Ultrasonic vs Steam Cleaning: Which Is Better for Jewelry?

Ultrasonic cleaning and steam cleaning are two widely used techniques for deep cleaning dirt, grime, and oils from your jewelry. In this post, we'll delve into the advantages of both ultrasonic and steam cleaning, providing you with the necessary insights to choose the best method to clean your jewelry.

The Science Behind Ultrasonic Cleaning

Ultrasonic cleaning is a widely used method for deep cleaning jewelry. It harnesses the power of high-frequency sound waves to create microscopic bubbles in a tank of water. These bubbles, known as cavitation, implode upon contact with the jewelry, generating tiny shockwaves that dislodge dirt and grime from even the tiniest crevices.

One of the key advantages of ultrasonic cleaning is its ability to reach areas that are difficult to clean with traditional methods. The microscopic bubbles can penetrate deep into the intricate details of your jewelry, ensuring a thorough cleaning. This makes it particularly effective for removing stubborn dirt and oils that may have accumulated over time.

The Benefits of Ultrasonic Cleaning

Deep and Gentle Cleaning

Ultrasonic cleaning provides a deep and gentle cleaning process for your jewelry. The microscopic bubbles created by the high-frequency sound waves can reach every nook and cranny of your jewelry, ensuring a thorough and even cleaning. The gentle nature of this process makes it suitable for a wide range of gemstones and metals, including delicate and fragile pieces.

Time and Cost Efficiency

Cleaning your jewelry with an ultrasonic cleaner is a time-efficient process. It eliminates the need for manual scrubbing and soaking, saving you valuable time and effort. Additionally, ultrasonic cleaners are cost-effective in the long run. They require minimal cleaning solutions and can be used repeatedly without the need for frequent replacements.

Easy To Use

The user-friendly operation of ultrasonic cleaners makes them an excellent choice for at-home use. The process is as simple as pressing a few buttons and waiting for the cycle to finish. You simply fill the ultrasonic cleaning tank with water and a drop of dish soap, place your jewelry inside, and start the cleaning cycle. Most ultrasonic jewelry cleaners have an automatic shut-off feature - so you can carry on with the rest of your day without any inconvenience.


Ultrasonic cleaners are versatile tools that can be used for more than just jewelry cleaning. They are also effective for cleaning other small items such as eyeglasses, watches, dentures, makeup brushes and even small parts of electronic devices. This versatility makes them a valuable addition to your cleaning routine.

The Science Behind Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is another popular method for cleaning jewelry. It utilizes high-pressure steam to blast away dirt, oils, and grime from your jewelry. The steam is produced by heating water in a reservoir, creating a powerful jet of steam that can effectively clean your jewelry.

Steam cleaning offers several advantages for jewelry cleaning. The high temperature and pressure of the steam can quickly and efficiently remove dirt and oils from your jewelry, leaving it sparkling clean. Additionally, steam cleaning does not require the use of any chemicals, making it a safe and eco-friendly option.

The Benefits of Steam Cleaning

Quick and Efficient Cleaning

Steam cleaning provides a quick and efficient method for cleaning your jewelry. The high-pressure steam can penetrate deep into the tiny crevices of your jewelry, loosening and removing dirt and grime in a matter of seconds. This saves you time and effort compared to traditional cleaning methods.

Chemical-Free Cleaning

One of the major advantages of steam cleaning is that it does not require the use of any harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions. The power of steam alone is sufficient to remove dirt and oils from your jewelry, making it a safe and environmentally friendly option. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitive skin or allergies to certain cleaning chemicals.

Versatility and Multi-Purpose Use

Steam cleaners are versatile tools that can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks. In addition to jewelry, they can be used to clean other household items such as countertops, tiles, grout, and even clothing. This makes them a versatile investment that can be used for multiple purposes.

Ultrasonic Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning: Which Method Is Best for Jewelry?

Both ultrasonic cleaning and steam cleaning offer effective ways to clean your jewelry. However, there are certain factors to consider when deciding which method is best for your specific needs.

Jewelry Type

Steam cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning are both effective methods for cleaning jewelry, but they not suitable for all types of gemstones and materials. Here's a list of jewelry materials that are generally safe for both steam cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning:

  • Diamonds: They're one of the hardest known materials and can withstand the heat and pressure from steam cleaning.
  • Gold: Whether it's yellow, white, or rose gold, it's safe to steam clean.
  • Platinum: This robust metal can handle the high temperatures of steam cleaning.
  • Sapphire: Both natural and lab-created sapphires can endure steam cleaning.
  • Ruby: Rubies, similar to sapphires, have a high hardness level and can be safely steam cleaned.
  • Metal-only Jewelry: Items made of gold, platinum, or silver with no gemstones can be steam cleaned without worries.

However, there are some materials you should not use in an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaner, such as:

  • Pearls: Pearls are delicate and can be damaged by the heat from steam cleaning.
  • Opals: These gemstones contain a significant amount of water and can crack under the intense heat.
  • Emeralds: Many emeralds have been filled with oils or resins to improve their appearance, and the heat from steam cleaning can damage this treatment.
  • Gemstones with Inclusions: Gemstones with inclusions, or internal flaws, can crack or shatter under the pressure and heat of steam cleaning.
  • Heat-treated Gemstones: Some gemstones have been heat-treated to improve their color, and steam cleaning can reverse this process.
  • Organic Materials: Materials like amber, coral, or ivory can be damaged by the heat.

It's always a good practice to consult with a professional jeweler if you're unsure whether a particular piece of jewelry is safe to use in an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaner.

Ease of Use

When it comes to home use, ease of operation becomes a decisive factor. Ultrasonic cleaners are generally easy to use with user-friendly interfaces. Fill the tank with water, add a suitable cleaning solution, place your jewelry in, and let the machine do its magic.

Steam cleaners, in contrast, require a bit more skill and caution due to the high heat and pressure involved. Mishandling can result in steam burns or damage to the jewelry.

Cost Considerations

Ultrasonic cleaners are generally more affordable compared to steam cleaners, offering a more cost-effective solution for regular jewelry cleaning. Steam cleaners, on the other hand, are often significantly more expensive, requiring a higher initial investment.

Conclusion: Why Ultrasonic Cleaning is the Best Way To Clean Jewelry At Home

While both ultrasonic and steam cleaning have their merits, ultrasonic cleaning emerges as the preferred choice for at-home jewelry cleaning. Its efficiency, versatility, and ease of use make it a highly attractive option for maintaining the shine and sparkle of your precious pieces at home. Ultrasonic cleaning provides a deep and gentle cleaning process, reaching even the tiniest crevices of your jewelry. It is versatile, cost-effective, and suitable for a wide range of jewelry types, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other non-porous gemstones.

When choosing between ultrasonic cleaning and steam cleaning for your jewelry, consider the specific characteristics of your jewelry, ease of use, and cost considerations. Ultimately, the best method for your jewelry cleaning needs will depend on your preferences and the type of jewelry you have.

Want to see the power of a high-quality ultrasonic jewelry cleaner in action? Check out some of the incredible before and after results from an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.

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