Step 1: Overview of the Project
Any comments or questions would be appreciated at the end of this project page.
I recently decided to purchase a small ultrasonic cleaner.
Usually ultrasonic cleaners are used for cleaning jewelry and other small items that have dirt, grease, oils etc bound to or in them.
I decided to try fabric as well.
Ultrasonic sound waves are created by this machine in the presents of water. These waves cycle at about 42 khz or 42,000 times a second. Trust me you do no hear every cycle :). The official name for ultrasonic waves is known as "Cavitation".
Typically speaking it is a buzzing, sound that your ears pick up.
Warm to hot water with a mild soap is usually used to capture the dirt etc and keep it away from the item being cleaned.
after a period of a several minutes or so you can see a marked difference in the item and how clean it is getting. Ultrasonic waves penetrate into areas a brush can never reach.
WITH CLEAN WATER and no soap you can clean a tooth brush or dentures and have amazing results.
I decided to try removing stains from clothes, hand towels and ring around the collar on shirts in specific.
Step 2: How Its Done
Being unsure as to what a detergent stain removing stick would do to colored fabric in the presence of ultrasonic vibration, I decided to use a mild soap.
I gathered the neck of the shirt and used a rubber band to bind it up. This allows all of the collar to stay even as you try to submerse it in the cleaner. Also the rubber band helps to keep liquids from absorbing higher into the fabric and taking water out of the cleaner itself.
I did add more water about 1/2 way through the process and a bit more soap.
I managed to clean the collars and several stains on 14 shirts in less than one hour.
1-3 minutes per shirt in the machine seemed to do the trick.
****** NOTE Remember the machines transducer gets warm with use. It needs time to cool down a bit (especially since small ones are not commercial grade and thus not meant for long runs.) *****
Step 3: More Information
As you can see on the aqua blue shirt I had some chocolate stains. ( It seems every time I eat a meal I end up wearing some of it LOL).
I'm sure you are able to see the water is getting quite dirty. Bare in mind some of these shirts are 7 years old and have been washed and dried many many times. The dirt that is coming out didn't come out with on scrubbing of a brush and soapy water.
The dirt that is coming out was ground in dirt, skin oils, sweat etc that went through the dryer numerous times due to not being able to get it out of the fabric.
I did notice that the two most soiled shirts not all of the dirt came out the first time. I suppose I may do this again and either pre-treat the shirts or uses a stronger detergent in the ultrasonic from the get go.
NOTICE HOW DIRTY THE WATER BECAME WHILE THE CLEANING TOOK PLACE!
I attempted with the camera to give you some comparison of the water before and after.
Note that I have poured off the bulk of the dirty water to show there was some sediment that remained in the tank.
Mind you it was not a pound of dirt, but it did discolor the fabrics and possibly created a place for bacteria and bad smells to reside.
The last photo is of the clean dry tank, I hope it helps you see the amount of grime that was removed from 14 shirts.
When I was done with the ultrasonic cleaner I then laundered the shirt as normal.
I suppose at this point pre-soaking them in an enzyme based detergent (TIDE or others) and warm water, might be of assistance in getting the remaining residue out of the clothes before the full wash cycle.
Again thank you so much for reading and trying this stain removal method.
NOTE I purchased my ultrasonic on Ebay for approximately $30.00