Ultrasonic cleaner is not effective

I have an ultrasonic cleaner which I am using with gemoro cleaner at
the maximum strength listed on the bottle. My problem is it does
little or nothing. I still have to take the pieces and clean with a
dishsoap-ammonia solution and a tooth brush. So what is the point of
an ultrasonic cleaner if you still have to clean the jewelry
manually? I have read not to use ammonia in the cleaner because it
eats the metal of the tank. Any suggestions on alternative solutions?

thanks Dave Owen

David. What you probably have a either a transducer that is cracked
or a transistor that decided to quit. Lone Star Tecnical Service fix
your ultrasonic cleaner and bring it back to full power again.

Let me know what you decide

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Mike & Dale
Lone Star Technical Services

Dave -

I use a purple liquid, “Purple Power” (in a gallon container), that
comes from the Dollar General store. Costs about $5/gal. It’s MUCH
better than the liquid that comes with the ultrasonic. Use the purple
stuff in the same concentration as the ultrasonic’s cleaner.

I have seen a similar purple liquid bottled under other names, in
regular grocery stores. More expensive, and in smaller bottles, but
still effective.

best regards,
Kelley Dragon

hmmm I’m wondering if the ultrasonic is working properly. Take a
piece of aluminum foil… and stick it in the ultrasonic… while
running… if it puts lil holes in the aluminum foil… the
ultrasonic IS working correctly. IF it does nothing… your unit
needs to be repaired.

Just a thought…There is no doubt that it SHOULD not do
“little or nothing”.


Thank you for your post Dave as I was just thinking it’s time I
purchased an ultrasonic cleaner and wondered which one to consider.

Which of you out there loves yours? How do you use it to best
advantage? Where to purchase?

Cyndy Wolf

Get some ammoniated cleaner. You can put it in a covered plastic
container and immerse that in the tank water. Keeps the overpower
smell down. Plus, if you pop any stones they are easy to retrieve.

But you’re right sometimes the gook and meatloaf is just too
stubborn. Short of a steamer(which also has its ‘considerations’) you
need to soak and pick. A fine sawblade gets into azures pretty well,
slow, but well. For intractable crud there’s lye. Yeah, you could use
steam for that, but imagine getting hit on the cheek with someone’s
ricocheted 50 year old finger crud. Diseased, organic BBs. Lovely.

Yeah, being a jeweler is soooo romantic, ain’t it?

We use ZEP orange degreaser from Home depot. We put it into a small
plastic Hefty or Glad container which fits neatly in one side of the
ultrasonic. We put only water directly in the ultrasonic. Also we
fill the other half with another container with water…when we
remove an item, we give it a swish in the water, then steam. The ZEP
removes everything, and I truly mean EVERYTHING - grease, dirt,
polishing compound, biscuit dough, you name it, it doesn’t totally
kill your hands, plus it smells alot better than ammonia wafting
thru our store. The plastic containers mean we never have to empty
and clean the ultrasonic, also they make it a lot easier to find
stones! If you put a chain in the plastic container, it will not
scratch itself on the walls. Also,we use much less cleaner over time
since we’re not filling up the whole ultrasonic with it. We use vinyl
coated paperclips to hang everything on the edges of the plastic
containers. The Zep does a great job of cleaning our hands, too. The
only other adjunct device to all this is a really old battery
operated toothbrush with a really soft brush which we use on
stubborn areas.

a… That’s our cleaning technique in a nutshell.

Get rid of the “cleaner” and use a 50:50 ammonia (Parsen’s Sudsey
Ammonia is our, by far, favorite) and (for best results) hot water.

You will be very happy!!

John Dach

Ultra- cr ultrasonic cleaner is what I have used for years, it is
specifically designed for removing polishing compounds from metal,
it is the best solution I have ever used. No solution will remove all
the crap that can get on jewelry while it is worn by a customer, or
compacted buffing compound. Sometimes after long ultrasonic
cleaning, a toothbrush with dishwashing liquid has to be used to
remove stubborn residue. Sometimes this is true for the pavillion of
a diamond, some white frosty coating does not come off with
ultrasonic or steam cleaner.


Richard Hart G.G.
Denver, Co.

What are you trying to clean? Most “cleaners” don’t remove tarnish. I
use Rio’s RapidCleaner, but mostly to remove dirt and polish
(tripoli/rouge) residue… Seems to work fine. BTW, it works quicker
when heated. So, I have a heated ultrasonic. The very inexpensive,
unheated units don’t do much. You’ll get some cleaning if you use
the “jewelry dip” type cleaners.

Jon Lovegren

You may want to try BCR available through Armstrong Tool and Supply.
It’s made for jewelry ultrasonics and works better than anything
I’ve found out in 25 yrs. Their # is 800-446-9694. They also have a
website to order from: www.armstrongtool.com

jewelry dip scares me! I’ve had many mentors/teachers that swear
it’ll destroy the surface of the metal.


Dave, At school our technician puts Mr Clean in the ultrasonic tank
and it works like a charm every single time. I don’t think I have met
any cleaning job that Mr Clean can’t handle to this point.

Cassandra Bazos
CB Jewelry Designs

Stuller sells and uses the solution in the plant… I have a few
sample little bottle. If seriously interested. I would be happy to
sent what I have… Merry christmas from Stuller, Inc.

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold

Dave, At school our technician puts Mr Clean in the ultrasonic
tank and it works like a charm every single time. I don't think I
have met any cleaning job that Mr Clean can't handle to this point. 

This made me smile. I remember that when I worked at the bench in a
jewelry store the foreman of the shop would mix up a solution of Mr.
Clean, Parson’s Sudsy Lemon Fresh Ammonia and Dawn dishwashing liquid
for the ultrasonic. It worked great.

Ammonia can be a bit harsh on sterling, I’ve found, if left in too
long. The ultrasonic itself can trash a sterling item-- especially a
casting that might have small porosities or shrink spot porosity.


I hate to admit this - but some considerable time past, I got my
first ultrasonic cleaner. It didn’t do anything - I even put in hot
water, ran it for a few minutes with the recommended soap type stuff,
nothing happened, nada, nyet.

Finally someone kindly told me that when you put in a fresh batch of
water and cleaner, there are bitty air bubbles in the water, and
nothing will happen. So - if your sonic does nothing - do this: put
in fresh water, turn on the heater if it has one and wait a few
minutes until it makes happy sonic noises. Before that happens, it
isn’t capable of cleaning. Test with aluminum foil.

Stuff doesn’t clean well if it is in a plastic basket that absorbs
the sonic vibes.

My choice for a cleaner is some of the purple de-greaser that Sams
club and others sell in gallon bottles. I dilute it at about eight
parts water to one part cleaner. Pretty much all of it works to some
extent - the prepared cleaners from jewelry supply folks work really
well, but I can never remember to buy more so I use what is around.

Judy Hoch

I haven’t used anything but Parsons Lemon Fresh in my ultrasonic for
35 years. It has never failed me yet. I just eyeball about half water
and half Parsons… It Works!


The ultrasonic itself can trash a sterling item-- especially a
casting that might have small porosities or shrink spot >porosity. 

Please explain this further Andy. I am getting ready to move from
some bronze castings to sterling and I use the ultrasonic to clean
investment off. I have only been using the ultrasonic recently with
casting but that seriously improves my production time. Anything I
can do to protect my work and learn would be lovely.

Thanks, Angela


Stuff doesn't clean well if it is in a plastic basket that absorbs
the sonic vibes. 

I didn’t know this. Is this true of all types of plastic? I always
use a plastic basket instead of a metal basket to avoid
metal-against-metal in the ultrasonic. If plastic and metal baskets
are out, what else is there? Also, I use a glass beaker sometimes.
Is this OK?


Stuff doesn't clean well if it is in a plastic basket that absorbs
the sonic vibes. 

My cleaner isn’t a big professional model by any means, but it came
equipped with a plastic basket. Seems to work OK.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ