Kitchen timers are bound to get dirty. Mine regularly gets splattered with cooking oil and sauces, dusted with flour, and—worst of all—contaminated by raw chicken or meat.
It’s not because I’m an especially messy cook. As Orsi Dezsi, a food equipment expert at the public health and safety organization NSF International explained, there’s a special term for the cooking-adjacent places in the kitchen where timers are used: the splash zone. And while that conjures up images of people getting doused with water on a log ride, my timer is getting hit with germs and bacteria.
And even if I can put my timer a safe distance from the prep work and active cooking happening in my kitchen, I can’t always stop to wash my hands before I reach for it.
When I need to clean my other kitchen equipment, I toss it in the dishwasher or fill up the sink with hot, soapy water. Because water can damage a kitchen timer, cleaning one requires a little more care. And given how grimy a timer can get, it’s essential to disinfect it.
After consulting with food safety experts and kitchen timer manufacturers, here are our recommendations for cleaning your kitchen timer.