Can You Clean That? Determining If A Part Can Go In An Ultrasonic Cleaning Tank

Posted on: 23 September 2020


Ultrasonic cleaning has been a fantastic addition to cleaning regimens, ranging from jewelry to industrial equipment of all sizes. As versatile as ultrasonic cleaning is, however, it's more appropriate in some situations than others. If you want to keep your equipment safe, and chances are that you do, you need to know when not to put something in that cleaning tank.

Anything That Can't Get Wet

Ultrasonic cleaning does use liquid. It can use water or a cleaning solvent, but it does use a fluid to create the cavitation — essentially small, imploding bubbles that create a scrubbing effect against the part being cleaned — necessary for the cleaning action to be effective. If you have parts that can't get wet from anything under any circumstances, save some careful spot cleaning, don't put those in an ultrasonic cleaner. Too often, people who don't know how these cleaners work think that they run solely on sound waves (because of the "sonic" in the name).

Vibration-Sensitive Items

The bubbles created during cavitation can create a lot of vibration, as you might expect. That can interfere with — and damage — items that are normally sensitive to vibrations. The vibrations created during cavitation can be stronger than what the part can take. Even though the bubbles might seem small, there are a lot of them, and the vibration happens constantly throughout the cleaning process. This can overload sensitive equipment and possibly lead to damage. At best it can make the equipments' sensors go out of whack, requiring additional calibration before the equipment can be used again.

The Wrong Cleaning Solvent

The ultrasonic cleaner will use a solvent, usually some sort of detergent, to loosen the dirt that's gotten onto the parts being cleaned. Just as you have to choose a cleaning solution that's appropriate for things you clean at home — you wouldn't use dishwashing liquid in the washing machine, for example — you have to be sure the solvent or detergent used in the ultrasonic cleaning machine is appropriate, too. The problem is compounded by the strength of the implosions; not only do you have a damaging substance, but that substance is being forcefully propelled onto the item being cleaned.

It helps to keep records of what can go in the cleaning tanks and with which detergents and solvents. If you're confused as to whether something specific can go in the ultrasonic cleaning tank, check with the manufacturer.

To learn more about ultrasonic cleaning equipment, contact a company like Pro Ultrasonics.