Cleaning your firearm collection is likely the least enjoyable part of owning guns for most people. It’s often tedious and involves both time and effort, not to mention lots of “elbow grease” and the use of smelly solvents. Fortunately, with the advent of tabletop-sized ultrasonic cleaners, gun owners are free to enjoy their hobby without all the hassle of hand-cleaning their firearms.

Why Ultrasonic Firearm Cleaners are so Effective

It’s the underlying physical effects which make ultrasonic firearm cleaners so effective. That physical effect is called cavitation. Cavitation occurs when transducers vibrate a diaphragm connected to a cleaning tank. This causes ultrasonic sound waves to pass through the liquid in the cleaning tank. When those sound waves moving through liquid strike against a solid object immersed in the bath, they create millions of microscopic bubbles.

These bubbles form and collapse almost instantly, releasing intense energy that strikes against the object to be cleaned. This effect is known as cavitation, and it thoroughly but gently cleans every surface of an object exposed to the liquid. This means that guns cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaning device are cleaned far more thoroughly and with less potential damage than with traditional cleaning methods.

Choosing Ultrasonic Gun Cleaning Equipment

First, you need to think about the device itself. When you choose an ultrasonic cleaner for gun cleaning, make sure you select one that can accommodate the largest component to be cleaned. Major disassembly is not required – usually only wood handles should not be placed in the bath. Ultrasonic units equipped with a thermostatically-controlled heater are recommended as are ones with a timer.  Your ultrasonic cleaner will have a mesh basket in which to place the components for the cleaning process. When choosing the size of the ultrasonic cleaner, note that basket dimensions are slightly smaller than the tank interior dimensions when measuring it against the size of your guns.

The thermostatically-controlled heater in your ultrasonic cleaner allows you to set and maintain the cleaning solution temperature as recommended by the manufacturer, while the timer allows you to set the cleaning cycle and do something else until it is completed and the unit turns off.

Ultrasonic Firearm Cleaning Procedure

  • Based on the capacity of the ultrasonic cleaner tank, prepare the cleaning solution according to the manufacturer’s dilution recommendations. Most cleaners have a “fill line” — remember to allow for solution displacement when parts are immersed in it.
  • Disassemble the firearm according to manufacturer’s’ instructions. Remove loose contaminants (rust flakes, large particles) with a brush to help preserve the effectiveness of the cleaning solution.  Set the disassembled gun parts into the wire basket. Avoid allowing the parts to touch one another, as this will decrease cleaning effectiveness.
  • When the ultrasound starts, lower the basket into the liquid bath and set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • At the end of the cycle, remove the basket and examine the parts for cleanliness. If you’re not satisfied, run them through another, shorter, cycle or spot clean them with a brush. If you’re satisfied, shake off excess liquid, then wipe the parts and allow them to air dry. Once they’re dry, you can then lubricate them by hand, or, if you have lubricating solution, you can run them through a lubricating cycle in the ultrasonic cleaner. This is the better option, as the cavitating action will ensure that lubricating gun oil reaches every crevice of the gun parts.

Maintaining the cleaning solution

When you’re done with the cleaning solution, don’t throw it away as it will probably retain its cleaning power for more than one job. Any contaminants that have risen to the surface of the cleaning bath should be skimmed away. The solution itself can be drained and stored until it’s needed again.  Once cleaning times start taking noticeably longer, it’s time to replace the solution. You should follow local regulations when disposing of the solution along with skimmed residues. Take the time to remove sludge that settled to the bottom of the tank, and then clean the tank. This should be done using whatever cleaning process is recommended by the manufacturer of the ultrasonic device.

When you need to clean your firearm collection, you’ll find that ultrasonic cleaning makes the job easier and more thorough than traditional methods.  Interested in finding out more about how ultrasonic cleaning works to provide superior cleaning for your firearm collection? Contact our experts at Omegasonics at 888-989-5560 or email us at