What is Ultrasonic Cleaning and How Does it Work?

If you’ve heard the term ultrasonic cleaning and have no concept of what it means, you’re not alone. Most people don’t understand this vital process or how it keeps the medical industry functioning. While the term ultrasonic makes this cleaning process seem like something out of a superhero comic, it’s a very regular part of life for many people.

The following will explore the concept of ultrasonic cleaning as well as describe how the process works and some of the more common uses for it.

What Is Ultrasonic Cleaning?

Ultrasonic cleaning involves the use of high-frequency, high-intensity sound waves within a liquid to help remove contaminants from objects submerged in that liquid. The ultrasound agitates the fluid, and this produces the cleaning effect. Ultrasonic cleaning is able to remove contaminants that other technologies like spray washing, agitation, brushing, and turbulation aren’t able to remove, resulting in an efficient clean. Cleaning solutions included the tank’s temperature and the time that an item is immersed with all impact the cleaning outcome.

Why Does This Work?

Ultrasonic cleaning produces teeny but powerful agitations between the contaminants or debris and the surface of an object. Tiny bubbles or voids are formed in the liquid when pressure is rapidly decreased. When pressure is rapidly increased, the voids implode, which creates a shockwave.

What Is This Process For?

In particular, ultrasonic cleaning is used to clean medical devices. Because the standard for cleanliness, sterilisation, and disinfection are so vital when it comes to medical devices, extreme cleaning measures often need to be taken. Despite the need for extreme cleaning, many medical devices, and surgical tools are delicate. Ultrasonic cleaning does an excellent job of removing debris and sterilising without risking harm to the objects themselves. Ultrasonic cleaning professionals at Leadsonics point out that ultrasonic cleaning systems can also be used to clean items that are delicate like teeth, tools, coins, scientific samples, fishing reels, industrial machine parts, and jewellery. If there’s something in particular you want to be cleaned and are unsure whether ultrasonic cleaning is the right option for you, speak to an ultrasonic cleaning machine manufacturer. They should be able to help you find the right model for your cleaning needs.

What Are Ultrasonic Frequencies?

Ultrasonic frequencies are sound waves that vibrate at 20 kHz or higher. Different frequencies will be used depending on the items a person or company needs cleaning.

Flow Or Sonic Irrigation

Some ultrasonic cleaning devices contain additional elements that offer flow or sonic irrigation. The flow of cleaning solution through a device can be used to clean internal channels of devices that are otherwise difficult to get at and clean. This is particularly important for lumened or cannulated devices which cannot be cleaned by standard ultrasonic systems.

Cleaning Solution

A big part of the ultrasonic cleaning process is selecting the right cleaning solution for what is being cleaned. Detergent-based products have been designed specifically to provide cleaning within a range of different water qualities and simultaneously be gentle enough not to harm devices and objects being washed over time. Again, if you’re unsure what cleaning solution is right for your ultrasonic cleaning system or the item you’re looking to wash, reach out to your manufacturer for guidelines.

Cleaning Efficiency

If you work in a medical field where you need to sterilise objects on the regular, you know how time-consuming it can be to completely clean and sterilise medical tools. Most medical professionals are under an incredible amount of stress and don’t have a ton of spare time in the day as it is. Ultrasonic cleaning systems can save a huge amount of time and energy and reduce the risk of human error when it comes to sterilisation. This can help a medical establishment run more smoothly and give medical professionals one less thing to worry about as they go about their day.


Occasionally, a device will be exceptionally soiled, and in this case, a pre-cleaning stage is usually recommended. This could involve brushing or flushing to remove any gross soiling before the object is placed within an ultrasonic cleaning device. Depending on the model you choose, there might be specific instructions regarding this step.

Other Uses Of The Technology

Ultrasonic cavitation has other uses besides cleaning. It can be used as a cosmetic procedure that is used to break up deposits of fat within the body. Slowly this process is gaining popularity as a less invasive alternative to liposuction.

The above information should have explained the process of ultrasonic cleaning and the various uses of this technology. Of course, as with any technological advancement, there are likely many more uses we’ve yet to discover.