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How to Select an Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner

There are many options available when it comes to selecting a jewelry cleaner. This post focuses on how to select a jewelry cleaner when you are involved in one or more of these activities:

  • Own and wear a wide variety of jewelry
  • Collect antique or estate jewelry as a hobby
  • Clean customers' jewelry as a service of your retail jewelry store
  • Buy and sell consignment jewelry
  • Manufacture jewelry

In each of these instances, an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is far more effective than typical home remedies in terms of speed and satisfactory results.

It is the best way to ensure a thorough cleaning job - removing accumulated oils, dirt and other dulling contaminants from the most intricate surfaces.

And for removing paste and polishing compounds used in manufacturing jewelry.

When you use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner jobs are completed in a few moments without damage that may occur from brushing or other mechanical means and without residues that may result from certain chemical jewelry cleaners.

How an Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Works

If you're familiar with the technology feel free to move on to the next sections.

Ultrasonic cleaners such as the Elmasonic E+ series offered by iUltrasonic are comprised of a stainless steel tank to which are mounted generator powered ultrasonic transducers. These are designed to vibrate at an ultrasonic frequency of 37,000 cycles per second or 37 kHz. This is above the range of human hearing.

When activated by the control panel the transducers cause the bottom of the tank to vibrate as a membrane. This vibration creates billions of microscopic vacuum bubbles. The bubbles implode against surfaces immersed in the cleaning solution. This is called ultrasonic cavitation.

It blasts and carries away the contaminants on surfaces immersed in the cleaning solution. Because the bubbles are so small they penetrate the most intricate crevices in jewelry.

This makes the jewelry cleaning process much faster and more thorough than mechanical/manual cleaning. The process is so fast that it does not damage jewelry being cleaned*.

Ultrasonic Cleaners for Jewelry Manufacturers

Jewelry manufacturers producing products on an assembly-line basis such as class rings, fraternal pins and other items for the mass market rely on ultrasonic cleaners that operate continuously.

The task here is to safely remove polishing pastes and other tenacious residues deposited during the manufacturing operations.

The Elma xtra TT ultrasonic cleaners offered by iUltrasonic are ideal solutions to solve production line jewelry cleaning tasks. Operating at timed cycles to 30 minutes or continuously for up to 8 hours the 37 kHz xtra TT ultrasonic cleaners feature continuous Sweep for uniform cleaning and a user-activated Dynamic mode to remove particularly tenacious contaminants.  

5 Reasons Why an Ultrasonic Cleaner is the Best Jewelry Cleaner

Here are 5 good reasons to consider an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner:

  1. Speed
    When it comes to jewelry cleaning, the old bromide “time is money” is a literal truth. These machines have enabled jewelry manufacturers and retail jewelers to quickly serve customers purchasing products for retail, serving a retail customer, or preparing neglected estate jewelry for auction or resale.
  2. Economical
    By lowering the time for jewelry items to reach wholesale customers or serve retail customers' jewelry cleaning requests, the ultrasonic cleaning process makes these machines a money-saving investment.
  3. Environmentally Friendly
    Ultrasonic cleaning solutions ideal for cleaning jewelry are biodegradable, eliminating or reducing disposal concerns of spent cleaning solutions.
  4. Precise
    Some of the most valuable jewelry items can also have the most intricate designs. Necklaces, bracelets, brooches, rings and similar items have crevices that trap dirt, dust and other contaminants.
    Specialty items with customized designs can also contain small cavities where dirt can accumulate. Many of these spaces are too small for most tools to reach. Ultrasonic cavitation sends the cleaning solution into those small spaces to bring a new shine to delicate items.
  5. Value
    Jewelers grade their diamonds according to four major criteria: cut, color, clarity and carats.
    Another “C” can also affect the perceived value of diamonds: cleanliness. A customer will view an otherwise perfect diamond with a stain or smudge as having less value than a pristine, sparkling stone. A bath in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner can remove many of the external imperfections that may cling to precious stones.

Selection Tips for an Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner

Operating Features

Ultrasonic cleaners range from those with a simple on-off unit to those with features that are important to fast, thorough and safe cleaning. iUltrasonic offers products with these and other features from several manufacturers. Here is a representative checklist found on Elma units offered by iUltrasonic:

  • A sweep mode is extremely important. Sweep provides a slight ± variation in ultrasonic frequency to provide more uniform cleaning to highly finished delicate products such as jewelry and gemstones.
  • Timers let you set the length of the recommended cleaning cycle length (often suggested by cleaning solution manufacturers and your personal user experience).
  • Temperature controls – thermostats – let you set the recommended cleaning temperature, also suggested by solution manufacturers (and your experience).
  • Pulse or Dynamic modes speed the removal of trapped air in fresh cleaning solutions that otherwise impedes cleaning action and also can be activated to clean particularly stubborn contaminants.

Other Important Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Selection Criteria

  • SizeThe dimensions (length, width, depth) of the ultrasonic cleaner’s tank must be sufficient to accommodate what you are cleaning. Typically these are small parts, but all surfaces must be immersed in the cleaning solution.
  • Baskets and Ring Holders Ultrasonic jewelry cleaning is accomplished in baskets. Useful accessories are ring holders suspended in the cleaning solution. Fine mesh baskets for very small items can be placed in regular baskets or otherwise suspended in the cleaning solution.
  • The Jewelry Cleaning Solution Jewelry cleaning professionals may have their own favorite cleaning solution. A good recommendation is JewelryClean S8 concentrate, which we describe below.

A Typical Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaning Sequence

  1. Prepare the cleaning solution. As noted we suggest JewelryClean S8 concentrate available in quart bottles with a recommended dilution to 2 to 5% with water. Add water and the correct amount of concentrate to the tank. Activate the unit and allow the solution to mix and degas before commencing.
  2. In the meantime position objects to be cleaned in the mesh basket or ring holder. Lower the jewelry into the cleaning solution, close the lid and set the timer for 5 minutes.
  3. At the end of the cycle remove the basket and allow solution to drip back into the tank. Rinse the items and let them dry. Electric hot air dryers are available for this operation.

More Tips on Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaning

Do not overload the basket. Avoid contact between parts being cleaned - especially if they are of soft metals. It is better to clean a small number of items at a time.

The cleaning solution should be replaced when cleaning cycles get longer. Drain the tank and dispose of the solution according to local regulations, thoroughly rinse the tank with clean water and prepare a new batch.

Read and follow the manufacturer's user guide for ultrasonic cleaner operation and maintenance.

Questions?

Call the iUltrasonic cleaning experts for recommendations on equipment that meets your needs for jewelry cleaning or for other ultrasonic cleaning applications.

*Fragile or soft stones such as pearls, opals, emeralds and amber should not be cleaned with ultrasonics.

FREE GUIDE TO ULTRASONIC CLEANING APPLICATIONS

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