Sonic Cleaning Tarnished Silver

Sonic Cleaning Tarnished Silver

Holidays traditionally call for bringing out the best when entertaining family and friends. Bringing out the best may entail the unenviable task of cleaning the tarnished family silver – especially if it has not been used for awhile.

There’s a fast and safe way to remove tarnish from silver – one that can be employed by the homeowner or by retail outlets that service and repair silver flatware and other pieces. That’s by immersing the pieces in an ultrasonic cleaner bath containing a cleaning solution specially formulated to remove dirt and oxides from silver. The advantage of sonic cleaning in addition to speed is that it is accomplished without using harsh chemicals or polishes that can damage highly polished surfaces.


Elmasonic EP10H

Cleaning is accomplished by a process called ultrasonic cavitation produced when ultrasonic transducers, vibrating at frequencies such as 35 kHz, produce minute bubbles in the cleaning bath. These countless bubbles implode and carry away tarnish and other contaminants when they contact the surface of the silver. The bubbles are so tiny they penetrate intricate patterns to remove tarnish difficult to reach with a polishing cloth.


Ultrasonic cleaners are available in a variety of sizes. One ideal for homeowners is the .25 gallon capacity Elmasonic EP10H with a stainless steel tank and mesh basket to safely hold valuable silver pieces. Equipped with a timer for cleaning from 5 to 30 minutes this attractively designed ultrasonic cleaner is also widely used to clean personal household items such as jewelry, glasses, scissors and tweezers, thereby extending its utility.

A recommended cleaning detergent is Elma noble clean, available on request, that intensively cleans and brightens silver in just a few minutes. After rinsing in cold water a temporary anti tarnish finish helps keep your silver bright for a long time. Also ask us for recommended cleaning solution concentrates for other household items that you want to clean in your Elmasonic EP10H ultrasonic cleaner.

This tarnished silver can be restored to like new in an ultrasonic cleaner


With experimentation you’ll perfect your process. Here’s a suggestion on how to start.

  1. Fill the ultrasonic cleaner tank half way with water then add an equal amount of Elma noble clean to achieve the recommended 50-50 dilution. Put the cover on the tank and turn on the ultrasound for 10-15 minutes to mix the solution and drive off trapped air. (Do this each time you prepare a fresh solution.)
  2. Place the silver in the basket (try to avoid stacking), lower the basket into the solution, and replace the cover to reduce evaporation and noise.
  3. Set the timer for 5 minutes and observe the results. Cleaning time depends on the condition of the silver.
  4. Rinse silver with cold water and wipe it with a dry cloth. You’re ready to set the table!

When the cleaning solution becomes discolored and cleaning takes longer it should be replaced. Dispose of it according to local regulations and take the opportunity to thoroughly clean the tank following the user manual.

Contact our ultrasonic cleaning experts for additional information on ultrasonic cleaners and cleaning solution formulations.

More About the Author

Dr. Rachel Kohn has extensive experience in developing technology-based business opportunities. Prior to founding Tovatech, she successfully built international sales of novel analytical instrumentation for Smiths Detection as a Global Account Manager in the Life Sciences division. Dr. Kohn’s prior positions include Director of Business Development at Photon-X, a telecom component start-up, Project Manager at Cardinal Health, and Business Director at the Medical Device Concept Laboratory, a nonprofit research institution focused on development of biomaterials and implantable medical devices. In addition, Dr. Kohn held various positions at Hoechst Celanese Corporation, including Marketing Manager, Project Team Leader, Business Analyst, and Senior Research Scientist. She has authored 37 patents and publications based on laboratory research in diverse fields such as advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Dr. Kohn has a B.A. in Chemistry from Barnard College and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from M.I.T.