Cleaning tube pins

Anyone have any suggestions for cleaning gold plated tube pins on NOS tubes. I have heard that Caig's is not the answer. Plus, I do not want to take the chance of removing the gold plating.
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Interesting. I am concerned that some of these products will leave a film that may not be compatible with the higher potential heat that a tube pin can see. 

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I would caution against using a wire brush.  This will leave all kinds of micro-abrasions that will permanently damage the surface.  I agree with your concern that some products may do more harm than good.  Hard to go wrong with a foam or cotton swab and pure isopropyl alcohol.  
NEVR-DULL  is a cotton batting, with a chemical cleaner that is for cleaning only, solvent and a light oil (like @Rislone). You dip the pins several times into the batting. They will clean right up, with no material removal. 6-20.00 usd (depends on the size of the can)
If you are not going to use them right away leave the light residue on the pins and wipe the base. Be careful not to remove the labeling, Tellies, ect powdery labeling.

Take cotton balls about a fist full wrap them in cotton towel, take your valves and plunge them in several times into the towel, if your rough handed, you can use just large cotton balls.  Plunge the pins several times into the ball WALLAH, clean as an be.  I leave the residue.
Then tighten the pin sockets, clean them if they need. Use a very small bottle brush and Isopropyl with a vacuum cleaner.  Tighten the pins with a dental pick and miniscrewdrivers.

Easy Peasy.. I've done just about 10 trillion that way, ok more like
10 million.  OK ok A LOT.. LOL.. Yea lots and lots, clean right up..


Anybody tried the Zeiss lens wipes? Work great on glass lenses and camera lenses...on gold plated tube pins??
@ daveyf

I use Isopropyl alcohol.

Dampen a clean white cotton cloth with Isopropyl alcohol. (Like a piece of an old white T shirt). Wipe down the pins good with the dampened alcohol clean cloth. Continue cleaning the pins with a new clean part of the dampened alcohol cloth until there is no longer any residue on the white cloth. Wipe dry.


Vodka on a cotton ball/swab! Also recommended by A.J. Van den Hul for cleaning styli.
If the tubes are brand-new in-the-box leave 'em alone! No need to be so neurotic!
If you want them looking brand new & shiny & they have a ton of oxidization/grime, the only way is to polish them. Usually dental polish tools are a good way. Or wet sanding with very very fine grit sandpaper.
Silver polish lightly followed by rinse with isopropyl alcohol, pins and tube bottom.
For those folks who are suggesting isopropyl alcohol, I presume this is safe to do on a tube pin that can get hot...anyone concerned about that?
Presumably the alcohol evaporates enough to not be an issue?
Alcohol evaporates 100%, leaves no residue. Use 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Wait til completely dry before reinserting tubes. 
Been doing it for at least twenty years.
Alcohol quickly evaporates. What you are wiping dry is any water content the alcohol didn’t evaporate with it.


I wiped down my gold plated pins with some 91% isopropyl alcohol tonight. Seemed to clean the pins well enough, we shall see if that also cleans up the sound a little.

I had the dremel out for another project but just polished some NOS pins with the polishing bit (felt) and some compound. I can reach the outside but to get the insides, I'd have to trim felt and put some time into this. Will there be a reward for such activity? The outsides went from really tarnished to original surface. It's a contact surface I'd say small gain??

I didn't notice any difference but my room is not perfect and my ears are 48 so YMMV.

A friend brought his Bel Canto SET amp over one time. Before playing we removed the tubes and I coated the tube pins with [redacted]. We applied [redacted] before listening to it here. So he had not heard it in my system and had no idea what if any difference it made.

Next day he called me up. When he hooked the amp back up in his system he couldn't believe how much better it sounded. Why? Then he remembered [redacted].

This was just the tube pins. Didn't do terminals, IEC, fuse holder. 

Whatever process Andy of VTS uses - those are the cleanest non-gold-plated NOS tube pins I've ever seen. The dull gold plated pin tubes (e.g. premium 6922) seem to stay a lot cleaner over time. 

I've heard of folks using CLR (carefully), but haven't tried it myself. 

I use cotton ear buds - the things that are plastic sticks with some tightly woven cotton fibre on the ends. Never to be used in ones ears, incidentally.

The IP alcohol I use is more like around 60%.

Cleaning each pin gently and methodically is tedious of course - perhaps at least a few minutes per tube.

This makes no difference to sound of course..  It is just prudent to remove any possible oxidization and any other possible contaminants like dust from an electrical contact that is just held into place (and reduces wear on the socket).

I don’t use any other cleaning solution. You shouldn’t mix your drinks.