What is The Best Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner?

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The ‘best’ ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is somewhat of a misnomer that can be dangerous when considering the cleaning needs for your jewelry. Before deciding on the ultrasonic cleaner, first you need to evaluate the type of jewelry you have. Some gemstones are not suitable for ultrasonic cleaning. They are fragile enough even with the gentle action of an ultrasonic cleaner. Others may need particular cleaning solutions that do not discolor or harm the luster of your jewelry.

That said, an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is by far the fastest and most efficient way to clean your jewelry. All pieces of jewelry like rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, etc come out sparkling clean after the process. It helps to get rid of all the grime and dirt quickly and easily within a span of a few minutes. This is the most effective way in cleaning gemstones, diamond, platinum and gold (14K, 18K or 24K) when compared with the more inefficient methods of using swabs and soft cloths.

Ultrasonic cleaners have a cleaning tank and a motor. When the jewelry is immersed in the cleaning liquid solution, the electric generator or motor creates a vacuum cavity in the cleaning liquid through alternate waves of compression and decompression. This process of ‘cavitation’ results in effective cleaning. The frequency is governed by the ultrasonic generator, and can be set to an intensity suitable for cleaning jewelry. Advanced models also prevent the formation of dead zones in the cleaning tank, where no cleaning action takes place. This can be essential if your jewelry has intricate designs and cavities that will be difficult to penetrate by normal ultrasonic cleaning. The ‘scrubbing bubbles’ that are formed due to the phenomenon of cavitation reach every crevice and crack on the surface of the jewelry. They lift off all the dirt and remove all the stains.

The jewelry, or any object for that matter, must never be placed directly in the bottom of the tank. Put them in a basket that has jewelry racks or ring holders. The basket can then be submerged in the cleaning solution for a safe and hassle-free cleaning process. Then the jewelry must be thoroughly rinsed with water after the cleaning process to wash off any residue.

It is recommended to switch on the unit a few minutes prior to the cleaning process, so the ultrasonic bath attains the set temperature. Auto degassing is another feature available in advanced models that helps remove gas bubbles trapped in the liquid.

The cleaner is not meant to be used for fragile stones like emeralds, amber, opal and pearls. Sapphire, amethyst, aquamarine, rubies, silver and topaz and almost all semi-precious stones jewelry can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner.

The cleaning solution to be used varies with the nature of the stone and the metal setting or body that holds the stone in place. When cleaning metals of a high gloss finish, take extra care that you don’t use a cleaning agent that can mar or discolor the surface. Consult your jeweler or the vendor of the unit when you’re in doubt. Each cleaning solution has a different chemical formula aimed for specific types of surfaces. In general though ammonia and soap-based detergents are non-reactive and nonabrasive to most precious metals and gemstones. Also check your gemstones reaction to high temperatures as the cleaning solution will heat up during the cavitation process .

This article was written by Dr. Bob Sandor, a Director at Tovatech, a leading North American supplier of ultrasonic cleaners. When not busy running his company, he explores his fascination with the many aspects of various scientific & industrial devices. For more information on this article visit the Tovatech site from any of the above links.

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