By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

ultrasonic cleaning fluid ?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
Gerd Vanhaevere18/08/2020 16:12:57
13 forum posts

With the excellent article about a diy ultrasonic cleaner in the last mews , the next logical question I think is : how about diy cleaning fluids .

I have a couple of recipes wich I use quite often . Especially the first one .

A mixture 1 to 5% of ammonia and a few drops of detergent in 70° C water .

A mixture 1 to 5% of vinegar and some detergent in hot water .

Both these mixtures work , and certainly beat the commercial ones prices .

Carefull though with the vinegar , it'll eat some metals .


So I 'm wondering . Are there any more good known recipes out there ?



Edited By Gerd Vanhaevere on 18/08/2020 16:13:24

Gerd Vanhaevere18/08/2020 17:21:25
13 forum posts

A t hird one , wich works for highly contaminated materials is a mixture

of dish waher powder , detergent and hot water .

Never tried it on aluminium alloys , but for steel gears and bearings etc it does a goed job


Graham Stoppani18/08/2020 17:29:28
124 forum posts
26 photos

I have just been experimenting over the last few days with an alternative way of using my ultrasonic bath based on some YouTube videos I have watched.

1. Fill the bath as normal with ordinary tap water at room temperature.

2. Get two or three small glass jars with lids and place the parts to be cleaned in them. (size of the part predicates the size of the jar).

3. Top up the jar with the solvent of your choice from white spirit to petrol so that the parts are fully immersed. (I have been using parafin)

4. Place the jars in the bath. It doesn't matter if they are floating or resting on the bottom of the wire basket.

5. Run the bath for about 15 minutes at a time and do not heat the bath. The water will warm up slightly with the ultrasonic action.

6. Remove the parts and inspect. Repeat the process again if further treatment is required.

SAFETY: The solvents used will not get much warmer than ambient temperature as long as the bath running times are kept short. They are in a sealed non-flammable container. There is a limited oxygen supply within the container. In the event of combustion the container is sat in a bath of water.

So far the results for me have been very good on mucky parts removed from a motorcycle.

duncan webster18/08/2020 17:58:33
3989 forum posts
65 photos

I cleaned some ally parts in the dishwasher (when SWMBO was out!) Came out oxidised. Thankfully not ruined, but I won't be doing it again

Russell Eberhardt18/08/2020 20:49:28
2738 forum posts
86 photos

I use this recipe for cleaning clock parts in my ultrasonic bath. It brings brass parts up to a lovely shine.


For general cleaning I just use a little dishwasher rinse aid in water. It is just detergent but doesnt foam.


Jon Lawes18/08/2020 21:12:09
927 forum posts

Very useful, thank you.

John Haine18/08/2020 21:13:01
4675 forum posts
273 photos

I used to clean microwave filter parts in a plastic bag filled with solvent sitting in a water-filled bath.

Nigel Graham 217/09/2020 00:40:21
2136 forum posts
29 photos

Remembering using Decon ultrasonic cleaning fluids at work, I looked it up - if you need find what's in a substance use its "Safety Data Sheet". Decon 90 is a solution of potassium hydroxide and detergents; so though not a chemist I would think ordinary laundry detergent with washing-soda (not as hazardous as potassium hydroxide) would work as it is not so dissimilar to the proprietory fluid.

Note though, that alkalis will attack aluminium.

I am though, very puzzled by this thing about putting the work-pieces in a hard plastic or glass container within the tank. It does not seem to have come from the tank manufacturers; but I accept some may advise or suggest specific types of intermediate container for their tanks and for specific types of fluids - those are important variables!

Looking at it from an acoustics perspective - and the parts I was cleaning at work were for ultrasonic transducers - I would think some of what has been suggested on this thread would diminish the efficiency of the ultrasonic action, or even negate it, turning the process into one of simple washing.

Judging by the properties of the materials, a polythene bag or beaker might not present much impedance as the speed of sound through polyethylene is not too far different from that probable in a rich detergent solution. Glass though, is likely simply to bounce most of the sound back off into the water. If you then fill the jar or beaker with something other than water, you add still another mis-match to the system.

Ultrasonic cleaning is predicated on placing the work-piece, with the worst muck removed first, directly in a suitable solvent or detergent solution in the tank itself; and the manufacturer has gone to considerable trouble to couple the transducers to the tank to minimise the losses due to the two surfaces between transducer and fluid. So why add more, and worse, un-matched, barrier surfaces?

(This matter of acoustic coupling explains the gel used between transducer and skin in medical ultrasound - it is a matching layer to help as much of the signals' energy across the boundary as possible.)

Even if your intermediate container and the liquid within that are reasonably well matched to the surrounding fluid, so the work actually is being cleaned ultrasonically, the smaller container will cramp the rinsing action and keep the dirt around the work-piece.

Essentially we seem to have here suggestions to buy an expensive bit of equipment then not let it work at its best. It may still work, but is it working as intended or merely as a solvent-tank? If the latter, you might just as well wash the items in the kitchen sink.

The baths we had at work came with stainless-steel mesh work-holding baskets like those in chip-fryers, but you could dangle smaller work-pieces on wire from some point above.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Support Our Partners
Eccentric July 5 2018
Rapid RC
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "For Sale" Ads
Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest