Ultrasonic Cleaner: The Ultimate Educational Guide

Ultrasonic Cleaner: The Ultimate Educational Guide

Traditional cleaning methods are starting to become obsolete. Components such as bacteria, viruses, and dirt adapt and evolve. Meaning that a simple scrub won't remove everything from your personal objects.

That's why it's important to invest in an ultrasonic cleaner. They are small, yet effective devices that clean tough to reach spots on any item. Because of this, they have increased in popularity and are used for both residential and commercial purposes.

This article was made to educate you on ultrasonic cleaners. We encourage you to read further to help better your understanding instead of investing in products that won't help you in the long run. By the end of the article, you'll have enough knowledge to make an informed decision when buying an ultrasonic cleaner.

What Is An Ultrasonic Cleaner?

The easiest way to describe a ultrasonics cleaner is through its process. For instance, it's a process in which ultrasound and a cleaning solvent are mixed to clean items. You can use ultrasonic with water, but a solvent will enhance the effect and make it easier to clean.

On average, the ultrasound ranges from about 20 to 400 kHz. Depending on the scope of the project, cleaning can take around 5 minutes. For larger items that are harder to clean it might take around 30 minutes for the ultrasonic cleaner to complete its process.

Ultrasonic cleaner being used.

One reason why ultrasonic cleaners gained popularity is because of their versatility. They are used in areas such as electronic repair workshops, jewelry workshops, and watchmaker's establishments. Also, ultrasonic cleaners can be used to clean a multitude of objects such as:

  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • ​Firearms
  • ​Musical Instruments
  • Electronic Equipment

That being said, we're ready to go in depth about how ultrasonic cleaners work. Knowing this information teaches you the basic mechanics and have a greater understanding of what ultrasonic cleaner you need to buy.

How Does An Ultrasonic Cleaner Work?

At the core of ultrasonic cleaning is cavitation It's defined as a formation of bubbles (a cavity) in a body of water. Multiple bubbles are made through sound waves which then begin to move through the water.

If you ever saw foam in the water that's left after a marine vehicle, then you've seen a physical example of cavitation.

During the cavitation process, the water temperature is raised beyond the boiling point. The pressure can be measured at around 500 atm.

Because of this, the bubbles begin to implode when placed near an object such as plates, pots, and other kitchen accessories. Once it implodes the bubbles, they turn into jets which are about a 1/10th of the average bubble size. These jets run at a speed of 400 km/hr at the objects.

Due to a combination of water pressure, velocity, and temperature, the jet frees the contaminants from the object's bonds. It uses high speed to clean out germs, bacteria, and other harmful debris from the objects.

Since the jet has an extremely small size and has a great source of energy, ultrasonic cleaning has the capability to reach into small slits and crevices and remove dirt from the object effectively. Ultrasonic cleaning's process can be boiled down to bubbles operating at a fast speed and cleaning objects with precision and efficiency.

Ultrasonic Cleaners Are Used To Clean

Let's take a look on what the ultrasonic cleaners can be used.

Jewelry

As time progresses, our jewelry tends to lose its shine. They are precious metals who regularly get exposed to chemicals that can destroy their appearance. If left unattended, dirt will continuously build up and destroy the value of your jewelry.

Ultrasonic cleaner used for jewelry.

Don't get discouraged; Ultrasonic Cleaners can quickly repair the damage. The items will get placed inside a tank filled with some cleaning solution. Once the cleaner is turned on, the motor will create ultrasonic vibrations through the liquid.

The ultrasonic vibrations will then break down dirt particles that have been accumulated on your jewelry's surface. Ultrasonic cleaning is great for jewelry because it cleanses parts that are unreachable if cleaned by traditional methods.

Lenses

Ultrasonic cleaners also do a great job at cleaning glasses and contact lenses. Another great feature is that you don't have to waste extra money on buying a fancy cleaning solution. All you need to do is use a saline solution in order your lenses to become cleansed.

To start, place your lens inside of the optical ultrasonic cleaner. Next, you'll want to close the top of your cleaner, set the cleaning settings and time, and watch as it cleans your lenses completely. We suggest placing the timer for at least 2 minutes to ensure that your ultrasonic cleaner removes the dirt from the lenses.

Firearms

Making the plan to maintain firearms is one important part in protecting the quality of your pistols, rifles, and other weapons. Ultrasonic cleaners are used by a variety of gun shops and manufacturers for a good reason.

The machine will remove any extra debris while not causing damage to your firearm. Before starting the ultrasonic cleaning process, disassemble the firearm. Read the gun manufacturer's instructions if you need help on removing the important compartments of your gun.

After that, place the gun components inside of the firearm ultrasonic cleaner. While doing this, turn on the cleaner and set the thermostat at about 150⁰F (65⁰C). Once the machine starts, place the basket in the solution and let the timer run for a span of 10 minutes.

Remove your gun components by the end of the cycle. Finish by wiping and allowing the firearms to dry. If you are satisfied, then start lubricating your gun. This procedure is safe and will help keep your firearm remaining in great condition.

Watches

Some people like using ultrasonic jewelry cleaners to loosen the dirt from their watches. This method also works for bracelets once you remove them from the watch head. Make sure that the water is above 100⁰F and have extra washing liquid to clear up extra grease.

Ultrasonic cleaners used for a watch.

Remember that your skin releases oils that can hide unwanted scratches on your watch. Check to see if there are any sharp scratches after cleaning to ensure that your watch maintains its value, shape, and appearance.

Dental And Surgical Instruments

Ultrasonic cleaners are the accepted method by the Centers for Disease Control. It's the first step in removing blood, tissue, and other contaminants from reusable dental tools. They are good denture cleaners and should be used in any dental practice firm.

Place the dental instruments on a mesh tray so that the instruments are immersed in the ultrasonic cleaner. Cleaning time runs for at least 7-10 minutes depending on the size of your tools. If there are is any extra dirt then place it in the ultrasonic cleaner for 15 minutes.

Tools

People in the industrial and blue-collar fields tend to use ultrasonic cleaners on their tools. It keeps their tools free from any harmful bacteria and prevents it from accumulating rust.

Like the dental tools, you'll want to place your tools inside of the machine. Clean off any obvious debris from the tools before putting it inside of the cleanser. After 20 minutes of cleaning, remove your tools and use them as needed.

Benefits Of Ultrasonic Cleaners

Ultrasonic cleaners come with a myriad of benefits. They are easy to operate and clean, and will save you time. Once you have an ultrasonic cleaner, you’ll have a powerful tool that will improve the value of your personal objects.

Saves Time

Ultrasonic Cleaners creates up to 40,000 sound pulses in a second. Each pulse provides a cleaning action when it comes to contact with an object. Due to this high-frequency wave action, ultrasonic cleaners removes contaminants faster than the traditional types of cleaners.

Easy To Clean

Ultrasonic cleaners can remove viruses without any cuts, abrasions, or any harsh scrubbing. Also, they are the ideal method because they can clean the most delicate parts. The cleaning process is easy, giving your item a clean finish without the hassle.

Ultrasonic cleaner results.

Minimal Power Consumption

Compared to other cleaning types, ultrasonic cleaners use the least amount of power to work. Traditional cleaning methods use large motors which take up a lot of energy. Ultrasonic cleaners only need to use one motor to work properly, keeping the power level at a minimum.

Types

​There are two types of ultrasonic cleaners: digital and analog.

Digital

Digital ultrasonic cleaners have extra features in comparison to analog ultrasonic cleaners. For instance, they come with either a single or multiple motors. You'll like them if you want an ultrasonic cleaner that offers the most versatility and customization.

With digital ultrasonic cleaners, you have a machine that's fully programmable. Simply place the item on the cleaner and watch the cleaner do its magic. Digital cleaners are great because they are easy to use and can clean your items automatically.

Analog

This is the more traditional method of ultrasonic cleaning. Analog Ultrasonic cleaners are controlled by knobs placed in front of the machine. Also, they come with a timer, output and temperature control.

You'll want to use analog ultrasonic cleaners for objects such as lab equipment.

For example, lab instruments such as microscopes and scalpels need to be cleaned manually.

If you want a precise control over the intensity of your cleaning, analog ultrasonic cleaners are a great choice.

Analog ultrasonic cleaner.

Ultrasonic Cleaner Specs To Remember

​Before you buy an ultrasonic cleaner, you should take some things into consideration.

Cabinet And Tank Dimensions

Your tank dimensions is a clear representation of your cleaner's capacity. This means that the higher the dimensions, the more items you can clean simultaneously.

Here is a table below to demonstrate the correlation between your tank dimensions and how much gallons it can hold. In addition, we have extra information on the ultrasonic power each tank provides.:

Cabinet Dimensions

Tank DImensions

Tank Capacity

Ultrasonic Power

7 x 7.5 x 8

5.5 x 5 x 4

0.5g/1.9L

80

10.5 x 7.5 x 8.5

9 x 5 x 4

0.8g/3.3L

100

20.8 x 7.5 x 6.2

19.9 x 5.2 x 6

2.3g/9.0L

200

13.5 x 12.25 x 11

11 x 9 x 8

3.2g/12.1L

250

20.8 x 12.8 x 12.8

19.9 x 11.9 x 6.2

5.0g/19.9L

500

Tank Volume

The tank volume measures how much water your ultrasonic cleaner can hold. Based on the table above, the smallest tanks hold up to at least .5 gallons of water. Larger tanks can hold up to 3.2 to 5 gallons and can be used to clean larger objects. Check the tank volume of your ultrasonic cleaner before making a purchase.

Ultrasonic Power

This stands for the strength and efficiency of the ultrasonic cleaning machine. As your tank size and capacity increases, the more power is needed to operate effectively. For first time buyers, we suggest getting a cleaner that has a ultrasonic power within the 80-200 range. People in the industrial industry should get a tank at 300-500 ultrasonic power.

Construction Material

Ultrasonic cleaners are constructed for various occasions. For this reason, the construction material is an important factor to consider when buying your first ultrasonic cleaner.

Stainless Steel is the most common material used for ultrasonic cleaning.

It has a high resistance to cavitation and chemical attacks making it for you to use.

It's durable and can go up to temperatures around 200⁰F.

Invest in an acid-resistant container if the materials you are planning to clean are too acidic.

Ultrasonic cleaner made out of stainless steel.

While stainless steel is a great first choice option, it won't have the capability to remove acidic properties from your tools. The ultrasonic waves begin to pass through the container and acts on the objects that are getting cleaned in the solution.

Manufacturers

There is a multitude of ultrasonic cleaning manufacturers brands. Each of them design their products to ensure that your items remain clean. Check out the following manufactures if you plan on buying an ultrasonic cleaner for the first time.

Hornady

Hornady is the leading manufacturer for firearm based ultrasonic cleaners. The company sells ammunition and is one of the largest independent producer of bullets in the world. Founded by Joyce Hornady, the company's main mission is to provide high-quality firearm accessories and ultrasonic cleaners to help the user maximize their shooting performance.

Branson

Also known as Bransonics, Branson is a company that takes pride in providing quality ultrasonic cleaners. Most of their products are digital ultrasonic cleaners. Each of their cleaners allows you to fully customize your settings and clean components off your items faster than lesser known brands.

Kendal

For people needing an ultrasonic cleaner for commercial reasons, Kendal is the right brand for you. Their products are known for having a large capacity and volume; making it easier for larger tools to become cleansed. Give Kendal a look if you want an ultrasonic cleaner that gives out professional cleaning results.

Lyman

Lyman Products is an ultrasonic cleaner manufacturing company whose products have top-notch performance. To them, performance means more than just working well. Lyman's main mission is to deliver valuable ultrasonic cleaners while advancing with technology as well.

iSonic

iSonic Inc manufactures and distributing the ultrasonic cleaners to families, retailers, dental clinics, and laboratories. Their products are marked with state of the art SMT and AI lines. Currently, iSonic produces over a million ultrasonic cleaners a year, and each of them operates at the highest level of quality.

ISonic ultrasonic cleaner.

How To Make DIY Ultrasonic Cleaner

Building a homemade ultrasonic cleaner is not as complicated as it seems. One main advantage of making a homemade cleaner is that it's cost effective. It doesn't take a long time to construct one without the need of professional assistance.

Here are the things you'll need when making your ultrasonic cleaner:

  • A functional sound card
  • Audio cables
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Oscilloscope
  • Linear amplifier
  • Stainless Steel Container
  • Ultrasonic Transducers

Make sure to use containers that have a single layer of steel. While you can purchase all of the materials from the internet, you'll want to ensure that each of them meets the requirements of your homemade cleaner.

The oscilloscope is an optional piece that you'll need. It helps by measuring the frequency of the sound waves emitted from the machine. This is required when you need to determine the potency of your cleaner's frequency and if it's capable of providing power to your transducers.

Building Tips

Having a limited budget is no excuse. You can create a fully functional ultrasonic cleaner at home.

First, take into consideration about the frequency power of your amplifier and the RMS power. You'll want this to be higher than the machine's requirement. Doing this ensures that your machine will have enough power and energy to power the transducers.

Also, we suggest getting a stainless steel container. Stainless steel materials are immune to corrosion, which could infect your machine and contaminate your items. It even echoes sound waves effectively which helps the overall performance of your machine.

You can also opt in for a soldering iron. Soldering irons provide the benefit of temperature regulation. This will come in handy when you need to quickly switch from hot to cold temperatures on your cleaning device.

Your homemade cleaner will provide you a substantial amount of cleaning capabilities. It will also grant a huge boost in confidence due to making it solely on your own.

DIY ultrasonic cleaner.

But, your homemade device won't work as effectively as professional cleaners. But it's still a great tool as it will provide a basic set of cleaning capabilities at your home. Invest in a professional cleaner if you want to maximize your results.

Maintenance Tips

​If you are unsure about how to clean your ultrasonic cleaner, here are a few tips.

Rust Avoidance

Rust is a common problem that people face when using their ultrasonic cleaners. Even if you half a stainless steel container, rust films begin to build up and can potentially destroy your device. Rust films are created when ferrous items are being cleaned or through tap water used in the tank.

To avoid this, you want to clean the tank's surface regularly. Aim to clean the tank at least 2-3 times a week to reduce the chance of rust contaminating the device. Use a suitable cleaning solution to remove the rust deposits before they stain your tank's surface.

If there are any stains present, you can try this alternative method. Start your cleaner in heating mode and use water and a cleaning solution. This is known as self-cleansing and can help you preserve the appearance and performance of your ultrasonic cleaner.

Furring

Furring is another performance detriment that occurs when the heat starts to discolor the tank. This occurs when highly calciferous water is in contact with hot surfaces. Furring can be minimalized through continuous circulation. Keep the heating bath in a state of constant circulation to prevent hot spots near your machine's heaters.

Discoloration on an ultrasonic cleaner.

To prevent furring, turn on the ultrasound as soon as the bath begins to heat. This ensures that the temperature distribution remains equal and precise during the bath. However, if you see any furring or discoloration, then the caution and remedy are the same procedure as you would for removing the rust films.

Preventing Pinholes

Pinholes is a more severe concern when it comes to ultrasonic cleaning tanks. This happens when the metal parts come into contact with the tank's surface. Pinholes is dangerous because it can cause for water to leak out of your device and ruin the overall effectiveness of your cleanser.

Avoid this issue by using a basket when metal parts are used. You'll want to ensure that the basket doesn't touch the walls or the surface of the tank.

Acidic baths are another cause of pinholes. If acidic solutions are necessary, you should place them in a special container before setting it inside the machine. It's also important to know that pinholes caused by improper use might void the warranty of your tank.

Conclusion

Having an ultrasonic cleaner is a great investment. But, you'll need some extra help in finding the right product that will work for you. Look into our buying guide to find the right ultrasonic cleaners that are worth your money.

Jewelry after being cleaned in ultrasonic cleaner.

Do you have any experience using an ultrasonic cleaner?

Drop a comment and let us know what you think.

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