Tips for keeping a soldering iron oxide-free

Jon Lawson

When using a soldering iron, heavy oxides can build up on the soldering tip. One of the most important things to do for effective soldering is to always maintain a clean tip to ensure the proper amount of heat is transferred and also to ensure effective wetting of solder. Regularly maintaining the soldering tip will also save frequent replacement.  

If the oxidisation on the tip is not too extreme, maintenance can be simply carried out by using Hakko’s 599B. The 599B is made up of brass wires so users can easily work the tip to remove most of the oxides. The brass can also be replaced after substantial use. 

For re-tinning soldering tips and removing oxidisation, the FS-100 chemical paste is a useful companion. Heat the oxidised tip to 350°C, then tin the soldering tip, clean off the FS-100 paste with any Hakko tip cleaning sponge or the HAKKO 599B cleaning wire and check if the tip surface wets or not. This process will need to be repeated twice or more until the tip surface wets. 

Re-tinning is now completed but to prevent oxidisation, it is advisable to apply sufficient solder to the tip when soldering work is completed. Hakko 599N easily removes excess solder from the tip covering and ensures that there is an appropriate amount of solder remaining on the tip end. As a rule of thumb, it is good practice after finishing work to clean the tip and apply new solder to the end of the tip. Also, make sure to turn the power off when not using the iron and we strongly suggest heating the tip to 350°C during the cleaning process as temperatures above 400°C can quickly form oxides after cleaning.