What Liquid to Use in Ultrasonic Cleaner for Carburetors

Ultrasonic cleaners have, to a degree, revolutionized the way we clean intricate items, including carburetors. No more fiddly work with brushes and cloths. These devices use ultrasonic waves to create microscopic bubbles in a cleaning solution, which then implode, creating a scrubbing action that can reach into even the tiniest crevices.

Carburetors are susceptible to accumulating dirt and grime over time due to the nature of their function – which involves the mixing of air and fuel for combustion, and there is very little you can do about it – changing the air filter often or using only premium quality fuel might help but not forever anyway. As fuel flows into the carburetor, it can carry with it various contaminants such as dust, dirt, rust from the fuel tank, and even small particles from the fuel itself. On top of that, the process of evaporation can leave behind residues known as varnishes or gums, which are basically dried, hardened fuel deposits. Over time, these contaminants can build up and clog the small passages and jets in the carburetor, impairing its performance. When it’s clogged, the delicate air/fuel balance is disrupted, leading to a variety of issues. The engine may run lean (too much air, not enough fuel), which can cause it to stall, hesitate, or misfire, particularly when accelerating. Alternatively, the engine may run rich (too much fuel, not enough air), leading to poor fuel efficiency, increased emissions, and potentially damaging the catalytic converter.

This is why regular cleaning of the carburetor is essential to maintain optimal engine performance and fuel efficiency and that’s where the ultrasonic cleaners shine. One of the prerequisites for the ultrasonic cleaner to work when cleaning carburators, however, using the right liquid.

So, what kind of liquid should you use in an ultrasonic cleaner for carburetors? And are there any liquids you should avoid?

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The Best Liquids to Use for Ultrasonic Cleaning

Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions

commercial carburetor cleaning liquid

Commercial ultrasonic cleaning solutions are what it says on the tin – they are specially made to work with the ultrasonic cleaning process. They are designed to be safe for the materials being cleaned, effective at removing dirt and grime, and compatible with the ultrasonic waves produced by the cleaner.

These solutions often contain the following:  

  • Detergents: These are the primary cleaning agents that work to break down and remove dirt, grease, and grime. They work by reducing the surface tension of water, allowing it to better penetrate and clean surfaces.
  • Wetting Agents: Also known as surfactants, these substances lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing it to spread out and better penetrate the surfaces of the item being cleaned. This enhances the cleaning action of the detergent.
  • Rust Inhibitors: These are added to prevent corrosion, particularly on metal parts. They work by forming a protective layer on the surface of the metal, preventing oxidation.
  • Water Conditioners: These are used to treat the water used in the cleaning solution, typically to soften it. Hard water can interfere with the effectiveness of detergents, so water conditioners are used to remove minerals like calcium and magnesium that make water hard.

The ultrasonic cleaning fluid can be reused until it becomes unclean so it really depends in what state your carburetor is. Although there is no set guideline for when to replace the fluid, the purpose of an ultrasonic cleaner is to clean deeply and thoroughly. Solution is usually in need of replacing after 2-3 normal uses or after it looks dark and dirty.

When buying an ultrasonic cleaning liquid, make sure that the solution is non-hazardous to dispose of (i.e., it may be flushed down the drain), but keep in mind the contamination from the carburetor or the item you’re cleaning – flushing down oily, grimy and contaminated stuff might not be the best idea, so it is best to check your local disposal guidelines and restrictions. My view is that it should be disposed of in a way that’s similar to motor oil.


  • Commercial solutions are easy to use and often provide excellent cleaning results. They are specifically designed for ultrasonic cleaning, so they are typically very effective.
  • The liquids typically work on variety of materials such as aluminium, alloy, brass, cast iron, copper, ferrous materials, magnesium, zinc, etc. Carburetors are typically made of light alloy or aluminium so make sure that you pick the right liquid.  


  • Commercial solutions can be expensive, and you may need to experiment with different brands or types to find one that works best for your specific needs or material that you are trying to clean.

Simple Green

Simple green ultrasonic cleaning liquid

Simple Green is a brand of cleaning products designed for household and industrial use. Simple Green was founded by Bruce FaBrizio in 1975. The company’s origins can be traced back to a small garage in Huntington Beach, California, where Bruce and his father developed a safer alternative to the toxic cleaners then commonly used in industrial applications – the original Simple Green product is an all-purpose cleaner, known for its environmentally friendly formula.

Simple Green is a popular all-purpose cleaner that a lot of people swear by as it can be used in an ultrasonic cleaner very effectively. It’s a non-toxic, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly cleaner that’s safe for most surfaces.

Simple Green products are known for their versatility and effectiveness, and they are often used in settings ranging from homes to heavy industrial applications.


  • Simple Green is affordable and easy to find. It’s also safe for the environment and for the user.


  • While Simple Green is a good all-purpose cleaner, it may not be as effective as a specialized ultrasonic cleaning solution for certain types of dirt or grime.

Vinegar and Water

vinegar for carburetor cleaning

A mixture of vinegar and water can also be used in an ultrasonic cleaner. The acetic acid in vinegar can help to break down rust, mineral deposits, and other tough grime.

Creating a vinegar and water solution for ultrasonic cleaning is quite a straightforward process. To start, you’ll need distilled white vinegar and distilled water (yes, distilled does make a difference). The ratio of vinegar to water mixture will depend on the level of ultrasonic cleaning required, but a good starting point is a 50/50 mix. This means if you’re filling the ultrasonic cleaner with a gallon of solution, you would use half a gallon of vinegar and half a gallon of water. Good news this is not baking so no need to overthink it – simply pour the vinegar and water into the cleaner’s tank and stir gently to mix. For heavily soiled items, you might increase the vinegar concentration, but be cautious as too much vinegar can potentially cause damage to certain materials. Always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure the solution will not damage the carburetor. After cleaning, thoroughly rinse the carburetor with clean water to remove any residual vinegar.


  • Vinegar is inexpensive and readily available. It’s also non-toxic and environmentally friendly.


  • Vinegar has a strong smell that some people find unpleasant.
  • Vinegar can also be less effective than commercial cleaning solutions for certain types of dirt or grime.

Liquids to Avoid for Ultrasonic Cleaning

There are some obscure “recipes” out there for the best ultrasonic cleaning liquid such as Isopropyl Alcohol, bleach, acetone, gasoline, and the list goes on. Flammable liquids, such as gasoline or alcohol, should never be used in an ultrasonic cleaner. Period. The heat generated by the ultrasonic waves can cause these liquids to ignite, blowing up your garage or kitchen.

Isopropyl alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) – this one pops up quite frequently and I understand why because it works really well, especially for carburettors and other parts that are heavily soiled with oil or grease. It’s a colorless liquid that has a strong, distinct odor. In the medical field, it’s often used as a disinfectant or antiseptic. It evaporates quickly, reducing drying time after cleaning and leaves no residue, so really good until now. What is does really well too, however, is easily igniting. It’s highly flammable and can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. I think there is just too much risk in using Isopropyl alcohol as ultrasonic cleaning liquid as the risks just outweigh the benefits.


Bleach can damage the materials of the carburetor and the ultrasonic cleaner itself. It can also produce harmful fumes when heated by the ultrasonic waves. Avoid.


Acetone can damage certain types of plastic and rubber, which are often found in carburetors. Same as Isopropyl alcohol it is highly flammable, making it a dangerous choice for an ultrasonic cleaner. Avoid


Choosing the right cleaning liquid for ultrasonic cleaning of a carburetor (and any other material) can make a big difference in the final outcome. Do a degree, you get what you pay for – commercial ultrasonic cleaning solutions, Simple Green, are generally a solid choice, a vinegar and water mixture will most likely do the job as well. 

You should avoid flammable liquids, bleach, and acetone at all costs, if that’s all you got, leave the cleaning for some other day and get some of the above.



An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that uses ultrasonic waves to clean items. The waves create microscopic bubbles that implode, effectively removing dirt and grime from the surface of the item.

You can use commercial ultrasonic cleaner solutions, Simple Green, or a homemade solution of water and vinegar. The choice depends on the level of cleaning required and the material of the carburetor.

Commercial ultrasonic cleaning solutions typically contain a blend of detergents, wetting agents, rust inhibitors, and water conditioners. These ingredients work together to enhance the cleaning process.

Simple Green is a brand of cleaning products known for its environmentally friendly formula. The original Simple Green product is an all-purpose cleaner that’s non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe for most surfaces.

A good starting point is a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and distilled water. Pour the vinegar and water into the cleaner’s tank and stir gently to mix. Adjust the ratio based on the level of cleaning required.

Avoid flammable liquids, bleach, and acetone. These can damage the materials of the carburetor and the ultrasonic cleaner itself, and can also pose a safety risk.

As fuel flows into the carburetor, it can carry with it various contaminants such as dust, dirt, and rust from the fuel tank. The process of evaporation can also leave behind residues known as varnishes or gums, which are essentially dried, hardened fuel deposits.

A clogged carburetor can disrupt the balance of air and fuel for combustion, leading to issues like stalling, hesitation, misfires, poor fuel efficiency, increased emissions, and in severe cases, prevent the engine from starting at all.

Yes, Simple Green is a popular choice for ultrasonic cleaners. It’s non-toxic, biodegradable, and effective at cleaning a wide range of materials, including metals.

While tap water can be used in an ultrasonic cleaner, distilled water is often recommended. Tap water can contain minerals that can leave deposits on the items being cleaned and the cleaner itself. These deposits can interfere with the cleaning process and potentially damage the ultrasonic cleaner over time.

Martin Shaw
Martin Shaw

Martin is an automotive enthusiast with a deep passion for all things cars. He has spent the last decade immersing himself in the industry, reading up on the latest models, attending car shows, and tinkering with his own vehicles. Loves: family, all things cars (apart from selling them), pizza.

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