What Are Ultrasonic Jewellery Cleaners?

Est. Reading: 3 minutes
November 23, 2023
an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner made from stainless steel
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If you’ve been looking for ways to clean your own jewellery at home, it’s quite likely that you’ve already come across ‘ultrasonic jewellery cleaners’.

These types of machines are designed to quickly and easily remove dirt, debris, and surface stains from most types of jewellery, and can be an ideal method for cleaning and restoring delicate items.

Most professional jewellers – including ourselves – use these machines regularly, though there are also smaller versions which you can buy to clean your own jewellery at home.

In this post, we’ll take a look at exactly what an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner is, and what you need to know before using one on your own precious jewellery collection.

What is an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner and how does it work?

An ultrasonic cleaner is a small machine that’s designed to emit high-frequency sound waves to clean jewellery.

These ultrasonic sound waves create bubbles or ‘voids’ in the cleaning solution or liquid which then rapidly collapse to generate miniscule shock waves. These shock waves loosen and carry contaminant particles away from jewellery in a process known also as cavitation.

Are ultrasonic jewellery cleaners effective?

Ultrasonic jewellery cleaners are generally only needed for jewellery that calls for a little bit more than the usual TLC.

Although most lightly tarnished or ‘dirty’ jewellery can be cleaned with a simple solution of mild dish soap, warm water, and a light brush or cloth, ultrasonic cleaners are better-suited to removing stubborn ‘caked-on’ dirt from jewellery – including those hard-to-reach places.

The high-frequency ultrasound waves used by the ultrasonic cleaner – ranging from 20 to 400kHz – are able to reach the deepest parts of the jewellery in order to remove oils, dirt, and daily grime.

Important points when cleaning jewellery with an ultrasonic cleaner

When using an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner, most experts recommend using a non-ionic wetting agent, detergent, or ammonia cleaning solution for best cleaning results. Any cleaning agents containing bleach or acids should generally be avoided as these could harm some precious metal alloys.

It’s also important to use hot water to get the most effective clean, however, NEVER use boiling water as this can damage gemstone jewellery. Some ultrasonic jewellery cleaner models available on the market have built-in water heating features to keep the water at the right temperature for the best clean.

Lastly, choosing the correct cleaning cycle time varies depending on how dirty the jewellery item is. As a general rule of thumb, a trial cycle should typically run anywhere from two to ten minutes. In some cases, you may need more than one cycle to thoroughly clean particularly dirty pieces of jewellery.

Can ultrasonic jewellery cleaners damage jewellery?

Not all jewellery can be cleaned with an ultrasonic device; while most types of jewellery benefit from ultrasonic cleaning, some types can actually be damaged during the process.

It’s important to NEVER use an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner for softer gemstones such as opals, emeralds, or turquoise, or organic jewellery containing pearls, coral pieces, or amber. This is because ultrasonic waves can penetrate the soft surface of these materials causing them to erode or weaken. Porous gemstones can also chip or break due to the strong vibrations of the machine.

Got questions about cleaning your jewellery?

If have a question, or if you’re not quite confident enough to begin cleaning your own precious jewellery yourself, then it’s always important to consult a professional.

At Martin Gear Jewellers, we’ve been manufacturing, selling, and cleaning jewellery for decades, right from our Dublin City centre shop. Simply drop into our store on 5 Mary St, Dublin 1, or alternatively, just give us a call now on (01) 872 8726 and we’d be happy to help.

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