Historically, I used a cheap (i.e. $11.00 USD) Type K thermocouple with cloth braid on my Heatermeter temperature controller rig, until my daughter tripped over the thermocouple while she was running around and rendered it unreliable. When I threw the old thermocouple away, it was heavily coated in old smoke and grease due to the environment in my charcoal-fired BBQ smoker.
I invested a bit more in the replacement thermocouple (a Thermoworks TW-113-442-GC Type K, with an armored-metal cable jacket). My question is what (if anything) I should do to prolong the useful life of this thermocouple; can I soak the junction end in apple-cider vinegar to clean it? How can I clean the grease, without damaging the electrical functionality?
Google searches for cleaning Type K Thermocouples haven't been terribly productive.
To be explicit, I am not using a Thermapen; Thermoworks has a FAQ that addresses cleaning this Thermapen, but they do not have anything addressing a simple Type K thermocouple.