Introduction: Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner

Picture of Soldering Iron Tip Cleaner

So I had this problem back when I first got my soldering iron. "HOW DO I CLEAN THIS STUFF OFF OF THE TIP?!" So I researched it a bit and learned about soldering iron tip cleaners. A bit later, I found this spool of thin copper wire while scavenging a trash pile (yes, I sometimes do this). I also found a broken cooking timer. So, this is what I did:
- I gutted the timer
- I traced the timer's back onto a thin piece of cardboard
- I pulled out a lot of the copper wire and formed it into several shapeless blobs of wire
- I stuffed the shapeless blobs into the back of the timer
- I taped the cardboard cutout onto the back of the timer so it would hold everything in.

So now I can refill the cleaner whenever I need to using the same spool of wire I used back then.

It may be shoddy, but in the end it turned out to work pretty well.


oddstray (author)2011-08-27

I ... have no idea what you're referring to. The only "cleaning" I ever needed to do with my soldering iron was to run it over a damp sponge between every use. The combination of heat and dampness always took off any oxidation.

verence (author)oddstray2011-08-28

Yep, a wet sponge was the tool to clean your soldering iron for decades (and of course still works).

The dampness has nothing to do with the cleaning process - that's just the mechanical wiping. The water just protects the sponge from the heat - by cooling the tip as the evaporation of water uses a lot of energy.

Some say that using a fluff of copper or another metal for cleaning is beneficial as the tip stays hotter, so the next soldering point will be of a higher quality. And the tip gets a thermal shock with every cleaning.

I used both methods - and both work. Advantage of the metal: The sponge is almost always dry when you need it, the metal is just ready to go.

Btw: If you strip a cable with a wire mesh for shielding, this wire mesh make a great tip cleaner.

prosper58 (author)oddstray2011-08-27

I use my soldering iron for things besides just basic electrical soldering. (like melting plastic) And it's not my idea, because soldering iron cleaners are already mass produced. It's a real tool.

dosadi (author)2011-08-27

Try a copper scouring pad sold at grocery stores. It'll work even better than the wire.

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