometer properly because the taste is not the only thing you need to pay attention to during cooking.

how to clean a meat thermometer

Why do you need to clean a meat thermometer?

Let’s remind ourselves what a meat thermometer is and how it works. A meat thermometer is a device that measures the temperature of the meat so that you can assess the degree of readiness of meat.

A meat thermometer is also used to measure the temperature of still uncooked meat, again, in order to roughly calculate the time for its cooking.

And in fact, it is very important! An undercooked dish may contain some types of bacteria, such as salmonella, due to the presence of which, your dish may be dangerous to eat, and you risk food poisoning.

As for cleaning the device, this case also needs a serious approach. First of all, it is hygiene and health care. When using a food thermometer, it easily gets dirty with fat, pieces of food, and seasonings. The remnants of food elements on the device not only form a favorable environment for microbes and bacteria but also create an unpleasant smell of rotten meat.

Personal hygiene

Do not forget about your own hygiene! Even if you follow all the tips that will be written in this article, you must definitely wash your hands, cutting board, dishes, and other cutlery with high quality.

When cleaning food thermometers

As mentioned above, the meat thermometer needs to be cleaned not only after and before, but also in between its use.

Before cooking the dish

Even if the last time you thoroughly washed the meat thermometer, your main task is to remove dust or plaque from the thermometer so that they do not affect the correctness of the readings of the device.

In the process of cooking

If you repeatedly use a thermometer during cooking, then try to wipe your device to remove pieces of food and seasonings, which will make it difficult to calculate the correct temperature.

After cooking the dish

When you realized that the thermometer is no longer useful to you, then in order to avoid the proliferation of microbes, you should thoroughly clean and rinse the device from the remnants of food particles.

What is the difference between washing and disinfection?

Please note that the difference between washing and disinfection is that you need to wash the appliance during and immediately after use, but disinfect it before cooking or after you have washed it.

How to clean a meat thermometer?

Some meat thermometers consist of silver parts and have antimicrobial coatings, as this does not allow bacteria to multiply. However, this does not guarantee the complete protection of the device from germs, and in any case, you will have to wash and disinfect it

Different types of thermometers should also be washed a little differently.

If the design of the meat thermometer allows, then at best it will be possible to detach the part from the device that touches the food and rinse it only, without fear of damaging electronic parts.

Digital wireless meat thermometer cleaning

Despite its wireless function, the tip can accumulate carbon deposits, thereby giving false readings. The digital thermometer is usually used to test smoked meat, meat in the oven, or on the grill. To clean the tip, you need to use a soapy sponge.

It is worth being careful since the sensor itself is very small. When the device is no longer needed, put it in the cleanest possible place, it can be a small box or bag.

Digital meat thermometer cleaning

Such digital meat thermometers use a digital probe for accurate and fast temperature measurement. To clean a digital meat thermometer, use soap and water without completely immersing it.

Folding probe digital meat thermometers cleaning

Such species have a slight difference in the form of a folding thermometer probe. This is done more for convenience than for efficiency, so the thermometer probe should also be washed with soap and water, and then dried well.

Meat thermometer with instant reading

Such thermometers quickly measure the internal temperature of meat in the shortest possible time. To remove the stuck particles and fat, you need to wash the thermometer rod with hot water and soap. It will also help kill all or part of the harmful bacteria.

The main thing is not to immerse it completely in water, as the mechanisms and components can be damaged and get wet. After cleaning, do not forget to dry it thoroughly.

Fork meat thermometers

Another type of meat thermometer for quick temperature measurement using a sensitive sensor probe. The mechanism is relatively fragile, so care must be taken. Just like most appliances, fork thermometers cannot be submerged in water entirely. You should simply clean the teeth with soap and water, and then dry them with a towel or napkin.

Glass thermometers

A glass meat thermometer uses a glass tube inserted into the meat. Their disadvantage is that such a tube accumulates fat in itself, which is why it will have to be thoroughly washed and wiped.

Another drawback is that when measuring the temperature of smoked products, the glass may be covered with smoke deposits. To clean, you need to separate the glass part and rinse it with soap or a grease remover.

If you are not quite sure what kind of thermometer you have in your kitchen, then here are the general rules for cleaning the appliance:

  • Rinse with soap and water
  • Rinse only the part of the appliance that comes into contact with the food
  • Never put the appliance in the dishwasher (in addition to the risk of getting the appliance wet, the temperature in the dishwasher is very high)
  • Do not immerse electrical parts and components in water, even if they are waterproof
  • Carefully rinse the device so as not to bend and break the parts

Cleaning of serious types of dirt

Sometimes washing with soap and water is not enough because sometimes there is soot, stuck fat, or other non-washable dirt on the thermometer rod.

In such cases, we can suggest a couple of additional tools that are advised by both professional chefs and Internet users.

A bar of soap

Oddly enough, if the soap diluted with hot water does not help, then you can rub the soap with pieces.

Cooking spray

The spray has a strong cleansing property. Apply it on a napkin or directly on the device.

Baking soda+water

Alternative to the cooking spray. Use for rubbing on places with hard spots. Wait 15 minutes, wipe and be sure to rinse the device several times.

Alcohol/Wet wipes and a paper towel

A paper towel can additionally wipe parts of the device before each use.

White vinegar

Soak a napkin or cotton pad. Wipe the thermometer and let it dry.

How do disinfect food thermometers?

Now we can talk about the disinfection of clean meat thermometer.

Food-safe sanitizing solution

Some Food Safety Education Specialists also recommend dipping the thermometer rod in special chemical solutions such as chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide

Boiling water

The most common and easiest way to disinfect any cutlery and dishes at home.

Boiling water kills bacteria and microbes very well.

To do this, you just need to dip the rod for 30 seconds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you have read and familiarized yourself with all the nuances of cleaning and sterilizing thermometers for food safety, we can summarize and answer the main questions:

How do you sanitize a meat thermometer?

A clean meat thermometer is mandatory before using it. The main task is to destroy microbes and bacteria and prevent their reproduction.

Special chemical solutions such as chlorine bleach or hydrogen peroxide are well suited for this, and if you do not have such, then boiling water is the most common method for combating microorganisms. You just need to put the rod in the liquid for a couple of tens of seconds and then wipe the device.

What is the best way to clean the stem of the thermometer?

The simplest and most effective way is hot soapy water. 90% of the dirt is easily washed with these tools. If this does not help, you can use white vinegar, cooking spray, or baking soda.

What is the best way to clean a thermometer?

Wet/Alcohol wipes perform perfectly their task. In any case, do not dip the entire thermometer in soapy water, as this will lead to a breakdown or short circuit of the device.

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