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Cleaning SCUBA gear with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Since SCUBA gear is the life support system of the diver, proper maintenance is vital. Regulator first, second and alternate source second stages, dive computers, depth and temperature gauges, compasses and other equipment need to go through yearly scheduled maintenance to ensure proper function and avoid accidents from happening. One of the main reasons for yearly maintenance is the cleaning of all the moving parts like hose connectors, inflators and regulator parts to make sure that they work well and do not get stuck. Ultrasonic cleaning equipment is used by many if not all dive shops for this procedure.


SCUBA equipment is exposed to a variety of substances and environments that can cause build-up of number of different residues. Most dives are done in the ocean which exposes the gear to seawater. Seawater contains a number of different salts in different concentrations, all of which can cause clogging or jamming of the equipment. Additionally, some of the minerals in seawater are quite corrosive and can not only eat into the parts, but also cause additional clogging and jamming due to rust build-up and deposition of other by-products of corrosion.

Confined water dives in swimming pools also have the potential of harming the equipment as chlorine and other disinfectant additives to the pool water can cause corrosion to metal parts and deterioration of plastic and rubber parts through oxidation. Sand, silt and bacteria can leave additional residues in the sensitive moving parts like the BC low pressure inflator, or the first and second stage and alternate source second stage of the regulator.

Ultrasonic cleaners induce microscopic bubbles that implode forcefully in a cleaning solution. The process, called cavitation, blasts dirt, grease, rust, and grime away from any kind from hard surfaces placed in the solution. The ultrasonic cleaning process is more efficient and gentle to the equipment than most other cleaning processes. Since ultrasonic cleaning occurs on every surface in contact with the liquid, it also has the advantage of reaching inside complex parts and crevices inaccessible by manual cleaning.

Many manufacturers of dive equipment request ultrasonic cleaning of all parts for yearly maintenance of regulators, inflators and other pieces of equipment. However, ultrasonic cleaning is also a great way to get rid of any residues from salt water or silt after each dive to prevent corrosion from happening.

Ultrasonic cleaners can be pricey, but there are some inexpensive models available. The price basically depends on the way the ultrasound equipment is designed and manufactured. All well made equipment carries at minimum a 2-year warranty. More sophisticated equipment utilizes a microprocessor-controlled ultrasound generator. However, this level of sophistication is not necessarily required for basic cleaning applications. Even relatively low cost units work great for cleaning diving equipment at home.


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