The Sonic Soak works on the idea of using ultrasound to clean items. Placed in water, the device emits high-frequency sound waves that create tiny pressurized bubbles. These collide with the items being washed and blast away contaminants like dirt, oil and bacteria.

In the case of the Sonic Soak, the ultrasound-emitting part is a stainless-steel cylinder measuring 4.13 x 1.38 in (10.5 x 3.5 cm). This is placed in a tub or sink full of water and a splash of detergent, and hooked up to a unit that plugs into a wall outlet. The device emits 50,000 ultrasonic vibrations per second, and users can set timers from the wall unit.

The Sonic Soak makes short work of your clothes, but the device's potential goes way beyond that. The team says it can gently clean delicate fabrics like silk and lace; hygiene items like toothbrushes and razors, baby bottles and pacifiers; and silverware, toys, tools, eyeglasses, jewelry, dishes, fruit and vegetables.

Being smaller than a smartphone means the Sonic Soak is very portable, so it should earn its place in travel or camping kits. The team also points out that it uses just 10 percent of the energy and under two percent of the water of a regular washing machine, and it's silent, thanks to the limitations of the human ear.

Although the company is billing the Sonic Soak as "the world's first portable ultrasonic cleaner," items like the Dolfi pebble have been doing the same thing for years. That said, the Sonic Soak looks like a particularly well engineered iteration of the idea.

Apparently, plenty of people think so too: The Sonic Soak was funded through an Indiegogo campaign last year, raising a ridiculous 9,500 percent of its goal and cracking the US$2-million mark. "Late Bird" prices begin at $150 for the device, which has already started shipping out to backers, so there shouldn't be too long a wait if you jump in now.