Jewelry is as appreciated in the modern times as it was in the past, and it is a part of many people’s lives. Received as a gift, bought by yourself or inherited from your relatives, your favorite items require maintenance and periodic cleaning. In order to make this chore easier, ultrasonic cleaners have been invented; here are some reasons to get your hands on one as soon as possible.
Ultrasonic cleaning uses ultrasound waves (usually, their frequency varies between 20 and 400 kHz) and a cleaning solvent to clean various items. The process is very popular among watchmakers, jewelry workshops, and electronic repair workshops as it is particularly efficient in cleaning small, fine pieces that would be damaged by other more traditional methods. The sound waves create very, very small vacuum bubbles in the solvent used that can reach into small spaces, unreachable by conventional methods; this collapse and create heat and pressure, cleaning the item.
If you work in the jewelry business, you know how difficult it is to clean and make an old, dirty but intricate piece shine as it once did. The cleaner will do this for you, without any other accessories needed. Performing a basic ultrasonic jewelry cleaners comparison will show that they are pretty much similar in terms of look, but they operate in different ways. The basket used to hold jewelry is a common feature to all of these designs, and this is where the similarities end.
The cleaning solution differs greatly from model to model. Even though some work with plain tap water, most require a specialized substance that has to be purchased separately. In some cases, one can improvise a cleaning solution by filling the machine’s tank with water and then adding a tablespoon of ammonia.
After this, before inserting the jewelry, some dishwashing liquid can be added too, for better results. In order to mix these substances and obtain the best results, the machine can be turned on and allowed to run for 5 or 10 minutes without any pieces inside the tank; these can be added once you are sure that the cleaning solution got properly mixed out. Keep in mind that the best results are obtained when the water is hot.
Use warm tap water or heat it up right before boiling point before pouring it into the ultrasonic cleaner. Some more expensive models feature a built-in heater, so they can work on cold solutions too without any problem or reduction in terms of quality. Place the jewelry in the tank and keep the machine operating until the pieces are clean, and once they are in a satisfactory state, turn it off. Remove the items 5 or 10 minutes after this, so that the dirt has sunk in the tank and will not get back on the jewelry.
Before purchasing an ultrasonic cleaner, think about what kind of gemstones you want to wash. Most are sensitive and can be badly damaged by ultrasound; it is not recommended to use the cleaner for soft gemstones such as opals, lapis lazuli or turquoise. Pearls, corals, and amber can also suffer irreversible damage, and it is not recommended using the machine on them. Items whose color has been enhanced by using heat treatments should not be cleaned with this machine.
Most cleaners and polishers use 42 kHz sound waves, and some include adjustable power levels. The latter is the most versatile and recommended for those who own many different pieces, which require different treatment. Using the lower power protects the most delicate items, while the higher levels are useful for large, less sensitive items that require thorough cleaning.
Leaving gemstones aside, almost all jewelry can be cleaned by such a machine so it spares you the effort of hand-cleaning it with a brush and dangerous chemicals that might harm your skin. Versatility and ease of use are factors that should be considered, and tap-water cleaners are definitely more suitable for less professional users, who do not demand the highest performance.
Another reason to buy such a device is the value of the money. Instead of having a watchmaker or jeweler clean them, you can now do this yourself without having to go and drop or pick them up. Even though it is more expensive at first, in time the machine will pay off since it requires no further accessories and investments, other than special cleaning solutions of course.
Once purchased, the machine has low operating costs as it does not use ridiculous amounts of electricity nor does it require any specific maintenance. It is safer for you and the environment to use simple, homemade solvents rather than the chemicals usually recommended for jewelry, and it is also faster as a complete cleaning will not take more than 20 minutes.
It goes without saying that if you are a jeweler, such a machine is a must-have. There are special products, usually larger and with many power levels and which use more than one cleaning solution, intended for professional use. Even though they are more expensive than common models, they are far more efficient, fast and versatile.
These also provide better results, the higher quality being a key to selling your pieces at higher prices and to more customers. The machine will prove useful when clients return with their jewelry to have it thoroughly cleaned, reducing the amount of work you would have to invest to simply placing them in the tank and choosing the solvent and power level.
If you are a collector, jeweler or simply an enthusiast who likes to keep his items as clean as possible, such a machine is a must-have. Affordable, portable and compact, they do not occupy large spaces and are far more efficient in cleaning intricate spaces than other methods. There is no reason for not purchasing an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, given the fact that they are useful and already available on most websites and in stores.