ultrasonic cleaner


November 30, 2008, 10:32 PM
I have a small jewelry ultrasonic cleaner that i would like to test out on a small batch of 100 .25auto cases. What would be a good solution to clean them in that can be found around the house?

I was thinking about using some vinegar and salt for an hour and then put them in the other side with water and dawn dish soap for half an hour.

If you enjoyed reading about "ultrasonic cleaner" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
November 30, 2008, 10:38 PM
Water and vinegar solution would work, but skip the salt. At least that's what I'd do, no idea what benefit salt might provide.

Vinegar may tinge some brass with a light pinkish hue, did when I tried it in the past. Nothing to worry about, I tumbled them to check and it disappeared in short order.

Of course, you're talking to a guy who uses a solution of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner and water to quickly, thoroughly wash big loads of dirty range brass. Shines them up in about 5 minutes flat with stirring. Important to rinse the brass thoroughly, flushing them completely, or no telling what bad things the HCL will do long term to weaken/harden the brass. Never had any problems though.

Bet your ultrasonic cleaner works fantastic. Heck, bet jewelry cleaner they sell for them would be as good as anything to mix in with your cases.

November 30, 2008, 10:41 PM
I think the salt makes the solution more acidic.

Should i mix the water and vinegar about 50/50?

November 30, 2008, 11:13 PM
half and half vinegar and water is the standard. i also add a couple of drops of dish soap for a bit better dirt and grease cutting.

Mark whiz
December 1, 2008, 12:50 AM
I've tried 100% apple cider vinegar in a little jewelry cleaner like that and it really didn't work any better than just soaking the brass in the vinegar in a metal bowl. Soak them about 30 mins completely emmersed and stir them up some about every 10 mins and they clean up pretty well. Make sure to rinse them well in cool clear water and let dry completely.

To enhance the cleaning on the inside of the cases, you can run a Q-Tip around the inside of each before you rinse them............really gets out all the residue from inside the cases.

December 1, 2008, 03:18 AM
Well the little thing burned out so its back the the drawing board. After 45min they look good enough though.

I found a page one time where a guy cleaned rifle cases in a real deal ultrasonic cleaner that uses the correct frequency and doesn't just vibrate the water and tested all kind of solutions and combination. Lots of pics too. He got them to come out very nice but then again some of his solutions were probably very caustic.

December 1, 2008, 03:27 AM
For a real, industrial or laboratory-grade ultrasonic cleaner.

You can find them on eBay or Lab-X, and they have durable transducers that really clean whatever's placed in the tank.

I have two of them, including a Cole-Parmer heated unit, and they're the bees knees for buzzing my .45-70 black powder brass clean (both inside and out!) before I dry them and tumble them.

I use just dish detergent in the water bath, but if the stuff's exceptionally dirty, you can also use a mix of water with Micro Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution, etc.

December 1, 2008, 07:44 PM
There is a big (5 gallon) ultrasonic up at work I have used to clean brass before. I used some vinegar, salt, and dish soap mixed with water. The salt really helps get the tarnish off. It doesn't get them shiney but it doese get all the carbon off of the cases.

December 1, 2008, 10:17 PM
How long?

December 1, 2008, 10:30 PM
I buzz my BPCR brass for 30 minutes, minimum. If they're really cruddy, I let them sit in there for an hour, but more than that doesn't really seem to do much.

I also set the water bath temp on my heated ultrasonerator to 130 degrees.

December 1, 2008, 10:51 PM
How do you rinse and dry them to be assured there is no salt left on them?

December 2, 2008, 03:10 AM
Any residual salts in my brass are seriously diluted in the 2.5 - 5.0 gallons of soapy water solution that they sat in while being buzzed clean.

I have a wooden .45-70 drying rack made by Montana Precision Swaging, it allows cases to hang upside down by their rims to air dry. They're dry and ready to either tumble for an extra polish, or to resize and prime in just a few hours.

Here's one made and sold by Sagebrush Outfitters, almost exactly the same as mine:


It wouldn't be difficult to fabricate one's own cartridge case drying rack out of thin strips of wood, plastic, or even cardboard, in the diameter of choice.

December 2, 2008, 04:26 AM
I think the salt makes the solution more acidic.

Salt (NaCl is common) has nothing to do with pH. Adding salt makes the solution more conductive which will increase the corrosion rate of the brass in the solution ... that's all.


December 2, 2008, 10:11 AM
Here's the link to the guy who did some testing using UltraSonic.


January 11, 2009, 08:39 PM
Use the chemical straight. Removes carbon and oxidation. The vinegar does not remove carbon deposites for sure.

Big Daddy Grim
January 11, 2009, 08:49 PM
Do they really work?

January 11, 2009, 09:02 PM
yep. big time

January 11, 2009, 10:30 PM

Use the chemical straight. Removes carbon and oxidation. The vinegar does not remove carbon deposites for sure.

I used a mixture of salt, vinegar and dish soap. Not a spec of carbon anywhere to be found after an hour or two. I am using a 5 gallon industrial ultrasonic with a heater.

January 13, 2009, 02:05 PM
How do you dispose of your waste chemicals? I have read that the media in the Tumbler is a major source of lead contaminants. Just wondering if the solution contains similar levels.

If you enjoyed reading about "ultrasonic cleaner" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!