In a previous article, we discussed the different types of contaminants that can be removed by various ultrasonic cleaning solutions.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the different types of materials that can be cleaned using these same solutions in our ultrasonic cleaners, and why choosing one over another may better suit our needs.

Just as with contaminants, there may be more than one type of ultrasonic cleaning solution that may work with a particular material; final selection then will be based on the type of contaminant to be removed, as well as the relative speed or aggression with which we’d like the article cleaned. Even the finish of the part may affect our decision.

Generalized list of Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions

Not all contaminants are removed by all detergents, even in an ultrasonic cleaner. The type of part also factors in to which solution can be used. Otherwise, we would just use the most powerful cleaner we can get our hands on. For example, 70% sulfuric acid removes scale easily, but can also eat into carbon steel. A compromise must be made between removing the contaminant and protecting the part. Having a general knowledge of available solutions can get you into the right ballpark.

Alkaline Solutions – Alkaline solutions have a pH of 10 or higher, with the higher pH solutions being more aggressive. They may or may not contain caustic soda, depending on the strength of the cleaner. Moderately alkaline solutions (pH 11.0 to 12.5) are great for almost all metals, including cast iron, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, zinc, copper, brass, and tin. They also work well when cleaning glass, ceramics, and most plastic materials.

High Caustic Solutions – High caustic solutions are a special case of alkaline solutions. They can be used if needed; however, we should always try more moderate alkaline ultrasonic cleaning solutions first. High caustic cleaners contain hydroxides and usually silicates as well, and are good for removing heavy grease, oils, and waxes from cast iron, steel, and stainless steel. When placing magnesium in our ultrasonic cleaners, a  low caustic solution must be used if we are to avoid damaging the part.

Acidic Solutions – Acid-based solutions have a pH of around 5.0 or lower, with lower pH cleaners being the more aggressive versions. The use of acid solutions is usually material-specific, since some acids will destroy the base material while others will not. They are great for removing oxides from most metals, as long as the solution has inhibitors to protect the base metal.

Enzymatic Solutions – Enzymatic ultrasonic cleaning solutions are designed to remove protein-based contaminants from parts typically found in the medical and food industries. As such, they are typically used on stainless steel, titanium, brass, and aluminum, but can also be used on glass and most plastics found in laboratories.

De-ionized Water – DI water is safe to use on any material that can safely be placed in water, which means it will work on nearly every material. Metals, fabrics, glass, plastics, epoxies, and hard rubber materials are all acceptable. The type of part should be considered when DI water is used as an ultrasonic cleaning solution, since many parts will oxide quickly when removed from the solution unless they are subsequently placed in a wetting solution and immediately dried. Frictionless bearings, small servo motors, switches, and printed circuit boards are some examples of the parts requiring special post-cleaning treatment.

Omegasonics’ Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions and Their Applications

Prior to ultrasonic cleaners, many of the parts we needed to clean required harsh solvents that had safety and health risks associated with them, were harmful to the environment, and had to be treated as hazardous wastes when it came time to dispose of them. The ultrasonic cleaning solutions list presented below contains no such solvent-based cleaners. The detergents and cleaning agents used in ultrasonic cleaners are safe for our employees and safe for the environment.

Complete List of Cleaning Detergents and Solutions

OmegaClean – Our most versatile ultrasonic cleaning soap. This cleaning agent removes light grease and contaminants from a variety of metals. Contains buffers to protect aluminum finishes and silicates to guard against flash rusting.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaMaxx – Our most powerful ultrasonic cleaner degreaser. It is excellent for cleaning and brightening ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Not recommended for copper, brass or aluminum.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaSoft – A superior and powerful multi-component organic water softener.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaWash – An extremely powerful powdered ultrasonic cleaner soap concentrate for ultrasonic cleaning non-oily residue dirt from metal, plastic and fabric surfaces including mini-blinds and all hard windows.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaResin – A solution designed to remove polyvinyl chloride, plastic, urethane, polyethylene and epoxy extrusion residue from molds, dies and other surfaces.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaFinish – A wax removal solution formulated with high pH to remove heavy wax residue from surfaces as well as heavy carbon from stainless steel. Not recommended for aluminum.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaSupreme – A detergent perfect for removing oils, light grease, dirt, grime, carbon and other contaminants from a wide variety of materials, including stainless steel, titanium, carbon steel, and plastics. This product has better cleaning solvency than OmegaClean.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaSmoke – A cleaner designed to remove smoke and soot from contents damaged in a fire. Safe to use on glass, rubber, plastic, materials and all surfaces that can be cleaned in water.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

CitriSurf® 2050 – An ultrasonic cleaner passivator, specifically formulated to passivate a limited variety (as compared to CitriSurf 2250) of stainless steel grade surfaces without the use of nitric acid.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

CitriSurf® 2210 – An environmentally-friendly citrus based gel designed to passivate large stainless steel surfaces that cannot be submerged into a heated bath. Product is applied with rollers, brushes or spray.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

CitriSurf® 2250 – An ultrasonic cleaning passivator specifically formulated to passivate (remove free iron molecules) all grades of stainless steel and titanium surfaces without the use of nitric acid. Also removes calcium carbonate from brass, steel and nickel.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Horn Clean 727 – A phosphoric-based cleaning solution ideal for cleaning a variety of brass musical instruments.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Copper Protectant – Designed to protect copper, brass and copper alloys from tarnishing aluminum finishes when used with high pH detergents.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Rust Protectant – A microfilm rust inhibitor formulated to protect aluminum, brass, copper and carbon steel from developing brown and surface rust.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaBlue – Ink remover product that has been specifically designed to removes ink and ink residue from metal and rubber components, including Anilox rollers. Also used in gun cleaning application – will not remove barrel bluing.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

CleanMor 706 – A revolutionary cleaning agent far superior to sodium-hydroxide based detergents typically used in the 3D and additive manufacturing industry. No airborne powder dust! Specifically designed to remove Stratasys 706 and 3ntr SSU01 soluble support structure.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Aqua Clean LPH – An ultrasonic cleaner solution for electronics is a reduced pH solution designed to clean electronic and electrical components in an ultrasonic tank. Also effective at removing solder flux residue.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Citrus Degreaser – A broad-use citrus-based ultrasonic degreaser used for commercial grade applications, including removal of oily residues and dirt from general content surfaces including mini-blinds and general household items.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Deodorizer – A highly dilutable odor counteractant that eliminates odors resulting from fire, smoke, and water damage.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega DeScaler – A descaler formulated to remove rust, corrosion, heat scale and mineral deposits from a variety of metals. Effectively used to remove mineral deposits from heat exchangers. 
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaZyme – An ultrasonic degreasing soap that effectively cleans light oils and cutting fluids. Best used on Aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, steel, and brass. Solvent free, non-bacterial, and 100% organic.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaChem – A paint remover to remove petroleum-based paint and paint residue from a variety of surfaces including spray gun nozzles.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

Omega Mold Release Agent – A high pH concentrated mold release agent that is successfully used to remove burnt-on crystalline rubber, plastic and food from molds, dies and other metal surfaces.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

OmegaRinse – An effective drying agent used after the ultrasonic cleaning process. It contains an ionic rinsing concentrate that promotes the sheeting of moisture from metal surfaces, specifically metal mini blinds.
Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

We need to remember that many also contain additives, such as sheeting agents, emulsifiers, and inhibitors, which perform special functions in the solution. The labels, product descriptions, and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) above are accurate on these products, but it’s always best to test a small part first, or to contact us to make sure you’re not making a decision that could adversely affect the part or the quality of the final cleaning.

It’s always best to err on the side of caution, particularly with delicate or one-of-a-kind parts that may be difficult or impossible to replace. Regardless of the part or material, there’s almost always an appropriate ultrasonic cleaning solution that will safely remove contaminants from it.

Examples of Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions in Action

Contact our Team of Ultrasonic Cleaning Experts

Trying to find the best ultrasonic cleaning solution for your application or have other questions regarding ultrasonic cleaning? Contact our experts at Omegasonics by calling 888-989-5560, emailing us at Omegasonics@Omegasonics.com, or by filling out our online contact form.