Using an UltraSonic Cleaner on Coins and Metal Detecting Finds

Dirty Water 10 Minutes UltraSonic Cleaner

An ultrasonic cleaner is a really nifty little device that removes dirt and debris by agitating fluid using 20-40kHz sound waves.

It can be used on coins, jewelry, (some) glasses, and tools.

I do not advocate for cleaning valuable coins in an ultrasonic cleaner. Exposing the coin to water and even gentle vibrations can damage the surface of the coin. This machine works great for common coins, or coins that have excessive debris and damage.

I received the Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Machine for my birthday (thanks James!) And decided it would be great for cleaning my metal detecting finds.

Here is the UltraSonic Cleaner I will be using for this review:

So, I went into my backyard and metal detected for about half an hour. In that time, I dug up 2 nails and a penny. (I wish I had found more coins for this demonstration, but I was at the will of the metal detector gods.)

Before Cleaner
My Metal Detecting Finds. Two Nails and a Penny.

Here is a close up of the penny. It is a 1976D, legible in-person, but covered in a lot of dirt.

Penny Before UltraSonic Cleaning Coin
Penny Before Ultrasonic Cleaner

First, I microwaved 1.5 cups of water for 45 seconds in the microwave. The ultrasonic cleaner works better with warm/hot water.

UltraSonic Dish Soap MagnaSonic Dawn
Magnasonic Cleaner Machine, Water, and Dawn Dish Soap

Next I submerged the coins in the plastic netting and added a few drops of Dawn dish soap. The soap should help the debris unstick when the machine begins vibrating.

I have advocated before for using acetone to clean coins. DO NOT PUT ACETONE IN YOUR ULTRASONIC CLEANER. Acetone will eat through any plastic and ruin your machine.

You can buy liquid concentrate like this one, which is made to be used in an ultrasonic cleaner. They probably work better than dish soap, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Here is the water after 2.5 minutes:

Dirty Water 2.5 min ultrasonic cleaner
Bleh! So much dirt came off.

My machine automatically shuts off after 2.5 minutes so I let it run a few more times until the penny and nails had been in for a total of 10 minutes.

The machine is not loud when in use. It does make a small humming sound, but as long as the lid is on the sound is not very noticeable.

Here is everything after 10 minutes of ultrasonic vibrations:

Dirty Water 10 Minutes UltraSonic Cleaner
Even more dirt came off after 10 minutes.

Here is the before and after of the penny:

This made a big difference on the penny and the nails. I will definitely be using this device for future metal detecting finds. It is easier than cleaning the coins by hand before putting them back in circulation.

After using the Ultrasonic cleaner, I could even see some of the steel on the nails.

Before CleanerAfter UltraSonic
Slide the center to compare.

I would recommend this product for metal detectorists. It is a very easy way to clean and sanitize your finds. They won’t come out spotless, but it is easier than scrubbing every item.

Remember that this cannot remove tarnishing from silver. Check any jewelry before and after the ultrasonic cleaning for loose gemstones. The vibrations may shake them off.


I am an Amazon Affiliate, so I earn a commission on sales made through my links. This does not increase the price of any item linked through my site. My main goal is to inform.

2 thoughts on “Using an UltraSonic Cleaner on Coins and Metal Detecting Finds

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