Always hold the iron over a durable surface, such as a table or workbench, which will protect your limbs (and others') in the event of a mishap.
Hold the iron in your hand. Add a small amount of solder to the tip of the iron. It should melt instantly upon contact.
Immediately wipe the solder off with the wet sponge on the iron stand. [photo]
Tinning of the soldering iron tip should be done regularly. It's good practice to tin the tip EVERY time you place the iron in its stand.
If the tip of the iron is ever NOT silver and shiny in color, it is in need of tinning ASAP.
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