How Does the Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Work?

by Contributing Writer

The Machine

An ultrasonic cleaner consists of a tub with a removable basket or tray and a motor. The basket holds the jewelry in the tub with the cleaning solution. The cleaner plugs into a standard wall outlet. The motor runs and creates ultrasonic waves in the tub. The cleaner runs for a predetermined time cycle, anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes.

Materials

The cleaner requires only plain tap water or the special cleaning solution provided by the manufacturer. Each manufacturer has a different cleaning solution formula, but generally the cleaning solutions are made of nonabrasive detergents like soap or ammonia.

The Cleaning Process

The tap water or cleaning solution is poured into the tub. Then the jewelry such as rings, bracelets or necklaces go into the basket or tray. The tray goes into the tub. It is important not to crowd or stack the jewelry on the tray. With the tray in place, the motor runs and produces vibrating energy waves or ultrasonic waves. These energy waves are what give the ultrasonic cleaner its name. The energy waves spread out in the water, creating tiny bubbles. These bubbles surround the jewelry.

How It Gets the Jewelry Clean

The bubbles collide with the surface of the jewelry and knock dirt and grime off the jewelry. The bubbles are able to get into the tiny crevices of jewelry, ensuring that areas unreachable by traditional cleaning methods--like cloths and swabs--get clean. After the motor runs its cycle, it shuts off. The waves dissipate, and the dirt settles to the bottom of the tub. If the jewelry is still not clean, the dirty water can be poured out of the tub, and the tub can be refilled with water or cleaning solution.

Types of Jewelry

The ultrasonic cleaner works best on gold, platinum, silver and hard stones like diamonds. The cleaner will damage soft stones like opals and pearls.