An ultrasonic cleaner is a cleaning device that helps to clean delicate and hard to clean items using an ultrasonic cleaning solution or fluid.
Ultrasonic cleaning is not only meant for industrial-use but also for cleaning the items (like jewelry, watches, glasses, etc) at home as well.
Most of the time cleaning with these devices can be done with only tap water and it does not require any cleaning solvent or solution.
But for cleaning the items that are heavily soiled or dirty, an ultrasonic cleaner solution needs to be used to get good results.
Why DIY Solution?
The cleaning solution for ultrasonic cleaners sold in the market is often costly.
Especially if you need to clean the items regularly using your cleaner machine, it can be an expensive deal to get them again and again.
The most convenient thing to do is – customizing it as per your requirement!
Believe me, making your own homemade ultrasonic cleaning solution can be really fun.
You can make these ultrasonic cleaning solutions at home and this would turn out to be a cost-effective solution for you in the long run.
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Below we discuss a few methods, steps, and tips which will help you to make the solution/ solvent at home without being heavy on your pocket.
First of all, if you are trying out varied homemade brews then it is good to note down all the ingredients and composition you may need to get.
This will avoid you from doing all the research over and over again.
Worry not! Most of these will be easily available to you at your home.
– Things You Need
- Two glass of water
- A teaspoon of plain household ammonia
- Two tablespoons of mild detergent like dish-washing soap
While choosing the detergent, make sure that the detergent does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
If you want to clean your diamond jewelry, care that detergents that contain bleach should not be used as it can dull or yellow the diamonds.
- Add two glass of water into an ultrasonic cleaner
- Add ammonia and the mild detergent to the water
- Turn on the device and let the unit work for 10 minutes
This will blend the ingredients perfectly and also dissipate the smell of ammonia to some extent.
You can now use this cleaning solution in your cleaner machine to clean the objects. Using this on your stuff will loosen up the smudges and dirt accumulated within.
Alternate Recipe You Can Try Out
In addition to the above-mentioned method, there are various other ways and recipes to make a homemade DIY ultrasonic cleaning solution at home – one of which involves the usage of vinegar (in place of ammonia).
- In hot distilled water add a bit of dish-washing liquid (like Dawn dish soap or any other bathroom cleaning liquid) and some white vinegar.
- Stir it lightly (to avoid frothing) and then pour it in your ultrasonic cleaner to clean your items.
The best thing about using these DIY homemade ultrasonic cleaning solutions or liquids is they can be used for a number of items including jewelry made up of silver, materials made up of stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and others.
Also, you can use it for cleaning your gun parts (like brass cases or cartridges), carburetors, contact lenses, etc. at home.
All it offers you is an amazing, sparkling cleaning job that is done within a very affordable range.
What Liquid to Use in Ultrasonic Cleaner?
As there are various types of ultrasonic cleaner fluids (with different brand names) available in the market selecting the right kind of ultrasonic cleaning fluid is a key to getting the cleaning results you are trying to achieve.
With that said, the type of solvent you need to use in your cleaning machine will depend on the type of machine you are using and the objects you are planning to clean with it.
When to Change the Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions?
Most of the time cleaning fluids, you use in your cleaner device, need to be changed after 3-5 usages.
To be exact – when you notice the used solution is highly dirty and the cleaning results you are getting are not desirable, it’s time to consider changing the degraded liquid solvent with a fresh one.
Regular changing of the old used solution is important for industries that are involved in the cleaning of heavily soiled items.
This not only enhances the cleaning result but also helps to prevent the unit from getting damaged.
Make sure that you clean the ultrasonic bath/tank properly after you have drained-out all the used solution and before you fill it with a fresh cleaning solution.
Tips for Using and Storing The Solution Safely
When it comes to buying and using solutions for your sonic cleaner machine, care that you only use water-based solutions.
These will make sure that you get the optimal performance each time you clean the items.
Unless absolutely necessary you should avoid using all kinds of flammable liquids in your ultrasonic cleaner machine.
These flammable fluids can be dangerous to use and can cause an explosion while performing the cleaning task.
For this reason, if there’s a particular need to use these kinds of fluids you should get an explosion-proof ultrasonic cleaner that is specifically designed for using flammable liquids.
Few other tips to maximize the efficiency of your ultrasonic cleaner liquid are:
✅ Always operate the machine (with solution) at the correct cleaning time/cycle that is needed to clean your specific items.
✅ Make sure that you maintain the optimal temperature and heat level that is required for cleaning the items in the cleaner solution.
✅ The oxygen trapped or dissolved in the solution can affect the cleaning process negatively.
Hence to achieve optimal cavitation care that the unit is degassed after you fill it with fresh cleaner fluid.
✅ Care that you use a wooden spoon to stir the solution before using it in the machine.
Also, avoid whipping as it can become a sudsy mess. Just blend the detergent solution gently with the water to make it diluted.
Can You Put Plastic in a DIY Solution?
Although a DIY ultrasonic cleaning solution is safe for plastic it is recommended not to place them directly into the contact of the metal surface of the machine.
Softer materials like these can absorb ultrasonic energy and can damage.
You should instead use a provided basket (made of plastic or stainless steel) to keep these items in the solution so that it remains suspended while undergoing the cleaning process.
Knowing all this, it’s time to find out how you can easily store the solvent.
Storing the Solvent Safely
Just in case you have some leftover ultrasonic cleaner solvent, it’s a good idea to get it stored for future use.
All you need to do is mix the solvent well and place it in an airtight plastic container. If you want to make it fresh for storage you can follow these steps:
- Mix 2 cups of distilled water and one cup of mild detergent in a plastic container.
- Store this solution and use a bit of it at times when you require to clean your items.
Store this do-it-yourself mixture and use a bit of it at times when you require to clean your items.
Make sure that when you are storing the homemade ultrasonic solution you may need to use it within 1-2 months.
Keeping it for long can change its chemical structure and viscosity making it ineffective for usage.
What Are The Various Types Of Sonic Solutions?
The ultrasonic cleaning solution can be classified into two groups based on its formulation. These are:
✅ Demulsifying formulation:
While using this type of solution the oily contaminants (like grease, oil, etc.) from the soiled objects floats towards the surface of the cleaner tank from where these can be removed easily.
Removing these oily contaminants, after each wash, helps in extending the performance of these demulsifying ultrasonic cleaning solutions.
When using this type of formulation care that you drain out the old solution from the tank, clean it properly and refill it before using it again.
✅ Emulsifying formulation:
When using this type of solution the debris and grime remain suspended and gets accumulated in the solution.
Over a period of time when you continue to use this emulsifying solution for cleaning different objects, its efficiency gets diminished.
Also, it has been seen that many times the accumulated contaminants in the solution come out with your item when it is brought out of the tank after cleaning.
Hence it requires an extra rinsing of the objects for achieving the desired cleaning results.
Due to suspended impurities in the emulsifying solution, the process to remove the contaminants is different.
You are required to drain out the solution from the tank, clean the tank and refill it with a fresh ultrasonic cleaner solution.
Based on pH levels and few other factors ultrasonic cleaning solutions are also categorized as follows:
1- Acidic solutions:
This kind of ultrasonic cleaner solution comes with a pH of 5.0 or lower.
These are often used for removing the deposits such as limescale, rust, and other minerals from metals.
Being acidic in nature these ultrasonic cleaning solutions should not be used for machines that are made up of materials that are vulnerable to corrosion.
In order to protect your ultrasonic cleaner bath either avoid using these solutions or use a plastic insert for tank protection.
2- Alkaline solutions:
This comes with a pH level of 10 or more.
These are formulated for effective cleaning of items made of tin, brass, zinc, copper, stainless steel, ceramics, glass, and even materials made up of plastic.
If using alkaline ultrasonic cleaning solutions doesn’t work, high caustic solutions are sometimes used which works well to remove oils, grease, waxes from materials made of cast iron and stainless steel.
3- Neutral solutions:
These types of ultrasonic cleaner solutions are used to remove the contaminants (like grease, dust, pigment, and other organic compounds) from materials made up of rubber, metal, glass, ceramic, and plastic.
These neutral solutions can also work best with expensive jewelry pieces and precious metals.
4- Enzymatic solutions:
These types of solutions for ultrasonic cleaner are basically used in the medical and food industries.
These are formulated with an aim to remove the contaminants that are protein-based.
You can use these types of liquids to clean materials like glass, aluminum, brass, titanium, plastic, and stainless steel.
5- De-ionized water:
DI water, DIW, deionized or demineralized water is a specially produced water from which almost all kinds of mineral ions (cations like sodium, calcium, iron, and copper, and anions such as chloride and sulfate) are removed.
Using de-ionized water or a distilled water in a sonic cleaner is better than plain tap water as it offers far better results.
This water solution for ultrasonic cleaner has a pH of 7 and can be safely used to clean any type of material.
These work great for materials like rubber, plastics, glass, and metals, especially at times when very tough cleaning is not required.
In addition to the above cleaning solutions for ultrasonic cleaner devices, there are few other types of specialized cleaning solutions that are formulated for cleaning and maintaining items like first-responder equipment, emergency kits, and firearms.
Tips for Choosing The Cleaning Fluid Or Solvent In The Market
If you are planning to use a commercial product, the key to getting the maximum cleaning power from your ultrasonic cleaning machine is to select the right cleaning fluid.
The liquid you choose should come with precise chemistry so that it can deliver the best flawless results you desire to have when cleaning your items.
Obviously, the type of cleaning fluid you need to clean your jewelry at home is different than the liquid you may need to clean the engine parts, tools, instruments, or electronic PCBs in industries.
It is therefore important that you check the type of product, the material it is made up of, its design & complex configuration, and the type of cleaning you want to achieve.
In short, some of the most important considerations you need to make while choosing your formulation are as follows:
- What Are The Items You Want to Clean
- Nature of The Contaminants You Want To Get Rid Of
- Rinsing and Other Post-Cleaning Requirements (If any)