How To Clean A Thermometer? No Rocket Science Behind It!


When it comes to measuring the body’s temperature, the only thing that will strike your mind is a thermometer. Every house stores one, in their medical boxes, but it can be dangerous to use if not correctly sanitized. If you want to know a proper method on how to clean a thermometer, here is the easiest way.  

Let’s first gather some scientific knowledge about Thermometer. The Thermometer (predecessors Thermoscope) has a long history and was first invented in 1612 by Santorio Santorio. The Thermometer works on the principle of the boiling point of the liquid and measures body temperature via direct contact with a person’s mucus. As it comes in direct contact with a person’s body, it becomes a storehouse for a lot of germs and infectious diseases and needs to be properly sanitized.    

How to Clean A Thermometer? Doctors Will Not Tell You Everything!

The first step you should take before disinfecting a thermometer is washing your hands properly. Now, if you have sanitized your hands, you can move forward and read how to clean different types of thermometers.  

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#1 How To Clean/ Disinfect A Digital Thermometer?

How to Clean A Thermometer? Doctors Will Not Tell You Everything!

Disinfecting a digital thermometer is a very easy job. It requires an alcohol or bleach wipe. To know more, follow these few easy steps:

  • Take a cotton pad and dip it in rubbing alcohol. (Centre of disease prevention says rubbing alcohol with 60% of alcohol level is most effective in killing 99.9% germs)
  • Now take out this cotton pad from the dip and rub it on the tip of the thermometer. Doing this will disinfect your digital thermometer.
  • If you don’t havea  rubbing alcohol at home, a bleach wipe will also do the needful. 

Precaution: Do not dip the entire thermometer in the alcohol or water as it will spoil the electric components of the device. Once the thermometer is disinfected, let it dry first before storing it.

Advice: When two different people use the same thermometer, disinfect it every time before using it. Also, do clean the thermometer when you use it after a very long period of time.

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#2 How To Disinfect Forehead Thermometer?

#2 How To Disinfect Forehead Thermometer?

Well, forehead thermometers are also known as temporal artery thermometers. They are used externally, as it measures the infrared heat from the blood vessels that run across the forehead. Now, as these thermometers don’t come into contact with the skin, they are generally left without disinfecting.

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Experts say that the forehead thermometers should be sanitized before use. Cleaning them follows the same process as discussed in disinfecting a digital thermometer. All you need is rubbing alcohol with a 60% alcohol level or bleach wipe. 

#3 How To Clean An Ear Thermometer?

#3 How To Clean An Ear Thermometer?

Ear thermometers have tiny sensors on their tip that record the temperature of the ear when inserted in the ear canal. (Ouch! my reaction, I am already terrified) To not let the thermometer tip get dirty, you can use small disposable rubber or caps that you can buy from the market. However, if you are not buying one, then rubbing alcohol (Remember! alcohol level of 60%) or bleach wipe can disinfect the thermometer; rest, you know the drill.  

Also, you can clean the surface of the thermometer by using cotton pads dipped in alcohol. Do remember not to dip the whole Thermometer in alcohol solution as it will damage the electronic parts and sensors.

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#4 How To Sanitize A Rectal Thermometer?

#4 How To Sanitize A Rectal Thermometer?

Rectal thermometers are inserted into the anus to measure the temperature of the body. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that these thermometers are best and more accurate in measuring the temperature of kids under the age of 4. 

Both the oral and the rectal thermometer touch the person’s mucus and thus inform the temperature of a person’s body. That’s why it is very important to sanitize these devices properly (especially the rectal ones). Here are the steps to disinfect this thermometer correctly- 

  • Firstly, use antibacterial soap to clean this thermometer (repeat this step 2 times)
  • Use a clean towel to dry it up.
  • After following the first two steps, sanitize the thermometer’s tip by rubbing alcohol. (you know the drill)
  • Once done with the third step, let the thermometer dry before storing it. 

Final Words

Thermometer harbors germs and infectious diseases. All you can do to disinfect these thermometers is by following a simple method i.e., cleaning their tips by rubbing alcohol (Remember! with an alcohol content of 60% or more). 

Antra Koul
Antra Koul
For me, writing is something that helps me escape from reality for a while. Even though I am an Engineer, I find my comfort from chaos while I write. I love telling people about my stories, stories that play in my mind only. When I am writing, there is no limit to how far I can go swimming in this deep ocean of words. Reading and writing are the two things that help in organizing my messed up thoughts in a formative way. Come along on this journey with me as I write and you read the stories that I have to tell!


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