Ladies, if you’ve got just one diamond or piece of fine gold jewelry, an ultrasonic cleaner is a must. More fine jewelry than that in your possession? Run, don’t walk, for an ultrasonic cleaner to keep your jewelry stash sparkling.
Jewelry such as wedding bands and engagement rings are worn daily. These pieces of jewelry are in contact with your body constantly, collecting body oils, flakey skin, lotions, and who-knows-what in the course of a day. An ultrasonic jewelry cleaner can get your jewelry looking like new, because it removes the most insidious dirt and gets your jewelry gleaming in places you simply can’t reach.
For best results, keep the following tips in mind when cleaning jewelry with your ultrasonic cleaner.
Avoid the water
Avoid electrocution! Sorry to scare you, but the first and foremost thing to remember is to avoid touching water while the ultrasonic cleaner is operating. There’s a small tub that you’ll fill with water. Do this while the device is unplugged. Fill the tub with water within the minimum and maximum marks in the tub. Dry your hands, then plug the device into the outlet. While the device is running, don’t even think of going near the tub of water. When finished cleaning, pull the plug out first with dry hands, then retrieve your clean jewelry from the tub.
Hard gemstones and precious metal jewelry only
Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners work best with gemstones that are hard and durable. Diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, and other cut or faceted gemstones do very well. They clean up to a gleam in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum do well. Other metals, including titanium, stainless steel, copper, and brass clean up well too. But remember, ultrasonic cleaning may not clean off tarnish, which is the result of oxidation. It’s cleaning off the surface organic material, not the dulling caused by chemical reactions such as oxidation.
Leave your watch out of the ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Unless you’re absolutely certain that your watch is completely sealed and waterproof, you’re taking a chance with ultrasonic cleaning.
Soft, porous gemstones should be avoided for ultrasonic cleaning. Pearls, turquoise, micas, and amber, for example, should not go into the ultrasonic cleaner. A rule of thumb is to avoid gemstones of hardness below 4 on the Mohs scale.
Also, other soft porous materials used in jewelry should not go into an ultrasonic cleaner. Materials to avoid cleaning in this way include, but not limited to, leather, silk cord, lockets with plastic parts or photos, ribbon, and the like.
Avoid inlay jewelry as the ultrasonic vibrations may shake the set stones loose.
Use a little detergent
Ultrasonics do a better job of cleaning with the help of a little surfactant. This means detergent. In fact, “any floor cleaner will do” was the expert advice from a reputable jeweler. Yes, floor cleaner, such as Lestoil, works really well in ultrasonic cleaners for your best, most precious jewelry! Actually any dishwashing liquid will do as well also. And don’t be afraid. It does no harm. Just put in a little. Half a capful works well.
Most ultrasonic cleaners come with an automatic water heater. A switch on the device allows optional heating. Opt for heated-water cleaning, as it does a better job. Also, the heating option usually self adjusts to a constant temperature (typically 60 degrees) to avoid overheating the water. Check for this on your machine.