1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

Cleaning Temp Probes?

Discussion in 'Meat Thermometers' started by SmokinVOLfan, May 17, 2018.

  1. SmokinVOLfan

    SmokinVOLfan Smoking Fanatic

    Wanted to some input how everyone keeps their temp probes clean and in good working condition. My probes are starting to turn darker in color due to all the smoke and build up from the cooks. I always wipe them down before each use for sanitation but never seem to come all the way clean. I currently use both a TP-20 and a TP-17.

    I have heard everything from soap and water, to never use water, to magic erasers and alcohol pads, non-toxic cleaners, and everything in between.

    Would love to get some input as I want these to last as long as possible. Thanks!
  2. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I just wipe the food probes off with a damp sponge. I don't clean the pit probes. I've found that smoke and grease residue on them makes zero difference in readings and they don't touch any food.
  3. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    At least you are cleaning them! Yes, just continue wiping them down before and after each use, but do not soak or immerse them. Use a damp sponge, kitchen wipe, etc. but be gentle that you don't pull on the cord out of the probe or kink the cord. I use my home-made version of Clorox Kitchen Cleaner (bleach, TSP and dawn dish soap). I will even use a green kitchen scrubbie on the probe end if there is excessive built-up. This is for the purpose of cleanliness and maintenance of the probe.

    Now the practice of sanitizing the probe end before you stick it in the meat has a different purpose. It is to prevent introducing bacteria into your meat while you cook low and slow. For example a brisket or a butt is a starile intact muscle, but once you stick a dirty probe in, bacteria can grow exponentially in the middle before it can come up to safe and sterile temperatures.
  4. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Have you seen the sponge thing that looks like a smiley face ? My kids bought me one . Works great for a lot of things , but the cut out of the mouth works great for temp probes .
  5. bdskelly

    bdskelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I use a sponge that has the scotchbrite back with Dawn detergent. They come pretty dang clean. As mentioned above. Immersing in Water could = buying new probes. B
  6. Smoke23

    Smoke23 Smoking Fanatic

    I usually use a Scotchbrite pad with a spray cleaner with bleach in it. Works pretty good along with some elbow grease.
  7. Gwanger

    Gwanger Smoking Fanatic

    I use a soapy sponge and towel dry, most of my probes are 10 yrs. old
  8. dr k

    dr k Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    How much of each for the homemade kitchen cleaner. I've been using a teaspoon of TSP in a cup of water in a spray bottle for the smoker window.
  9. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I put about 1-1/2 tablespoons TSP, 1/2 cup of bleach, a squirt of Dawn (maybe 1 or 2 tbs) and the rest water in a spray bottle. I usually don't measure so those are estimates.

    That mix has pulled old soot and creosote out of brick in my fireplace when I put in an insert. Amazing!
  10. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    One of those green scrubbies & rubbing alcohol will clean & sanitize them.
  11. SmokinVOLfan

    SmokinVOLfan Smoking Fanatic

    Funny you say that. My wife brought one of those home on one of her trips to bed bath and beyond and I was trying to figure out a good use for it. Thanks!
  12. SmokinVOLfan

    SmokinVOLfan Smoking Fanatic

    Thank you for all of the input guys. Just didn't want to damage them cleaning them with the wrong thing!
  13. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I thought it was a silly gimmick when I saw it . Really works good for alot of things .
  14. browneyesvictim

    browneyesvictim Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Trying to identify the sponge you are talking about... is it a Scrub Daddy?
  15. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes . Looks like the smiley face emoji .
  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I just use very hot water with the rough side of a scrub sponge, before each Smoke.
    It polishes it right up each time, but I stay away from where the cable meats the Probe.

    Then just before I insert the Meat Probe into the meat, I wipe it down good with an Alcohol pad (The kind they use before you get a shot or get a blood test). If you get a box of 250 or so, they're quite cheap.

  17. johnmeyer

    johnmeyer Master of the Pit

    I always hold the probe at the very top, where the wire enters. That junction cannot get wet. Also make sure that, while holding it, you don't crimp the wire where it enters.

    Then, to actually clean it, I moisten a paper towel, shake some Bon Ami onto the dry sink, and then dab the paper towel into that mound of cleanser. I then wipe down the probe. The food gunk and smoke residue come right off.

    I then do the same thing with the wire, always making sure to keep the wire facing downward, so any water from the paper towel goes away from that wire/probe junction. I also make sure to grasp the wire just beyond the probe junction so that when I pull on it while cleaning that I don't put any force on that junction.

    I then rinse the probe and then the wire, making sure to keep grasping the junction so it stays dry, and making sure the water is always flowing away from the junction.

    As you can tell, I really worry about getting moisture into that junction. I do this because my wife cleaned one of my probes, but without paying attention to the junction, and the probe no longer worked. I then read all sorts of warnings in the instructions about no immersing the probe.

    The probes are cheap to replace, but there is no point breaking it if you can easily avoid the problem.
  18. archeryrob

    archeryrob Smoking Fanatic

    I lay the probe on the center between the sinks and scrub with the scotch brite pad. Then pinch the wire between the thumb and first finger with a scotch brite around it and pull, and again, and again and it cleans up.