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Ultrasonic Cleaners - Yay or Nay?

  • 15-07-2021 4:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 333 ✭✭

    I've been thinking about getting my hands on an ultrasonic cleaner for a while now, primarily for cleaning the drivetrain of my bike (chain, cassette etc) although I'm sure I could probably find other uses for it too. The reviews I've been looking at online seem to me mostly positive - although I do see occasional mentions of durability/reliability of some of these units. Was wondering what peoples opinions of them are? Are there any recommended brands or brands to avoid? Are there any 'must-have' features like in-built heating? What about the cleaning solutions (if any) that you use to aid in dirt removal or degreasing? Are there any potential pitfalls to be aware of?

    I can normally do a pretty decent job (to my eyes at least) of cleaning my drivetrain whilst it's still on the bike, but obviously the ultrasonic cleaner could (potentially) provide a much deeper clean as well as reaching those parts which you just can't get to with a brush or chain cleaner. I'm guessing that even with an ultrasonic cleaner it will still be necessary to perform some manual cleaning of the components either before and/or after using the ultrasonic bath, just to remove any particularly stubborn dirt or to remove any remaining cleaning/degreasing solution?


  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    I bought a 6 litre unit about a year ago and find it great.

    It fits a full groupset in it at one time and has the heating as well as timing functions.

    Mine is run of the mill and set me back around €100 at the time. It’s worked flawlessly for me so far.

    I tend to do a lot of work on bikes and cleaning parts by hand was taking a lot of my time. The cleaner saves a lot of time and provides a deep clean.

    With regards to solution - that depends on what parts you’re cleaning and how dirty they are. You need to take care not to use a solution that’s too aggressive or too high temperature or leave the parts in the bath too long. It’s something to figure out as you go along.

    When you achieve the correct solution, temperature and cleaning time, the parts will come out of the bath spotless and only require a rinse under the tap to finish.

    in summary, it’s a useful machine but I wouldn’t have bought it just to clean the drivetrain on my own bikes...

  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭steinbock123

    Nicknikita, what make/model did you buy , and where ?

    I bought a small one in Aldilidlly a few years ago ( to clean jewellery) and I found it next to useless.

    There are several home made “do it yourself “ versions on YouTube now that seem to work grand.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,116 ✭✭✭bazermc


  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    Here's a link to the one I procured:

    Shipped from Czech Republic. Bare in mind you'll need a compatible plug lead or adapter to use it in an Irish plug socket.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,399 ✭✭✭jamesd

    What liquid do you put into it, is it just normal degreaser?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,399 ✭✭✭jamesd

    To clean a cassette and a chain, would you just drop the 2 of them into it together and leave them for a while to stew up?

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 47,834 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    i got elbow grease in aldi but i haven't seen it there in at least six months. neat, it's very strong stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    I get it Mr. Price normally. It’s aggressive surely. I’d use maybe 250ml of degreaser to 5l of water. But as I said earlier, it does depend on the state of the parts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    It takes a few goes to get the solution/temperature/timing right for the application.

    I honestly wouldn’t bother getting one if it were only for doing the cassette and chain a couple of times a year. But each to their own I guess.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,399 ✭✭✭jamesd

    Thank you -would be only for chains and cassettes is all I would want it for.

  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    A smaller bath might be ideal in that case. (A 3 or 4 litre one maybe)

    Check the dimensions of the bath against the dimensions of the cassette.

    You’d save money on the price of the unit and also use less solution with each wash.

  • Registered Users Posts: 333 ✭✭AxleAddict

    I seem to recall seeing a video on Youtube where this guy explained that if you wanted to clean something small in a large capacity ultrasonic bath, then what you could do is fill the bath with water and then place the small item you actually want to clean inside another sealable container (maybe a jam jar or plastic container or something similar) with the cleaning solution, and then submerge that in the bath of water. I'm not sure how much this impacts the effectiveness of the cleaning and whether you need to clean for longer, but it significantly reduced the volume of cleaning solution required (and also meant less post-cleaning of the ultrasonic bath itself)

  • Registered Users Posts: 333 ✭✭AxleAddict

    Thanks for this. Yeah, I was also looking at units in and around €100-150. I would probably only need to use it a couple of times a year I reckon, so I might just stick to my manual cleaning routine for now since it seems to be 'good enough' for now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 879 ✭✭✭nicksnikita

    I recall seeing that also although I haven’t attempted it yet