Ultrasonic cleaning type?

Hello, letterpress buddies! I have acquired an ultrasonic cleaner for my grimy metal type. Just thought I’d double-check what liquid to put in it. Typewash is what I had presumed to use. After searching through archives, found mention of using Rapido-eze, pen cleaner, and TSP, fertilizer chemical. Should I use the typewash? Should it be diluted? Alternatives? Thank you very much for your thoughts!

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Hello Carrie. No need to use any harsh solvents. You can see my blog about this topic here…

Hope this helps.

Thanks, David :) That does help! I’ll give it a spin today. If anyone has other ingredients or recipes they use in their cleaners, I’d sure like to hear about those too. Happy weekend, everyone!

Please post pictures of the sonic cleaner or more description of the unit.


Here are some pix of how I used the cleaner. I am SO HAPPY with how clean the type came out!! If I would have had to scrub each character with a toothbrush…my eye twitches just thinking about it. I started by taking all the type out of tray (with gloves on), keeping compartments separated. Then I put on dust mask and vacuumed out tray with micro brush attachment. Next, as per Mr David’s advice, put water and orange degreaser in unit. I used mini plastic containers and bookbinding crash (starched cheesecloth) to keep compartments separated. Note: do not use starched cheesecloth, starch washes out in liquid -oops - didn’t seem to affect anything though. I set machine to 180 seconds, ran one cycle, stirred type around carefully and ran it again. Then swished each bunch of type in water then typewash to put on slight oily protective coating. Spread type out on chipboard without touching and used heat gun to dry, move around a bit and dry some more. It is a BEAUTIFUL thing to see such clean type!! So next time I do this, will NOT use starched fabric to move type in liquids, will try to find mini baskets to lift type in and out of the different baths - maybe can make a bunch out of stitched plastic canvas?? Yes to ultrasonic cleaning!

image: Type before.jpg

Type before.jpg

image: Vacuuming tray.jpg

Vacuuming tray.jpg

image: der machine.jpg

der machine.jpg

image: first batch.jpg

first batch.jpg

image: Type after.jpg

Type after.jpg

The close-up of cleaned type doesn’t do justice! Here’s a couple more.

image: More type after cleaning.jpg

More type after cleaning.jpg

image: Cleaned e or 3.jpg

Cleaned e or 3.jpg