Frequently Asked Questions about the JCR Cleaning System
How long does it take to reach full charge from fully flat?
The Ion-Stream Commercial takes about 14 hours when first charged. After the first charge 8-12 hours will charge the battery. The charge rate is deliberately slow to maximise the batteries service life.
How long does the battery last? i.e. how many minutes of cycles?
About 90 minutes of continuous run time – 100 to 130 full cleaning cycles. If used on a regular basis we recommend replacing the battery every 24-36 months.
Does the effectiveness of the cleaning process become less if the battery charge is low?
No, the cleaning current is electronically regulated. As long as the blue OK light is illuminated the correct current is being delivered.
What is the active ingredient in the solution and is it harmful to skin or respiratory system and can it be disposed of it down the sink?
The solution is approx pH 9.1 which is very similar to that of toothpaste. When used It can be disposed of down the sink and should be regarded as a detergent. (Refer to the SDS for more detailed information on disposal). Ion-Sol contains a very powerful polarised degreasing agent which can cause irritation to the skin in some people. Whilst it is not a hazardous substance, it is good practice to wear rubber gloves. Dissolved salts in the solution from the tarnished metal should be regarded with caution as they can be moderately poisonous. Splashes should be washed off the skin as is the case with all detergents.
How long is the Ion-Sol solution effective for? How often should we change it?
Change the solution when it starts to look dirty or begins to smell. It will start to lose its degreasing properties before the tarnish removing ability falls off. If heavily tarnished copper alloy items are cleaned, then the solution should be discarded after use (please see plating-out below)
Does the solution lose its effectiveness when not being used i.e. sitting dormant?
If the container is sealed then it will not deteriorate. If left open to the air, carbon dioxide will dissolve in the water reducing the pH and as a result, its degreasing properties will become less effective.
Is the reaction at the surface (misting or frothing) the same every time regardless of how tarnished the piece is?
Once oil from the surface is removed then hydrogen ions will be formed on the surface of the metal. Some of these hydrogen ions will combine with sulphides on the surface of the metal producing hydrogen sulphide gas, and others will combine to form hydrogen gas, both of which will bubble from the solution. The formation of too many bubbles on the surface will effectively insulate the flow of the current, reducing the cleaning power of the system. It’s not only the fizzing action that does the cleaning. It is the free hydrogen ions and a polarised detergent that do the trick. The mechanical action of the bubbles do help in peeling back the oil and grime on the surface but actually hinder the energy flow that does the cleaning. The jewellery surface will be cleaned even if little or no bubbling can be seen on the surface. Reduction cleaning is done on a molecular level and too many bubbles will hinder the process because of their insulating properties.
Does the cleaning reaction become less effective on the surface of the metal after repeated application i.e. is the metal being stripped and the surface ultimately damaged or weakened through over-cleaning?
No, and strangely the reverse. It has been our experience that the metal takes a little longer to tarnish after being cleaned using the reduction technique. There isn’t enough power to do any damage to the surface. For reduction cleaning to be safely effective, only a small amount of electrical energy is required. Metal would be stripped if the polarity was the reverse. Hydrogen ions are attracted to the silver cleaning electrode where they form hydrogen gas and hydrogen sulphide gas if tarnish is present. Silver and gold ions would also be attracted to the silver electrode if they were in the solution. This is because they have the same polarity as the hydrogen ions. As this is the case, it is impossible to strip metal from the piece being cleaned.
Is the item harmed by being in too long and is the solution corrosive or otherwise?
The solution is alkaline and has a pH of 9.1 which is very similar to toothpaste and will not damage the surface of the metal under normal cleaning conditions. If the solution is used for items which have been heavily tarnished, salts from the tarnish will dissolve and build up in the solution. In this case, and if the item were to be left in the solution and disconnected from the power supply, metal from these dissolved salts could plate out onto the gold or silver surface causing a stain. This is why we have a residual current flowing though the electrodes to overcome the tendency of the metal to plate-out from the dissolved salts in solution. So, as long as the cleaner is charged and the jewellery connected to the system, there will be no harmful effects.
Is it hazardous to make an accidental connection between the jewellery item and the electrode when the current is active in the cleaning bath?
No, under normal cleaning conditions neither the cleaner nor the metal can be damaged.
Is an item that has been fully cleaned by the ionic process any more susceptible to future tarnishing than say an article that has just been freshly made (cast and polished) or silver plated?
Not at all. When metal becomes tarnished it undergoes an oxidation reaction. Ionic cleaning is exactly the reverse of this, and is a reduction reaction. The process is beautifully simple. The surface is reinstated to its original condition on being cleaned, revealing the original workshop quality polished surface.
Is there a detrimental effect on stones such as quartz, agate or CZ? What about pearls – dyed freshwater, or simulated?
We have found the system to be perfectly safe on all natural stones. It is possible that leaching of the dye from synthetic stones may happen, but we have not heard that it is a problem from any of our users. We have coloured fresh water pearls that have been submerged in the solution for over 3 years which show no deterioration in colour or texture when compared to a control pearl kept dry.
Is it OK to clean gold plated (on brass or s/steel) products in this solution too?
Yes it is. It is important that cleaned items should be thoroughly rinsed and dried after the process.