Most Helpful Member
50 years ago it might have been 'reasonable' advice - but now simply ensure you use iron plated tips, just clean with a damp sponge, and set your temperature controlled soldering iron to a sensible temperature - although the iron temperature doesn't really matter much, as it's controlled anyway.About 50 years ago, driving with the Ungar representative to or from the WESCON exhibit in San Francisco. He told me that tips wear out quickly if they are cleaned too often. Since then, I keep my tips tinned I rarely rub them to anything to clean off the dross. I also have a triac dimmer circuit so I can have the iron idle at a lower temperature. The lower idle temperature ican be lower by using a soldering tip with a heat reservoirs.
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'Back in the day' with plain copper tips, and non-temperature controlled soldering irons, in a working environment you'd get through multiple tips per year, and had to continually file the tip to make it last that long. A common modification was to add a microswitch and half wave rectifier to the soldering iron stand, so when the iron was in it's stand the rectifier was in-circuit (reducing it's power), and was shorted out by the switch when you picked the iron up.
As a long term Antex soldering iron user, bit's last for decades - and it's rare to ever have to replace one.