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Solutions for cleaning brass in an ultrasonic bath

Hi folks,

a friend has an opal bead necklace on brass links that is a bit

I was planning on cleaning it in my ultrasonic bath for him using
salt, vinegar and detergent. (then clean with soapy water and finally

any other recommendations/gotchas?

Dr Paul van den Bergen


Paul don’t put opals in an ultrasonic, they will shatter.

all the best

Paul- Do not put opal beads in a a sonic. Regardless of the solution
in it, the sonic can destroy them. Opals are notoriosly fragile.

Vinegar or lemon juice and salt will clean the tarnish off of the

Many detergents will discolor the brass.

If this were my project I’d separate the opal beads from the brass,
clean seperately and then re string.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

turns out it wasn’t opal (plastic) and wasn’t brass - maybe brass
plated steel. detergent and 5 minutes in a bath cleaned it up nicely.

still interested in thoughts on cleaning solutions though…

for what it’s worth, I always use distilled water in the tank
itself, and the object to be cleaned in a pyrex beaker…

PLEASE Do not put opals in the ultrasonic. It will definitely affect
the opal harm.

Mike & Dale,
Lone Star Technical Service

I discovered a wonderful piece of equipment called Speed Brite. It
is an ionic cleaner that works wonders on tarnish and is safe for
all stones (opals, emeralds, etc. that are not ultrasonic safe). We
got one for our store when we had a lot of temporary holiday help
and we didn’t want to risk having them damage items by putting
things they shouldn’t in the ultrasonic. We discovered it was
especially effective at removing tarnish from silver gently and
thoroughly. I hope that helps!

Best wishes,
Donna W

Hi all

In Australia we use a JCR ionic cleaner. Great for everything but
Argentium as there is no need to use it on this metal. Just a quick
wipe with a polishing cloth is all Argentium needs.

all the best

Paul- Unless you are on well water with a very high mineral content
you shouldn’t need distilled water for a sonic.

We use the cheap little plastic strainers that come from the Dollar
Store to place small objects into while they are in the sonic. Every
thing else that can be suspended is put on a piece of scrap plastic
coated electrical wire that is shaped to hook on the edges of the
sonic with little bends in the middle to keep rings etc from rubbing
against each other. That way any grit on the object falls to the
bottom of the sonic and is not trapped in the same container that
contains the object you are cleaning. Less contact with grit less
likely that the piece will be scratched by vibrating vibrating up
against the grit.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer