How to Test Ultrasonic Cleaner? [For Working and Efficiency]

An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that works using ultrasonic technology by developing a cavitation process.

If the cavitation mechanism is not good your machine may not clean the dirt and debris from the surface of items so well. And if it does not work as expected it’s of no use to own such a machine.

Ultrasonic foil test
Aluminum foil

You may, therefore, require testing your ultrasonic cleaner machine at times when you feel that it’s not working properly or as efficiently as it should be.

While there’s an easy way to check whether your machine is working or not, testing for the efficiency of the machine may be somewhat complex.

This is due to the fact that its efficiency may depend on various factors like the power of transducers, the chemistry of fluid you use, fluid temperature, water quality you use, etc.

This means you may need to perform some additional steps when you want to test for its performance.

The testing of your unit can be done via two methods.

  1. For working: By simply observing the activity in the tank
  2. For working and efficiency: By performing the foil test using a thin aluminum foil

How to Tell If Ultrasonic Cleaner Is Working?

This is generally a test you would like to do with a machine you have recently purchased.

To test the working, fill in the ultrasonic cleaner tank with water and ultrasonic cleaning solution. Then switch the unit on.

By just observing the activity in the tank for 2-3 minutes you can easily tell whether your ultrasonic cleaning machine is working or not.

If it’s working there can be some activity seen as a ripple effect on the surface of the solution. Also, you may hear a unique fizzing sound inside the liquid.

The sound and activity are generally due to the small tiny bubbles that are developed in the fluid due to the ultrasonic action.

If there’s no action or sound experienced check whether you have installed the device properly. Check for the cord and power supply to make sure that the machine is being powered properly.

If all seems to be OK most probably there is some problem with your machine due to which it is not working.


How to Perform a Foil Test for Ultrasonic Cleaner?

If you own a machine that’s working great for a long period of time and had only shown the signs of ineffectiveness recently (i.e. the parts you are cleaning are no longer coming out clean)  – you may then need to perform a well know ultrasonic test which is known as “foil test”.

– What Do You Need?

To perform this test all you need is:

  • A thin domestic aluminum foil (of about 10-25 μm thickness) and
  • A wireframe that can easily fit inside your ultrasonic cleaner tank to hold the foil

If you want you can use a durable tape instead of the wire frame, to hold the foil in a machine.

– Procedure You Need To Follow

Before you start performing the ultrasonic foil test fill 2/3 of your ultrasonic cleaner tank with water mixed with concentrate solution. Mix the solution and degas it for about 10 minutes.

Now when you have prepared the unit to follow the steps below:

  1. Using a wireframe or tape to partially submerge the aluminum foil into the ultrasonic solution
  2. Turn on the unit without using the heat option and set the timer for 1 minute
  3. Let the unit run for 1 minute and then it gets automatically switched off
  4. Now gently remove the foil from the ultrasonic cleaner and allow it to dry naturally
  5. When the foil has been dried out its time to inspect the sheet of aluminum foil

– Evaluating the Results of Foil Test

If your ultrasonic cleaner is working fine, the part of aluminum foil that is submerged inside the water solution should be perforated (holes and crinkles).

The part of the sheet which is above the water should not be perforated.

If there is no perforation seen, it’s simply a sign of low performance. This means if the foil is not punctured, your machine is not working as efficiently as it should be.


Important Things to Note when Performing the Test

While using an appropriate fluid quantity is recommended, you may also consider using plain distilled water (without the concentrate) for performing the test.

The concentrate is only used to test how powerfully your machine is operating. And due to this reason, there may be slight differences seen in the perforated aluminium foil.

The foil that has been tested, with a solution in the water, may show a bit more perforation than of the foil which has been tested with plain water.


How Often Should You Perform Ultrasonic Foil Test?

As such, there is no particular time frame after which you need to perform the ultrasonic test.

But if you wish to measure the performance of your cleaner or want to judge how effective it has been working you can do this periodic test once in a month or two.

Or in case you do not want to do periodic tests, make sure that you perform the test at least when you see an overall reduction in the performance of your cleaning system.

Again this can be easily judged when you feel that your unit is not cleaning the items well as it should be.

Below is a video which shows a foil test performed with a high-quality GT SONIC ultrasonic cleaner. Check it out to get a clear picture of how you can perform it yourself.