What detergents should I use in my ultrasonic cleaner?

This will vary depending on your application.

Medical devices should be cleaned using a pH neutral detergent. Industrial cleaning can incorporate more alkali or in some cases more acidic detergents. Special consideration should be made when cleaning aluminium or other soft metals which are more susceptible to pitting when subjected to ultrasonic cavitation.

For information on which detergent you require for your cleaning process please contact Ultrawave.

What accessories are supplied with my new Ultrawave ultrasonic cleaning equipment?

All our catalogue ultrasonic baths and cleaners are supplied complete with a lid and basket as standard.

Is it important for the liquid to have a low surface tension?

Yes it is. Low surface tension promotes the cavitational activity. Detergents act as surfactants and reduce the surface tension of the liquid in the bath. Surface tension will also reduce as the temperature of the cleaning fluid increases.

What temperature is best for ultrasonic cleaning?

This will vary depending on the application but in general higher temperatures lead to better cleaning results.

For industrial cleaning higher temperatures will aid the cleaning process up to around 70 degrees C.

Medical instrument decontamination should not be carried out above 40 degrees C as this can cause proteins to be baked onto the item.

When should a glass beaker be used to clean items?

A glass beaker should be used in place of basket when very small items are being cleaned. Ultrasonic activity will pass through the glass into the liquid within the beaker, meaning that small items placed therein can still be effectively cleaned.

Will small or delicate items become damaged in an ultrasonic cleaner?

In general ultrasonic cleaning is a very gentle process. If damage occurs, it is more likely to be caused by the detergent used rather than the action itself. Please contact us for information on detergent selection.

Should I put my hands in the fluid when the ultrasonic cleaner is activated?

It is advised that no part of the operator's body be submerged into the fluid during operation of the bath. Ultrasonic energy can cause damage to joint tissue, create discomfort and skin irritation and even lead to long-term arthritic conditions.

Can I use water alone in my ultrasonic bath?

Ultrasonic cleaning produces significantly better results when a detergent is used. We do not advise that water alone is used within the bath.

The correct detergent aids in the breakdown of decontamination while also reducing the surface tension of the bath and increasing ultrasonic activity.

What should I expect to see when I turn on my ultrasonic bath for the first time?

There will be a small amount of surface ripples across the liquid. No foaming will occur as ultrasonic detergents are formulated not to foam. The noise will be higher pitched than normal and will fluctuate until the liquid is de-gassed. Once this occurs, the noise will reduce and remain at a consistent pitch.

How should I clean large, dense metal objects in my ultrasonic bath?

When cleaning large, dense objects it is important that if at all possible they are submerged in the ultrasonic tank at an oblique angle. This allows the energy developed to rebound around the ultrasonic tank maximising the full potential of the cleaner. This is particularly important if the ultrasonic tank has only one radiating face, i.e. The base of the tank.

If the object cannot be orientated obliquely (possibly because of weight) then the distance between the radiating face of the ultrasonic and the object should be at least 100mm. This gap then allows a certain amount of energy to rebound off the inner walls of the tank thus enveloping the object more efficiently and causing less reflection, which can reduce the ultrasonic energy and cause premature erosion of the ultrasonic radiating face.

Large, dense objects can also absorb a large amount of ultrasonic energy to a degree that whilst the facing edge of the object is being cleaned the uppermost part is not seeing enough activity. In this case we would recommend two or more radiating faces, which would mean that we can hit the object from more than one direction.

What makes the Hygea 2 HTM2030 and HTM01-05 compliant?

Health Technical Memorandum 2030 and HTM01-05 set down the requirements for the supply and use of washer-disinfectors and ultrasonic baths for cleaning surgical and dental instruments.

The Hygea 2 is the first benchtop ultrasonic cleaner to incorporate an integral validation printer and an electromagnetic locking lid. The locking lid cannot be opened during a cycle and a cycle cannot be initiated when the lid is open. Should this occur, a cycle failure is recorded and a printout is created illustrating this.

How long do I need to clean my surgical instruments for?

Cleaning time varies depending on the performance of your ultrasonic bath and the level of contamination present.

The Hygea 2 has been shown to clean even the most stubborn contaminants from instruments in a 6 minute cycle.

How much can I load into my ultrasonic cleaner?

The more instruments placed into an ultrasonic bath, the less effective the cleaning cycle is going to be. It is not advisable to place instruments in the basket so that they overlap as a more effective clean will be generated if all surface areas are openly exposed to the cleaning solution. However, filling a basket so that there is clear space between instruments should lead to an effective cleaning cycle.

Why do I need to degas my ultrasonic cleaner before use?

Gases are present in tap water and to allow optimum ultrasonic activity to occur within the bath these gases need to be removed. Activating the ultrasonics, prior to initiating a cleaning cycle will remove these gases from the fluid.

The period taken to de-gas the fluid can vary depending on the size of the bath and the hardness of the water.

You can tell when the liquid is degased by the increased "cold-boiling" effect at the liquid surface.

How often do I need to change the cleaning solution?

This will vary depending on the cleaning application and the frequency with which the bath is used.

When cleaning medical instruments, it is recommended that new solution is added to the bath twice a day - based on an 8 hour day. ie. once every 4 hours.

Depending on the convenience and application, industrial ultrasonic tanks may require a fluid change more or less regularly. The cleaning results and fluid in the bath should be monitored for contamination after cleaning and judgement made by the operator on how often the fluid needs to be changed. Please contact Ultrawave for guidance on this.

Can I remove items from the ultrasonic tank while it is in operation?

Items should not be removed from the bath during a cycle. To ensure the cleaning process is complete, items should remain in the bath until the cycle has completed.

Placing hands in the ultrasonic bath while running a cycle should also be avoided.

Should the lid be on my ultrasonic cleaner when in operation?

The lid should be kept on the ultrasonic cleaner while in operation.

The lid is for the protection of the operator and in medical applications the patients also. It prevents aerosols generated during the cavitation process from dispersing and contaminating the reprocessing environment. In addition, the lid reduces the noise levels created during the ultrasonic cycle.

How can I test the level of ultrasonic activity within the bath?

There are a number of recommended tests for establishing levels of ultrasonic activity in the bath.

The foil test involves suspending a strip of foil into various locations around the tank. The foil should not touch the base of the tank and should be held in position for around 1 minute. It should then be removed and there should be an even distribution of perforations and small holes on the surface of the foil.

Another test requires the use of Brownes soil test strips. These are plastic strips which have been contaminated to simulate the contamination which might affect surgical instruments. After running an ultrasonic cycle the strips should be taken from the bath and all contamination should have been removed.

Ultrawave also produce an ultrasonic probe to test the level of ultrasonic activity within the tank. The probe is simple to operate and provides an instant reading of ultrasonic activity.

Please contact Ultrawave for more information on ultrasonic activity testing methods.

Why do I need to use a basket in my ultrasonic bath?

A basket should be used in order to protect the base of the ultrasonic tanks from damage.

Placing items directly into the tank so that they are in contact with the base can cause damage to the bath. When instruments are in direct contact with the bath, the action of generating ultrasonic activity can cause excessive wear to the base of the tank. Using an Ultrawave bath without a basket will invalidate your warranty.

Items should be placed in a stainless steel, mesh basket so that the ultrasonic activity is not significantly reduced.

Service and Support

What service options are available for my ultrasonic cleaner?

Ultrawave can provide tailored service contracts to suit your specific needs. To find out more information on the options available, contact the Ultrawave service department on +44 (0) 845 330 4238 or e-mail service@ultrawave.co.uk.

What is the warranty period of Ultrawave ultrasonic cleaning equipment

We offer a 3 year warranty on all our catalogue ultrasonic cleaning equipment.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Technology

What is a piezo ceramic transducer?

The transducer is used to generate the ultrasonic waves in the fluid. Electrical energy is passed through the transducer which is then converted into ultrasonic energy. When bonded to a tank full of liquid, this ultrasonic energy creates the cavitation process within the bath.

What is the resonant frequency of an ultrasonic transducer?

The resonant frequency is the frequency at which the transducer will operate most efficiently. This is typically between 30 to 45 kHz