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There are many low-cost options out there for metal wire mesh tip cleaners. Three types of wire metal are dominant - steel, brass and copper.

I was wondering if there is a metal that is superior to others, and one that should be avoided, and why?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Link to steel or copper one? I've only ever seen and used brass. \$\endgroup\$ – winny Dec 27 '16 at 8:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ copper has higher thermal conductivity, so it will cool the tip more, steel and brass are harder and will wear the tip out faster \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Dec 27 '16 at 8:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some researching on Hakko wire cleaner suggests they use brass wire. I guess if it's good enough for Hakko, then it's good enough for me :-) \$\endgroup\$ – ysap Dec 27 '16 at 19:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be honest, I've used everything from pliers to sandpaper (what do you do when you need a fine point, but you only have a chisel tip...). When the tip's special solderable coating gets worn, a nice coating of solder paste before turning it on seems to restore functionality. \$\endgroup\$ – Sam Dec 27 '16 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not a professional, but I have one genine Hakko brass cleaner and one un-branded copper cleaner of Chinese origin, both seem to work equally well. the stuff is not like ordinary wire, it looks more like the waste produced by a lathe. a 0.05mm thick 0.6mm wide tape curled up in a 3-6mm helix and balled up into a tangle. In the kitchen I have a brass pot scourer that's very similar. \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Dec 29 '16 at 5:21
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The real issue is how abrasive the metals are. Damaging the solder-friendly plating of your soldering iron bit is best avoided by using a softer metal. Hence brass or copper wire wool is better than eg steel wool because it's softer and kinder to the tip's plating.

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BE WARNED SOME COPPER WIRE WOOL IS REALLY COPPER PLATED!

simple magnet test does proves it all!

i just bought some from a dollar store (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Brillo-Bonus-4-Ct-Pack-Copper-Coated-Steel-Scouring-Pads-Scrubbers-Heavy-Duty-/322370851238) and i made that mistake. Not to mention it said that its meant for removing heavy stuck on grime for pots! most probably don't want that for your tip. It feels pretty course but im too cheap (and lazy) to buy another so ill use it and let you guys know what are the results!

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