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Ultrasonic cleaner question

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  • Member since
    June 2010
Ultrasonic cleaner question
Posted by montague on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:18 PM

Can I use MEK, Acetone, or Lacquer thinner in an ultrasonic cleaner to clean airbrush parts?

  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:50 PM

I use MEK to clean airbrush parts in my ultrasonic cleaner and it works great.  Don't put the MEK directly in the cleaner tub though.  What I do is to put the MEK in a relish jar, put the jar in the cleaner tub, and fill the rest of the tub with water to help the soundwaves get to the jar a little better.  This way, you will have a sealed jar and won't have to deal with solvent fumes.  Just make sure not to forget that your cleaner is running so you don't overheat the MEK and cause the jar to explode.  I just use the old mechanical timer on my 36 year old oven in the kitchen to remind me when its been 30 minutes.  30 minutes is a good amount of time to get things nice and clean.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    May 2020
  • From: North East of England
Posted by Hutch6390 on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:58 PM

My instinctive answer would be "no" - I have one of these, and use a heavily diluted i.e. 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol & water to clean airbrush parts (once in a blue moon!).  It doesn't run for long (3 mins at a time, I run it  4 or 5 times while I'm working) & I don't leave it unattended.  I then follow up with another session using ordinary washing-up liquid in water.   While it does not generate a lot of heat, there is some, and I wouldn't put anything highly flammable in it at all.  You could maybe use stuff like that to give the parts an initial clean (not using the ultrasonic device) then use the gadget afterwards with something safer in it, to finish off.  That's what I do, anyway.

Vell, Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?




  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, April 12, 2021 1:46 PM

If your cleaner has a plastic basket,you do not want to immerse that in Lacquer thinner,I know Bang Head

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Monday, April 12, 2021 2:27 PM


If your cleaner has a plastic basket,you do not want to immerse that in Lacquer thinner,I know Bang Head


Wow, I never thought about that. Something I could easily do as well.

Back to the O.P., my comment would be I'm not sure you would have to. I just add a bit of dental powder for ultrasonic cleaners to the water and have yet to have mess on an airbrush it didn't take care of.

Good question, good thread. what you asked has crossed my mind more than once, and all the input above is appreciated.


  • Member since
    September 2020
Posted by VintageRPM on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 8:30 AM
First, I manually clean my airbrush with either lacquer thinner (for lacquer paints) or alcohol (for aqueous paints). Afterwards I put the parts in an ultrasonic cleaner filled with distilled water. This is to knock out any dried pits. I've had no real need to ultrasonically clean in anything else.

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