Tips on Mixing an Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution

Dilute elma tec clean A4 to 2 to 5 percent with water in the ultrasonic bath.

Dilute elma tec clean A4 to 2 to 5 percent with water in the ultrasonic bath.

Mixing an ultrasonic cleaning solution is simply a matter of following instructions.  While it may be politically incorrect we refer to the common cliché “real men don’t read instructions” to introduce our point: There are many benefits to be gained by preparing an ultrasonic cleaning solution according to instructions.

Ultrasonic cleaning solution manufacturers such as Elma, represented by Tovatech, spend a significant amount of time developing instructions on preparing recommended dilutions and cleaning procedures for their line of liquid cleaning solution concentrates and powders.  As an example, elma tec clean A4, a widely used demulsifying formulation for labs and workshops, is to be diluted to 2 to 5 percent with water in the ultrasonic bath.  Whip out your calculator and figure out how many liters of cleaning solution can be prepared with a standard 2.5 liter container of biodegradable elma tec clean A4 concentrate.

Well golly, you might think (that is if you read the directions), “if 5 percent is good maybe 8 percent will deliver faster, more thorough cleaning.”

To cite the Gershwin brothers’ Porgy and Bess, we suggest “it ain’t necessarily so.”

Instead, we suggest starting with the recommended dilutions and run a few tests.  By varying the cleaning time and cleaning solution temperature you should be able to achieve optimum cleaning results for your jobs.  Then again, maybe you should check into other cleaning solution formulations – indeed there are many – to get one delivering the results you need.  The scientists at Tovatech are ready to share their knowledge on this topic.

2 Other Reasons to Follow Cleaning Solution Instructions

  1. Economics: Your objective is optimum cleaning results at the most favorable cost.  Simply stated, increasing the percentage of concentrate in the bath may or may not give better results but it will cost you more in terms of concentrate consumption.
  2. Post-cleaning rinsing:  In most cases the cleaning solution clinging to the part after it is removed from the bath should be rinsed away.  Rinsing is more difficult if chemical residues from the cleaning solution are excessive.

Even when the correct cleaning solution concentrate is employed according to directions ultrasonic cleaning baths have a limited life and must be replaced.  Indications are not necessarily solutions that appear “dirty,” but more likely extended cleaning cycles.  Don’t add more concentrate to the bath. Drain it and dispose of it according to local regulations.  Then wash the tank with clean water before preparing a new batch of cleaning solution.

See our post on skimmers and filters for more information on extending the life of your ultrasonic cleaning bath.  And as to bath preparation, our best advice is read the instructions.

About Rachel Kohn

So how did an MIT Ph.D. end up selling refrigerators? When I figured out that a lot more scientists buy lab refrigerators than innovative leading-edge instruments. I hope that my many years of lab experience will help you find the right equipment for your work. Before co-founding Tovatech I worked in business development and project management at Smiths Detection, Photon-X, Cardinal Health, and Hoechst Celanese. And before that I spent 12 years as an R&D chemist at Hoechst Celanese and Aventis working on advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Some day, eventually, I’ll make enough money to develop an innovative technology that will change the world. Read More