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Ultrasonic cleaner dangers [was: Clean Hands]

Hi all,

I have been looking up the ultrasonic cleaner dangers to hands
when dipping them in. I can’t find anything solid. (there is some
hearing damage hazard though). Manufacturers even claim that
there is no hazard from immersion (except for defatting the skin
in the solution). Can anyone with a solid story, anecdotal or
with a written reference add their comments? Rex Merten (OZ) is
doing some research to this end but I’d like to hear peoples
stories or citable sources on whether sticking your fingers in
the ultrasonic cleaner hurts them. Thanks Charles

Charles Lewton-Brain/Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

Metals info download web site:
Book and Video descriptions:
Gallery page at:

Dear Charles, I had a macho employee who used to immerse his
hands in the ultrasonic until his fingernails started falling
out. We don’t know why it did it but when he stopped dipping
them, they stopped falling out. this is not second hand. I saw
what happened to him.

As a biochemist who is also a jeweler, if someone sends me a
list of the components they are concerned about, I would be happy
to draft a response as to the danger of the solutions used. I
always use Top Job or Mr. Clean myself, and there isn’t too much
horrible stuff there. I will need to know the ingredients, not
the names of the solutions.

Joseph Howell

Here’s my 2 cents:

I have been told by several ultrasonic cleaner manufacturers -
DON’T wash your hands in it. The ultrasonic cleaner works by
creating little bubbles that implode to blast the dirt off your
jewelry. You can put a basket or beaker full of water (or other
chemical) into an ultrasonic and the energy is powerful enough to
be transferred thru the basket/beaker walls into the solution

So if you dip your hands in, your hands (bone, tissue, blood) is
being affected in the same way. This is NOT something you want
to do to yourself. Before we knew this, we used to play "chicken"
sometimes by dipping our fingers in and seeing who could leave
them there the longest - it starts to hurt after a while. (Yeah.
I know - we gotta get a life. :slight_smile:

Elaine Corwin (who now uses a plain old boring sink to wash
hands) Gesswein

It seems to me, that even if there AREN’T any hard and fast
facts re the situation, common sense would dictate that something
that implodes little bubbles in liquid (like blood) might be a
teensy bit bad for you. Ultrasonic medical devices are made
specifically for that purpose, but ultrasonic cleaners aren’t.
Why use something for something it’s not meant for, especially
when it might be dangerous?

I fear, however, that the longterm users are probably going to
stubbornly keep doing it, because they haven’t seen the effects
themselves, and I hope they stay healthy. I, for one, was told on
my first day of class never EVER put my hands in it, from all
three of my instructors. I’m going to believe them,
manufacturer’s instructions or not. It’s just as easy to go to
the sink, and why take an unnecessary risk? Thanks to all the
people who contributed constructively… as a starting-out
jeweller, safety is important to me.


Kieran, Just to start out , I like the name Jagular Girl ! I’m
with you why risk it if you dont have to . I can tell you from
personal experence that doing quality jewelry work with one hand
is possible , but not the method of choice .I lost use of my
left arm in a wreck. So I would think that any jeweler with two
good hands would not want to risk causing dammage to one or both
hands just cause he or she is too lazy to walk a few feet to
wash their hands in the sink. With all this confusion on the
safety of the ultrasonic to clean hands with , why has no one
suggested that the tough jewelers with the dry cracked skin that
catches and holds the polishing compound use the steam cleaner
to remove the compound and at the same time soften and add
moisture to their hands ? I’ve never heard of anyone saying that
method may cause bone dammage . L

Keep it safe !