Clean soldering iron - how do you do that?

Soldering iron and especially soldering tips have to be cleaned occasionally. How to do this correctly, which means can be used and which should not be used, and how it works most easily, you will find out in detail in this article.

Cleaning the soldering tip after use

If you have consumed a little too much solder (this happens again and again even to experienced do-it-yourselfers), you can simply wipe off the excess solder with a damp sponge. With a soldering station, in most cases such a sponge is included in a sturdy holder, you just have to moisten it before using the soldering station.

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The same sponge can also be used to clean the soldering iron (€ 18.99 on Amazon *) tip immediately after use. If you do it thoroughly, you don't need to buy a new tip for a long time because it wears out less quickly.

A copper sponge can also be used for coarse dirt. It also removes stubborn residues usually well.

Tinning after cleaning

After cleaning the tip, it should also be tinned a little. This extends the life of the soldering tip considerably. Tinning is simply done with a small amount of solder that is applied evenly to the tip.

Tippy

A tip that is widespread among many do-it-yourselfers is "Tippy", a cleaning agent for soldering tips that also tins at the same time. It consists of lead-free solder powder (Sm97Cu3) and some additives.

There are no problems with the later use of leaded solder. You can get Tippy (manufacturer: Stannol) in many specialist shops without any problems, the 12g can usually costs around 10 EUR.

Salmia block

A salmia block melts under the hot soldering iron tip and removes even coarser dirt from the tip. Then tin it. You can get a Salmia stone in specialist shops from around 5 EUR.

Cleaning agents - overview

To keep the tip clean and usable for a long time you need:

  • damp sponge
  • Tippy
  • Salmia block (for very coarse dirt)

Coated soldering tips

Pay attention to whether your soldering tip may be coated. Such a surface refinement makes cleaning much easier, but under no circumstances should sharp or scratching objects be used for cleaning. Pay close attention to the manufacturer's instructions for maintaining the tip.

Tips & Tricks Another insider tip is to clean the soldering tip every now and then with your fingers or a cloth. That should work too. The effect could be based on the fact that a thin layer of tin remains on the soldering tip (similar to tinning after cleaning). This also prevents "scaling" of the soldering tip.