Sonic cleaning

I’ve seen various “Gauntlet” videos where Guns are slathered in mud and dunked in water. This would then require some serious cleaning afterwards. I’m assuming it a water rinse, or sonic cleaning. I have some very dirty guns, I’m not a giant fan of cleaning them but it has its rewards.

I have a sonic cleaner and I’ve mainly only used that for parts, barrels, but never a slide or a frame. I’m curious if i can clean an entire frame and slide without doing major disassembly, just shelf strip. Can this be done safely, and after what is the best way to ensure it’s dry? I’m sure getting it dry then oiled is critical to avoiding rust before storing.

Other things to consider like temperature or cleaning solutions I should use to avoid damaging a finish? Which finishes are safe? Which are not? CeraKote?

I’m not a fan of Sonic Cleaners… but it’s only because I love to work with handguns and manual cleaning is fun for me.

I’ve been checking Sonic Cleaners few months ago, just to see how does it could be better or easier for me and found this video the most interesting, perhaps it applies to your question:
(Polymer SIG P320 Ultrasonic cleaning)

I’ve also checked other forums about firearm finishes.
This post was interesting:

If you haven’t tried one or are considering getting one for cleaning it works very very well and is safe on; Cerakote, Armortuff, phosphate BCGs, NIB BCGs, black nitride, CZ polycote, Stainless, Hardchrome, and paint on sights and tritium vials.
It’s not safe for a blued gun, you must also immediately lube the gun once it is dried off. I noticed my sights and some springs form surface rust in under 5 minutes if they were not coated.

My guess is that all depends on CLEANING SOLVENT, not the SONIC CLEANER.


Precisely. I have a small sonic cleaner for jewelry and (water resistant) watches. I only use water.

I don’t have a sonic cleaner big enough for larger gun parts. I don’t have strong feelings against them; I didn’t know enough about the pros and cons of them.

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I don’t like that rust risk. If there was a solution that prevented that from happening then maybe. But we used a solvent in the Army that dried really fast and kicked but better than anything. We could clean all of out weapons super fast. Il’ll contact a friend from my section to see if he remembers the name. Chemical compound. Used it on nuke parts. :rofl:

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tetrachloromethane Or something like that. It is clear and smells good. However I do think it’s a carcinogenic.


Exposure to high concentrations, including vapor of tetrachloromethane, known also as carbon tetrachloride can affect the central nervous system and degenerate the liver and kidneys. Prolonged exposure can be fatal.

Yea, that sounds right. Might be what’s wrong with my kidney’s. Fortunately we wore protective gear when we used it. I believe the military reduced usage by 1992. I don’t think it’s used now. But I could be wrong. I only briefly used it. The two lowest ranking team members used it a lot more. They did detail cleaning weapons. I was lucky. Went in as an E-3 and avoided all that.

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I use simple green solution in my sonic cleaner so that it cleans safely. I use it to clean brass for reloading as well as, my gun parts.


Thanks for all the tips. So it would seem its possible, and the main issue is making sure you use the right cleaning solution, be careful with painted parts, and make sure you dry everything, and oil everything afterwards!


That is correct, @Greg6.
Good luck and happy sonic cleaning :+1:

I don’t have the chemical name of it but back in the bad old days it was called “Dry Cleaning Solvent” I don’t think it had anything to do with laundry though. The stuff would suck ALL the oil out of anything you put it in. It was worth it’s weight in gold during the first Gulf War because if you ran a standard Marine issue oil soaked M-16 it would be gunked up in the first 2 hours in country. That’s where I learned about powdered graphite lube (same stuff locksmith’s use).

To the original post, sonic cleaning works really well on guns but as has been noted you need to be careful what you put in it as fluid. Boiling hot water from a tea kettle is my preferred solution. Back when operating rooms used reusable instruments the sonic cleaner was the only thing that would get dried blood out of the box locks (hinges) of instruments before you resterilized them with steam.




That’s the same stuff I posted on here earlier. It’s not a healthy choice. It’s harmful.

Oh believe me I know that stuff will flat out hurt you, but it is a fantastic weapons cleaner. I went full Gunny Heartman on a Corporal that had 4 EIOU1’s up to their elbows in that stuff cleaning MK-19’s. It’s really good at what it does but MSDS exists for a reason.