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Ultrasonic cleaning polymer pistols

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by joatman66, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. joatman66

    joatman66 New Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    I have a small ultrasonic cleaner that would work to clean pistols. I've read up a little, and am seeing differing opinions on ultrasonic cleaning polymer frames.

    Anyone have practical experience and recommendation on cleaning solution to use?

  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Mentor

    Dec 26, 2002
    Virtually all polymer guns today use one or another formula of glass fiber reinforced nylon plastic.
    These plastics are extremely solvent proof, and most common solvents won't attack them.

    With that said, stay away from things like automotive cleaners like carb or brake cleaners.

    You can use most liquid soap type cleaners, but note that many of the stronger ones WILL attack aluminum.
    Painted on features like safety markings and dots or bars on sights are paint and ultrasonics will eventually remove the paint.
    Use a more aggressive solvent that attacks paints and ultrasonics will strip the paint almost instantly.

    For solvents, you can buy several that are made for use on guns. These are often sold by the companies that make the cleaners.
    As example, the cleaners that are being sold for reloaders usually have a gun cleaning solution listed.

    Another, albeit rather expensive cleaner solution is Cylinder & Slide Shop's "Dunk-Kit".
    This is a bucket of a cleaner/lubricant.
    It's made to simply drop the gun in the bucket and let it soak. After it's clean, you shake off the excess and it leaves a coat of a lubricant on all parts.
    I'd still recommend using a dedicated lubricant on key parts.
    This also works well in an ultrasonic cleaner, and eliminates having to rinse and dry the gun then apply a lube to prevent rust.
  3. GJSchulze

    GJSchulze Member

    May 3, 2013
    I've cleaned both my XD and XDm in my ultrasonic with no problems. Use a cleaner made for the purpose. Have compressed or canned air to blow out all the liquid. I also use a lubricant as a second step in my ultrasonic. You can clean the barrel, too, but half way through use a bore brush on it. However, from now on all I will do is soak my barrel in Hoppe's #9 over night - this works quite well.
  4. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Active Member

    Dec 30, 2011
    Generally all ultrasonic cleaner manufactures recommend a water based cleaner. Simple Green or Dawn detergent should work just fine.
  5. joatman66

    joatman66 New Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    Thanks for all of the insight.

    I'll pull my front sight before an occasional ultrasonic bath.
  6. beag_nut

    beag_nut Active Member

    Nov 21, 2011
    Seymour, CT
    Please be aware that IF your pistol is actually a nylon-based compound, that nylon absorbs up to 11% of its weight in water. Fifteen minutes in a heated ultrasonic cleaner won't allow that much absorption, but some DOES get into the plastic, and it takes a LONG time for it to disappear. Just reminding everyone, based on actual professional experience.

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