When I was younger, the tip of my soldering iron was always pitted and eaten away. It is difficult to solder with a damaged tip. I have since learned some techniques from pros that will help you keep your soldering iron tip in mint condition.Explanation:
Tips corrode because of oxidation. This is the same process that causes rust to form on things made from iron or steel. Oxidation is greatly accelerated with higher temperatures, especially soldering temperatures.The Solution:
Here are two tips to prevent excessive corrosion and maximize the life of your soldering iron tip.First Tip
Keep your heat low. You can do this by:
Turning off your soldering iron when not in active use.
Use a temperature controlled solder station to keep the temperature low and constant.
Keep oxygen away from the tip. You can do this by keeping fresh solder on the tip when not in use. The photos show (in order):
Tip with old solder and poor coverage
Freshly cleaned tip - ready for use
Newly applied solder - tip is not ready for standby
Keep your heat low; turn off when not being actively used.
After each actual use, coat the tip with fresh solder before putting back into its holder.
Just in case you are new to soldering and don't know, be sure to wipe the tip clean on a wetted sponge before soldering. Excess solder on the tip will do no good and lead to problems when trying to solder.