Skip to main content
Laundry

This gadget uses sonic waves to clean—but does it work?

Can a million gentle scrubs beat a 200-pound washer?

The Sonic Soak uses ultrasonic waves to clean delicate objects Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

To get a deep clean on anything from your favorite T-shirt to your car, washing requires scrubbing, spraying, and stirring—usually fairly rigorously. But when it comes to washing delicate items, that can be a bit violent. Enter: the Sonic Soak. This washer uses sound waves to get grime off fabrics, glassware, and jewelry, and it’s not as far fetched as it seems. Sonic cleaning is used in various industries like cleaning jewelry and washing delicate produce. We’ve even tested a few models ourselves.

Sonic Soak originally debuted in 2017 as an Indiegogo campaign that raised over $2 million dollars. The concept reminds us of the Dolfi Ultrasonic Cleaner, a predecessor that also crowdsourced a ton of money, nearly four times the goal amount. The hype made us eager to check the Sonic Soak out and put it to the test in our labs.

Proof of concept

A proof-of-concept test showed that the Sonic Soak was powerful enough to turn aluminum foil into aluminum powder.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

A proof-of-concept test showed that the Sonic Soak was powerful enough to turn aluminum foil into aluminum powder.

We wanted a proof of concept before we started testing for real. The manufacturer suggested that we wrap the ultrasonic wand in aluminum foil, submerged it in water, and turn the whole thing on. We removed the foil after 15 minutes—what was left of it. Much of the foil had been pulverized into a fine dust.

This meant the Sonic Soak passed its first hurdle. It can clearly send out powerful ultrasonic waves.

Cleaning laundry

To test how well the Sonic Soak cleaned laundry, we used 50ml of detergent and five liters of water.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

To test how well the Sonic Soak cleaned laundry, we used 50ml of detergent and five liters of water.

Laundry is the heaviest lift for a washer of this type. We placed the same stain strips that we use in a full-size washer testing into a bin with 5 liters of water, 50 milliliters of Tide, and the Sonic Soak. Turning the device on, we let it run the default two minutes.

Related content

The result was so lackluster that we decided to up the time to 10 minutes. With 10 minutes on the clock, the Sonic Soak performed better. The results indicate that the Sonic Soak is best designed to deal with stains that are recent and made up of larger particles—think tomato sauce over ink. For laundry, we think that the Sonic Soak is an adequate solution as a portable washer. However, the best use we can think of is as a pre-treat option for delicate items.

The Sonic Soak did not do very well against set-in stains.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The Sonic Soak did not do very well against set-in stains.

Glass and ceramics

Moving on from laundry, we tested how the Sonic Soak dealt with glassware and ceramics. Based on our previous experience with ultrasonic cleaning, we expected this to be the device’s chance to shine.

The Sonic Soak performed better when we switched over to hard objects.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

The Sonic Soak performed better when we switched over to hard objects.

We submerged a wine glass stained with a few ounces of cranberry juice and a mug covered with day-old coffee. After the standard two-minute runtime, the wine glass appeared completely clean. The mug still had some stains in it, but nothing that didn’t come off with a single swipe of a paper towel.

Confident that the ultrasonic waves wouldn’t shatter glass, we decided to test its powers on our own eyeglasses. We placed in three different pairs of glasses and the Sonic Soak caused a cloud of gunk to come off each one.

It's a little hard to see here, but when we placed our glasses into with the Sonic Soak, plumes of gunk came off.
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

It's a little hard to see here, but when we placed our glasses into with the Sonic Soak, plumes of gunk came off.

Is it worth it?

For cleaning objects with tons of nooks and crannies, the Sonic Soak proved to be quite effective. In the sub-$200 category, we think it’s a risk worth taking if you’re having trouble cleaning delicate jewelry or something with tons of nooks and crannies. Don’t depend on it to replace a washer or elbow grease, but think of it as a helping hand. You can currently buy the Sonic Soak directly from their website.