View Full Version : Ultrasonic Cleaners

April 16, 2002, 09:43 PM
I just purchase a 6 gallon Ultrasonic Cleaner and while I am having great results, I would like other's opinions on the best use of these devices. What solution/mix do you like best, and how long does it typically take to clean a firearm?

James K
April 16, 2002, 11:41 PM
I am not sure about the solution, as we used whatever the maker recommended, but I loved the ultrasonic cleaner. It doesn't take long, as I recall. A minute or so seemed to do the job on just about any gun. It was great on stuff like .22 rifles that had a ton of grease and lead in them - remove the stock, maybe one or two other parts, dunk them and turn on the switch.


April 17, 2002, 07:59 PM
I answered this question on several other forums, thought you might find my reply helpful.
As a watchmaker, I've used ultrasonic cleaners for 40 years or so.
I use plain, cheap Walmart paint thinner to clean guns and parts. (With plenty of ventilation). I also use lacquor thinner which cleans and brightens up parts.

For quick, flash cleaning of small parts, I put an inch or so of water, with some liquid soap as a wetting agent in the bottom of the cleaner. I then put small glass or plastic containers full of solvent into the tank. The water transfers the waves to the container. This is how watchmakers clean small items, without having to fill the entire tank. This also reduces the fire risk with inflamable solutions.

If you can afford it, the best cleaners are L&R brand clock and watch cleaning solutions and rinses. The cleaner removes light rust and tarnish, and leaves the item chemically clean. Instead of the rinse, (due to cost) use the paint thinner.
Be aware that some solvents will attack plastics, and ultrasonics speed that process up.

If you can live with water-based cleaners, mix most any good grease cutting soap with water and a little ammonia. Some of the "Orange" citrus cleaners are good.
After cleaning and rinsing, I use a hairdryer to dry, or a heat box with a light bulb inside as a dryer. Use of water-based cleaners can cause slight surface rust, so lube ASAP.

Always use the tank heater if it has one, use warm water, or let the unit run until the solution gets warm. A warm solution transfers the waves better. When possible, use a basket that keeps parts off the bottom of the tank. The tank works better this way.

KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF THE CLEANER. Too much dipping into ultrasonics can cause damage to your bones.

April 17, 2002, 08:12 PM
Thanks folks,

April 18, 2002, 08:57 AM
I always read the threads about ultrasonic cleaners, seems like such a good way to really clean a gun if you know the rules of use and all. I checked into buying one a couple of years back, and found that they seem to be the price of a new handgun or more. I'm not saying they aren't worth it, but they are a bit steep for me. I wish someone like Blount would come up with a version that would be less expensive, maybe designed around the shooter/hobbyist type usage, with the features needed for this purpose, whatever they would be. I'm guessing a timer, a rack to keep things from coming into contact with the sides or bottom of the tank, etc. I think that something like this would be a marketing coup.

April 19, 2002, 04:32 AM
There were some good threads a few years back about where to buy for better pricing. There was a dental sales place in NJ that I bought mine from. It wasn't cheap, but they had like new and literally new returns that were significantly discounted. Another source is local dentists, who sometimes give these away when replacing them with a new one.

They're great for getting things clean where disassembly is a pain. One good example: bolts from M1 carbines and rifles.