Ammonia is a chemical often used as a cleaning agent in jewellery manufacture. A splash of ammonia can be added to the hot water and dishwashing liquid solution in an ultrasonic cleaner to drastically speed up the time it takes to clean a jewellery piece.
Ammonia can be bought in large quantities at chemical supply companies.
Ammonia vs. cloudy ammonia
Cloudy ammonia is a combination of ammonia and soap, and has a milky colour compared to undiluted, clear ammonia. Cloudy ammonia is used in household cleaning.
Cloudy ammonia is slightly milder than clear ammonia, but still effective in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Cloudy ammonia can be bought at most grocery stores.
Ammonia vapours can be harmful so be very careful not to inhale the fumes. When decanting larger amounts of ammonia, always do so in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside.
Avoid getting ammonia in your eyes or on your hands as it may cause burns and skin irritations.
Be careful when handling jewellery items after cleaning it with ammonia, it will be very slippery!
Ammonia evaporates, so be sure to only put it in your cleaning solution when you are about to use it. Keeping the lid on ultrasonic cleaners will also help, but you may find that your solution needs a top-up during the day if your ultrasonic is on permanently.