An ultrasonic cleaner, often colloquially referred to as a sonicator, is a cleaning device that uses ultrasound and an appropriate cleaning solution to clean delicate items. The ultrasound is not effective without the cleaning solution; it enhances the effect of a solution appropriate for the item to be cleaned and the soiling.
Ultrasonic cleaning uses high frequency sound waves to agitate in an aqueous or organic compound. Cavitation bubbles induced by the agitation act on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber, and ceramics. This action also penetrates blind holes, cracks, and recesses. The intention is to thoroughly remove tightly adhering or embedded particles from solid surfaces. Water or other solvents can be used, depending on the type of contamination and the workpiece. Contaminants can include dust, dirt, oil, pigments, grease, polishing compounds, flux agents, fingerprints, soot wax and mold release agents, biological soil like blood, and so on. Ultrasonic cleaning can be used for a wide range of workpiece shapes, sizes and materials, and may not require the part to be disassembled prior to cleaning.