Deposition of fly ash particles onto heat-transfer surfaces is often one of the reasons for unscheduled shut-downs of coal-fired boilers. Fouling deposits encountered in convective sections of a boiler are characterized by arrival of ash particles in solidified (solid) state. Fouling is most frequently caused by condensation and chemical reaction of alkali vapors with the deposited ash particles creating a wet surface conducive to collect impacting ash particles. Hence, the amount of alkali elements present in coals, which, in turn, is available in the flue gas as condensable vapors, determines the formation and growth of fouling deposits. In this context, removal of alkali elements becomes vital when inferior coals having high-ash content are utilized for power generation. With the concept of reducing alkali elements present in a coal entering the combustor, whereby the fouling deposits can either be minimized or be weakened due to absence of alkali gluing effect, the ultrasonic leaching of alkali elements from coals is investigated in this study. Ultrasonic water-washing and chemical-washing, in comparison with agitation, are studied in order to estimate the intensification of the alkali removal process by sonication. © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.