In the past few years, the price of ultrasonic cleaning technology has dropped so low that a cleaner costs less than most power tools. Nowadays, you can buy an ultrasonic cleaner like the Sonic Wave CD-2800 for just $20 — and while it’s billed as a jewelery cleaner, you could just as easily clean small parts with it. Just drop the parts in the one-pint stainless steel tank; the Sonic Wave’ll blast ’em for three minutes with 42kHz waves, then automatically shut off.
Ultrasonic cleaners work by creating cavitation bubbles in the cleaning solution. When these bubble collapse they release a lot of energy which breaks up and removes dirt from the objects in the solution. This means two things: the ultrasonic cleaner will clean faster and more uniformly than you could, and it removes dirt from all the nooks and crannies that you’d have a hard time reaching with anything else.
The Sonic Wave’s $20 price tag doesn’t include cleaning solution. Most retailers claim you can use water, but you’ll definitely get better results using the proper solution, which is also inexpensive and available at most places that sell this unit.