Components to avoid using on an ultrasonic cleaner

In case someone would wonder the same question. Here are some answers from the manufacturers:

Crystals (very clear and nicely explained):

XTALs are generally sensitive for ultrasonic cleaning, as their function principle is based on a electro-mechanical oscillation.

Ultrasonic cleaning on the other hand is vibrating the XTAL and thus might mechanically excite the XTAL in a resonance frequency and thus cause some mechanical damage.

This risk is esp. high on kHz XTALs as they are based on a tuning fork crystal chip with a main oscillation frequency of 32.768kHz. There are however as well other “side” resonance frequencies in the system which might cause some problems.

So there is the general recommendation to avoid esp. kHz XTAL to be exposed to Ultrasonic cleaning. MHz XTALs like the TSX-3225 are far less sensitive (as well because their nominal resonance frequency is far higher than the Ultrasonic cleaning frequency).


the transformer is a little sensitive to the ultrasonic cleaning process since the transformer is not hermetically sealed.

Questions arise when it comes to coils that are not hermetically sealed and run through a wash process. Approximately half of all non-hermetically sealed coils in the industry are water-washed during the PCB cleaning process and the other half are washed with an alcohol based cleaner. Of the ones washed in water it is quite rare for any of them to exhibit problems during their life cycle. However in some case transformers in the industry have exhibited shorted turns and opens later in the life cycle which can be attributed to the water wash process.

MLCC: (Yageo)

To prevent the adhesion of the terminal electrodes being degraded, ensure that the ultrasonic energy is not too high and follow the recommendations below: - cleaning time should not be greater than 3 minutes - frequency: 40 kHz

Film resistor: (vishay)

Ultrasonic cleaning should be done with power regulated equipment. Older 25 kHz, unregulated equipment can damage joints and components

One IC manufacturer refers IEC 61760-1:2003-12 (surface mounting technology - Part 1: Standardized method for the Specification of surface -mounted devices (SMD).

Washing Process with Ultrasound <= 80ºC / <=6 min, Medium (Water, Ethanol, Isopropanol, Alkoxyde, Propanole, Aminoalcohol as well mixtures of the former).

For the rest, I didn't get any clear answers. I guess nobody wants to take any responsibility in case anything goes wrong with their products. They all recommend to test it by myself and take the responsibility.

I can do tests on some samples. However, even if no components are damaged after the test, it will be a question if the process effected the component's long term stability/life time, etc.

It is my impression that I shouldn't use ultrasonic cleaner at all unless it is a hobby circuit,

MEMS ICs, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and some small microphones, must never be placed in ultrasonic cleaners. These ICs contain mechanical silicon structures, and placing them in an ultrasonic cleaner will often destroy these structures. (Some of these parts may even be damaged when a tape of ICs is dropped, or if the board is snapped apart.)