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I’ve used UCs professionally (lots of rules) and at home (no rules 😁) for many years. Always with water based (aqueous) detergents of commercial grade through whatever was handy. Some other units at work were very costly and built to be “explosion proof” and used acetone. These were production (vs maintenance) units and were in ultra clean requirements for aerospace manufacturing. Explosion proof meant the fumes of acetone and the electric sources were isolated from eachother, with separation and nitrogen isolation. Many beauty salons just use acetone in an ordinary UCs to remove nail polish (fingers still attached 😁). All that said, I’m curious if anybody is using non aqueous solvents (acetone, mineral spirits, kerosene/diesel) in their UCs, heated or not?
 

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I just use dish washing liquid for the most part but if an item is small and I want to use a strong solvent I put the part in a jar with the selected poison, fill the ultrasonic as normal {allowing for the jars displacement} and ultrasonic that way.

I don't think I've done acetone but I've tried a number of things.

I do keep the heat down with this approach due to the jar being a sealed vessel, though it could be suspended open in the bath with a little ingenuity. I normally work mine at 55C but 40 might be safer with a sealed jar.

Maybe ventilate well?
 

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1978 CX500 "The Grub", 1983 GL650I "Nimbus"
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I tried a citris-based degreaser in my recent cleaning. It discolors the aluminum just like Simple Green, maybe moreso. Next time, I'll try mild dish detergent.
 

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I have been using a Simple Green Pro HD. I think I got the idea from Larry’s carb book. According to the label, it’s for use in ultrasonic cleaners. It hasn’t changed the color of aluminum parts for me. I’m mixing 10 to 1.
 

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It might be the ph of concentrated detergents that discolors....u can always test with a ph strip...pool or aquarium...
**Youll want it as close to 7 neutral as possible as Al will react to both acids and bases...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the input all. I hadn’t thought of using a secondary smaller container to hold a different (more hazardous?) fluid. I wonder how much agitation “power” is lost at the parts in the jar? Better to have the jar in direct contact with the UC tank floor (where the transducers are) or in the basket or suspended? 🤷🏻‍♂️ While detergents certainly are proven effective, I’m still thinking stronger solvents or other chemicals might be more effective in certain circumstances, and their limited application might be more safety related than not. Then there is also the concern for part discoloration or even degradation. Calculated experimentation would be prudent, someone’s previous experience is even safer (after the fact😆). Like most things, there is more there than is apparent at first glance.
 

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Plastic jars can also be used and would likely impede the ultrasonic less. But that won't cut it with some solvents.
 

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Plastic jars can also be used and would likely impede the ultrasonic less. But that won't cut it with some solvents.
When I want to use another fluid, I use glass jars as they better transmit the ultrasound waves. Plastic dampens them. At least this what I’ve read on the web…

They sit on the bottom of the basket, you should never put anything in contact with the bottom of the pan.
 

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Then there is also the concern for part discoloration or even degradation.
I wouldn't expect a petroleum-based solvent to harm the metal, unless there's an added source of acidity.
 
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I've heard of IPA being used in small ultrasonics with no heating capability ......... a bit too dangerous for me. Maybe if it is all contained in a chamber full of nitrogen.
I tend to fill mine with hot water straight out of the kettle and some dishwashing liquid.

I've considered adding some Flow Improver for acrylic paint but it is simply detergent without colour or odour / perfume. Quite often the usual 20 to 30 minutes is no where near enough to get things clean so they come out , get scrubbed some more , go back in , come out and get scrubbed some more , etc etc etc
 

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@308GTSi I've heard of IPA being used in small ultrasonics with no heating capability. Indian Pale Ale? :p Not sure what you are referring to?
 
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A machinist friend suggested a 50/50 mix of acetone and automatic transmission fluid. I tried it many moons ago on some firearms that were badly stored by the previous owner, it worked really well. Very satisfying to see the clouds of dirt and rust emanating from the parts.
 

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Before I retired, we had an UC for cleaning our guns. The detergent came from Brownell's, and it really cleaned out any gunk in the crevasses. If anyone here ever had to clean an MP5, then you know it is impossible to get at all the crevasses in the receiver. The UC makes the cleaning so much faster, and cleaner. Of course we oiled the guns afterwards.
 
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