A Guide to Ultrasonic Clean Jewelry

Do you have jewelry that needs some TLC? An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner could be just what you need! These cleaners are perfect for breathing new life into old jewelry that has built up layers of grime over the years. But how does an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner work? How do they compare to steam cleaners, and, most importantly, are they worth it? Discover everything you need to know about ultrasonic jewelry cleaners in the following guide.

What is an Ultrasonic Cleaner?

An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that is widely used for deep cleaning jewelry. Ultrasonics work by using high-frequency (ultrasonic) waves to create microscopic bubbles in a tank of water. These bubbles scrub the surface of the jewelry clean in a process known as cavitation. Cavitation produces tiny shockwaves that remove tarnish, dirt, grime, polishing compounds, and other foreign particles from even the tiniest crevices. In other words, an ultrasonic cleaner can be used to clean those hard-to-reach areas on your jewelry that tend to accumulate oil and dirt over time.

The Advantages of Ultrasonic Cleaners

1. User-Friendly

Ultrasonic cleaners are very easy to operate, making them ideal for cleaning your jewelry at home. All you need to do is fill the cleaning tank with water and a few drops of dish soap. You then place your soiled jewelry inside and start the cleaning cycle with the press of a button. For added convenience, most ultrasonic jewelry cleaners have an automatic shut-off feature.

2. Time and Cost Efficiency

Ultrasonic cleaners eliminate the need for pre-soaking and manually scrubbing your jewelry, which can be time-consuming. Furthermore, ultrasonics can be used repeatedly and only require minimal cleaning solutions, making them cost-efficient in the long run.

3. Deep and Gentle Cleaning

Ultrasonic cleaners are very effective at removing stubborn dirt and grime from areas that are impossible to reach with traditional cleaning methods. The microscopic bubbles generated by the high-frequency sound waves penetrate every nook and cranny of your jewelry, ensuring a thorough cleaning. Additionally, there’s no need for harsh chemicals, making it suitable for delicate items and a wide range of precious metals and stones.

4. Versatility

An ultrasonic cleaner can clean more than just jewelry. It can also be used for cleaning other small items such as eyeglasses, collectibles, dentures, razor blades, and utensils, to name a few.

Ultrasonic Cleaning vs Steam Cleaning

Both ultrasonic and steam cleaners are effective at cleaning jewelry. However, each method offers something different, and there are certain factors to bear in mind when choosing the one that is the most suitable for your needs:

Cost

At-home ultrasonic cleaners are typically less expensive than steam cleaners, making them a more cost-effective option for regular jewelry cleaning.

Ease of Operation

For at-home jewelry cleaning, ease of use becomes a decisive factor. Ultrasonic cleaners are generally more user-friendly compared to steam cleaners. The cleaning cycle can be initiated with a touch of a button and the only action required from you is to fill the tank with water, a suitable cleaning solution, and your jewelry. Steam cleaners, on the other hand, require a bit more skill and caution to operate. This is due to the high heat and pressure involved, which can result in steam burns or damage to the jewelry if mishandled.

Jewelry Type

While steam and ultrasonic cleaners are both effective at cleaning jewelry, they are not suitable for every kind of precious stone (we cover these in more detail below). However, jewelry made from diamonds, platinum, silver, yellow, white, and rose gold can withstand both cleaning methods.

If you’re unsure about whether a particular jewelry piece is safe to clean in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner, consult with a professional jeweler.

How To Use an Ultrasonic Cleaner To Clean Jewelry

Using an ultrasonic cleaner is as easy as one-two-three! All you need is water and a mild liquid soap. No abrasive chemicals, harsh scrubbing, or clean-up needed. Just follow these steps:

  1. Plug in the device and fill the tank with water.
  2. Lather your jewelry in a suitable liquid soap.
  3. Place your jewelry in the machine and start the cleaning cycle.
  4. Gently pat your jewelry dry with a soft microfiber cloth or lay it flat and allow it to air dry out of direct sunlight.

What Not to Put in Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaners

As mentioned, not all jewelry can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner. The high-frequency sound waves can damage softer precious stones like emeralds, pearls, turquoise, and opals. Organic materials such as amber, coral, and ivory can also be damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner.

Additionally, stones that have been heat treated to enhance their color should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. This is because the ultrasonic waves can reverse this treatment, dulling the color of the stones. Furthermore, stones with internal flaws, known as inclusions, can crack or shatter due to the vibrations of the machine.

Conclusion: Are Ultrasonic Cleaners Worth It?

Ultrasonic cleaners are extremely efficient when it comes to removing dirt and grime from your favorite jewelry pieces, making them shine like new. If you own a large amount of jewelry (that can handle the vibrations of an ultrasonic cleaner) or if you plan on opening your own jewelry business, then buying an ultrasonic cleaner will definitely be worth your while.

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