After cleaning the iron, its a good idea to tin the tip. We will achieve this by allowing a thin coating of solder to cover the tip of our iron. This will protect the iron from oxidation as the solder serves as a sacrificial buffer zone against oxidation (it oxidizes rather than our tip oxidizing).
To tin your tip, use a tinning compound, available at RadioShack. If a tinning compound is unavailable, you can substitute this with regular electronics solder. I recomend a low temperature solder for this because you want the iron to cool fairly quickly, so you dont fry the solder onto your tip which would defeat the purpose of cleaning.
A properly tinned tip will look similar to the tip below. An instructable has been created by royalestel
demonstrating the proper technique of tinning a iron tip. The instructable can be found here
A properly maintained soldering iron will give you years of flawless service.THE END