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The Ultimate Guide to Ultrasonic Cleaning Frequencies for Different Materials

July 9, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Ultrasonic Cleaning Frequencies for Different MaterialsIn today’s fast-paced manufacturing environment, efficiency and precision are paramount. Ultrasonic cleaners have become an essential tool for maintaining high standards of cleanliness while optimizing production processes. Understanding the intricacies of ultrasonic cleaning frequencies is crucial for selecting the right equipment for different materials and contaminants. This guide provides valuable insights to enhance operational efficiency and ensure consistent product quality.

Selecting the correct ultrasonic cleaning frequency can significantly impact the effectiveness of the cleaning process. Different materials and contaminants require specific frequencies to achieve optimal results. This guide aims to help make informed decisions about ultrasonic cleaning frequencies, ensuring that the cleaning process is efficient and gentle on the material of the part or component being cleaned.

Understanding Ultrasonic Cleaning Frequencies

Ultrasonic cleaning is a powerful and efficient method used to remove contaminants from various materials. Ultrasonic cleaning technology uses high-frequency sound waves to create cavitation bubbles in a cleaning solution. These bubbles implode, producing intense scrubbing actions that clean surfaces effectively without causing damage. The frequency of these sound waves is crucial in determining the cleaning efficiency and suitability for different materials and contaminants.

Frequency Ranges in Ultrasonic Cleaning

Ultrasonic cleaning systems operate at different frequency ranges, each suited for specific cleaning applications. The main frequency ranges used include:

  1. 26 kHz
    • Characteristics: Produces larger cavitation bubbles and stronger jets for a powerful cleaning action.
    • Ideal Applications: Suitable for removing heavy contamination from hard surfaces, such as engine parts and steel components with heavy deposits of grease or carbon.
  2. 38 kHz
    • Characteristics: Generates smaller bubbles for a gentler, effective cleaning action compared to 26 kHz.
    • Ideal Applications: Ideal for common cleaning tasks, including cleaning glass, jewelry, and machined parts, where moderate contaminants need to be removed without damaging the surfaces.
  3. 78 kHz
    • Characteristics: Produces even smaller bubbles for a gentle cleaning action that avoids pitting or roughening delicate surfaces.
    • Ideal Applications: Best for more delicate parts such as hard disc drives, LCDs, and aluminum parts, where moderate dirt needs to be cleaned gently.
  4. 100-160 kHz
    • Characteristics: Generates the smallest bubbles for the gentlest cleaning action.
    • Ideal Applications: Used for very fragile parts or parts with soft surfaces, such as electronic components, semiconductors, and delicate medical instruments, where even the slightest damage must be avoided.

Selecting the Appropriate Frequency

Choosing the right ultrasonic cleaning frequency depends on several factors:

  • Material Type: The robustness or delicacy of the material being cleaned.
  • Nature of Contaminants: The type and size of the contaminants that need to be removed.
  • Desired Level of Cleanliness: The cleanliness standards required for the specific application.
  • Sensitivity of the Material to Damage: The material’s susceptibility to potential damage from aggressive cleaning actions.

Understanding these frequency ranges and their applications helps in selecting the most suitable ultrasonic cleaning solution for specific needs. Kaijo provides expert guidance in using ultrasonic cleaning technology to ensure customers use the right frequency based on their application and requirements to achieve efficient and effective cleaning results.

Low-Frequency Ultrasonic Cleaning (26 kHz)

Low-frequency ultrasonic cleaners, typically operating at 26 kHz, produce larger cavitation bubbles and stronger jets, resulting in a powerful cleaning action. This makes them particularly effective for removing tough contaminants from robust materials.

Characteristics of Low-Frequency Cleaning:

  • Produces intense cavitation and mechanical scrubbing.
  • Effective in breaking down heavy and stubborn contaminants.

Ideal Materials and Contaminants:

  • Metals: Steel, brass, and other hard metals.
  • Contaminants: Heavy grease, oils, large particles, and other tough contaminants.


  • Highly effective at removing heavy contamination.
  • Suitable for cleaning hard, durable materials that can withstand aggressive cleaning action.


  • May be too harsh for delicate or sensitive materials.
  • Risk of causing damage to fragile surfaces due to intense cleaning action.

Utilizing low-frequency ultrasonic cleaners can significantly enhance the efficiency of cleaning heavy and robust materials in industrial settings.

Medium-Frequency Ultrasonic Cleaning (38 kHz)

Medium-frequency ultrasonic cleaners, operating at around 38 kHz, strike a balance between cleaning power and gentleness, making them versatile for a wide range of applications.

Characteristics of Medium-Frequency Cleaning:

  • Produces smaller cavitation bubbles than low-frequency cleaning, resulting in a gentler cleaning action.
  • Effective for cleaning moderately soiled items without causing damage.

Ideal Materials and Contaminants:

  • Materials: Plastics, polymers, ceramics.
  • Contaminants: Light oils, residues, fine particles.


  • Provides thorough cleaning for a variety of materials without damaging their surfaces.
  • Suitable for items that require moderate cleaning power.


  • May not be as effective for extremely tough contaminants or very delicate items.

Medium-frequency ultrasonic cleaners are ideal for maintaining cleanliness in various manufacturing processes, ensuring that both efficiency and material integrity are preserved.

High-Frequency Ultrasonic Cleaning (78 kHz)

High-frequency ultrasonic cleaners, typically operating at 78 kHz, are designed to provide a gentle yet effective cleaning action, making them ideal for delicate items and precision components.

Characteristics of High-Frequency Cleaning:

  • Produces very small cavitation bubbles, resulting in a gentle cleaning action.
  • Effective for removing microscopic particles and fine contaminants without damaging delicate surfaces.

Ideal Materials and Contaminants:

  • Materials: Precision components such as LCDs, disk drives, soft metals, and aluminum.
  • Contaminants: Microscopic particles and fine contaminants.


  • Prevents pitting or roughening of delicate surfaces.
  • Ideal for cleaning items that require a high degree of cleanliness without surface damage.


  • Less effective on heavy or stubborn contaminants compared to lower frequencies.
  • Requires careful monitoring to ensure optimal cleaning efficiency.

High-frequency ultrasonic cleaners are essential for industries that demand precision and care in their cleaning processes, ensuring that even the most delicate items are thoroughly cleaned without damage.

Very High-Frequency Ultrasonic Cleaning (100-160 kHz)

Very high-frequency ultrasonic cleaners, operating between 100 and 160 kHz, provide an exceptionally gentle cleaning action, making them perfect for the most delicate and sensitive materials.

Characteristics of Very High-Frequency Cleaning:

  • Generates the smallest cavitation bubbles, resulting in a very gentle cleaning action.
  • Ideal for precision cleaning where even minimal damage cannot be tolerated.

Ideal Materials and Contaminants:

  • Materials: Electronic components, semiconductors, delicate medical instruments.
  • Contaminants: Microscopic particles and very fine contaminants.


  • Ensures thorough cleaning without damaging fragile surfaces.
  • Perfect for high-precision cleaning applications requiring immaculate cleanliness.


  • Less effective on heavier contaminants compared to lower frequencies.
  • Requires precise control and monitoring to maintain cleaning efficiency.

Very high-frequency ultrasonic cleaners are indispensable for applications demanding the highest levels of precision and care, ensuring that even the most delicate items are impeccably cleaned.

Selecting the Right Frequency for Specific Applications

Choosing the appropriate ultrasonic cleaning frequency involves several critical factors to ensure optimal cleaning performance and material safety. Here are critical criteria to consider:

Criteria for Selecting the Appropriate Frequency:

  1. Material Type:
    • Robust materials like steel and brass can withstand low-frequency cleaning (26 kHz).
    • Delicate materials like microelectronics and medical instruments require high to very high frequencies (78 kHz and 100-160 kHz) to avoid damage.
  2. Nature of Contaminants:
    • Heavy grease and large particles are best removed with low-frequency cleaners (26 kHz).
    • Fine particles and light residues need medium to high frequencies (38 to 78 kHz).
  3. Desired Level of Cleanliness:
    • High precision and cleanliness standards demand higher frequencies (78 kHz and above).
  4. Sensitivity of the Material to Damage:
    • Fragile surfaces require the gentlest cleaning action provided by high frequencies (100-160 kHz).

Case Studies and Examples:

  • Example 1: Cleaning Precision Medical Instruments: Very high-frequency cleaning (100-160 kHz) effectively removes microscopic contaminants from delicate medical devices without causing damage.
  • Example 2: Removing Heavy Grease from Automotive Parts: Low-frequency cleaning (26 kHz) efficiently eliminates heavy grease and grime from robust automotive components made of steel.
  • Example 3: Cleaning Soft Metal Parts: High-frequency cleaning (78 kHz) ensures thorough cleaning of aluminum parts while preserving their integrity.

Selecting the right frequency tailored to the specific application enhances cleaning efficiency and ensures the safe cleaning of the materials involved.

Best Practices for Ultrasonic Cleaning

Optimizing your ultrasonic cleaning processes involves more than just selecting the right frequency. Implementing best practices can ensure efficient, effective, and safe cleaning operations. Here are essential tips to maximize your results with ultrasonic cleaners:

Proper Tank Loading and Arrangement:

  • Ensure even distribution of parts in the ultrasonic cleaning tank to allow for uniform cleaning.
  • Avoid overloading the tank, which can hinder the cleaning action and reduce efficiency.

Selecting the Right Cleaning Solution:

  • Choose a cleaning solution compatible with the materials being cleaned and the type of contaminants.
  • Follow manufacturer recommendations for solution concentration and temperature.

Selecting the Right Power Level:

  • Adjust the power level according to the material and contamination level.
  • High power may be necessary for tough contaminants, while lower power is suitable for delicate items.

Maintaining and Monitoring Equipment:

  • Regularly inspect and maintain ultrasonic cleaning equipment to ensure optimal performance.
  • Monitor the cleaning process and adjust as needed to achieve the desired results.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid:

  • Avoid using the wrong cleaning frequency for the material and contaminant type.
  • Do not neglect regular maintenance, as equipment performance can degrade over time.
  • Ensure the cleaning solution is fresh and regularly replaced to maintain effectiveness.

By following these best practices, you can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your ultrasonic cleaning processes, ensuring thorough and consistent cleaning results.


Choosing the right ultrasonic cleaning frequency for different materials is crucial for achieving optimal cleaning results. By understanding and applying the appropriate frequencies—low, medium, high, or very high—process engineers can enhance cleaning efficiency, protect material integrity, and ensure consistent product quality.

As an industry-leading ultrasonic cleaner manufacturer, Kaijo offers extensive experience and expertise in providing high-quality ultrasonic cleaners tailored to diverse industry needs. Our tailored solutions address specific cleaning challenges and optimize processes for better results.

For more detailed guidance and to discuss customized ultrasonic cleaning solutions, contact Kaijo’s experts for a free consultation.