ICS Magazine

Ultrasonics Cleaning at the Los Alamos Fires

September 13, 2000
The recent wildfires in Los Alamos, New Mexico have been brought to national attention due to the close proximity to residential areas. Many homes were severely smoke-and soot-damaged. Several days after the breaking news, Rick Midwood, owner of Ultrasonic Cleaning Services received a couple of frantic phone calls from fire restoration companies he regularly contracts with for their cleaning needs. They asked Rick if he would clean items in the homes damaged by the fires, which could not been done the conventional way. He left immediately and drove from Las Vegas to Los Alamos with his Morantz Ultrasonic 2-in-1 System.

“My ultrasonic cleaning system has opened many doors and has helped me to expand my business,” says Rick. “If I didn’t have an ultrasonic system, I would never have been able to clean the types of items I did for the Los Alamos homeowners such as computers, televisions, fax machines, telephones, microwave ovens, porcelain, china, flatware and more. Time is an extremely important factor in this business. I did in eight hours what normally would have taken 43 hours by conventional methods.”

Ultrasonic cleaning of soot- and smoke-damaged items eliminates the tedious hand washing and chemicals that were previously necessary to clean items. This equals savings in time, labor costs, chemical costs and other related expenses. The method utilizes sound waves, which produce bubbles to accomplish the cleaning task. When the bubbles implode (collapse) repeatedly, the cleaning action occurs. Cleaning with bubbles makes the process not only fast and efficient, but safe. The most fragile items can be cleaned ultrasonically.

While in Los Alamos, Rick was not only focused on restoring the possessions of the homes he was cleaning, but also in helping to get the homeowners’ lives back together as quickly as possible. “Fire restoration work is rewarding in so many ways I never imagined. When I first left for Los Alamos I was thinking of the money I would make. But once I got there and took a look around, I knew I was doing more than just cleaning. I was giving people back their collectibles, their knickknacks, the items that have been passed down from generation to generation…essentially, their memories.”

When Rick first purchased his ultrasonic system, the intent was only to clean window blinds. While that was profitable, he saw more potential in fire restoration. S. Morantz Inc., the manufacturer of the ultrasonic system, offered a seminar in Firesonics, which taught attendees how to clean soot and smoke damaged items including electronics. Rick attended the seminar, bought a second ultrasonic system, and opened a second location to specialize in fire restoration. Rick says, “Because of my knowledge, I am able to clean faster and better the electronics and more. Because of my niche, insurance companies and fire restoration companies consistently keep me busy content cleaning from fires.”

Rick summed up his experience in Los Alamos as “I made money, but more importantly I helped families get back into their homes and back to their lives. It was very rewarding.”