What should you never put in an ultrasonic cleaner?

An ultrasonic cleaner is a device used to clean objects such as eyeglasses, jewelry, and such. It has a tank which you fill with water or a cleaning solution. When turned on, the machine produces high-frequency vibrations that literally shake the dust, grease, and other particles of dirt from the object.

This is a versatile machine in that many kinds of liquids can be poured in for cleaning and many kinds of objects can be put inside to be cleaned. However, there are some liquids and things that should not find their place in an ultrasonic cleaner.

Ultrasonic cleaners have their limitations as to what you can clean with them

Which Liquids Shouldn’t Be In an Ultrasonic Cleaner?

Some liquids aren’t safe for use in an ultrasonic cleaner. Here is a list of those liquids and the reasons why they should be avoided.

  • Solvent-based detergents. They are not fit for a cleaner because there is the possibility for the surface of the tank to be damaged. Also, those that have low flash points must be avoided. Aside from being damaging to the machine, they are unhealthy for people.
  • Highly flammable liquids such as gasoline or alcohol are strictly prohibited. As they get hotter and start vaporizing, they become a serious fire hazard, as well as possibly exploding.
  • Chlorine bleach is another liquid that shouldn’t be poured into the tank of an ultrasonic cleaner because it reduces the cavitation activity (ability of producing bubbles).

Which Objects Shouldn’t Be In an Ultrasonic Cleaner?

Ultrasonic cleaners can take in many kinds of objects and clean them. But of course, some should not be cleaned this way.

First things first, since the machine needs liquid in its tank, you will not use it to clean those objects that can be damaged by water. These include electronic devices and items that absorb a lot of water.

Porcelain and glass can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner safely, provided that they haven’t been cracked or aren’t scratched anywhere. If one of these is the case, the damage can worsen after machine cleaning.

When it comes to jewelry, most of it can be cleaned safely. This doesn’t include some gemstones, for example:

  • Those that are fracture-filled, for example, diamonds with glass-like substance or emerald with oil.
  • Gems made of organic materials because they are porous and can be damaged by heat and chemicals.
  • Gemstones that were coated with wax/oil/plastic or treated by heat to enhance color.
  • Any soft gems because they are prone to damage due to heat or changes in temperature.
  • Any imitation gemstones. They will probably not come out of the machine in the same form or color.

Generally, watches can be cleaned in this machine, but only those that are waterproof (not water-resistant). However, if you’ve already had your watch opened to change the battery or for any other reason, it is no longer recommended that you clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner. There is a risk of water damaging it.

Final Thoughts

Ultrasonic cleaners can clean various kinds of objects, from eyeglasses to surgical instruments. However, some things should not be used with this machine. On the one hand, it is not good to put flammable liquid in the tank as a potential spark may lead to a small explosion or even fire. 

On the other hand, when it comes to particular objects, anything that doesn’t stand water or has holes and crevices should not be cleaned in this machine because more damage may happen.