What's the best way to clean vacuum tube pins?

What's the best way to clean the pins on NOS tubes? Are there any cleaning products out there or cleaning methods that work well?
Most effective way for me is to use a dremel with the small felt pad and some green jewelers rouge. Then I coat with a Caig product, or Mapleshade's SilClear silver treatment.

Be very careful when doing the inside of the pins, especially on slammer tubes, as I have bent pins using the dremel carelessly.

The pins will come out like new.
1markr must be most proficient with the Dremel; however, using some extra-fine steel wool by hand works very well too. And don't forget to treat with some high conductance stuff such as Caig mentioned above. That will help protect the cleaned pins for awhile.
I use a cleaning solution such as Contact, and rub gently with a Q-tip or pipe cleaner until it's clean.
Sorry to disagree! I would NEVER use steel wool!!! A few fine shavings or strands left on the pins or base, and you could be in for a MAJOR fireworks show!!! A dremel tool on miniature tube pins requires the touch of a micro-surgeon, then all traces of the jewelers paste must be removed. Kudos to you, 1markr, if you have the eyesight, dexterity, and dedication to perform this procedure, especially if you have multiple tube to clean! And don't forget, you should also clean the pin sockets, so forget about the dremel for this. I use Caig DeOxit for cleaning, and then Caig ProGold GX5 (high temp.) after, for pin surface preservation. Only a minute amount is required for the pins, so don't overdo! Make sure to remove any cotton fibers in the tube socket pins, and on the pins themselves. A can of compressed air works well, but DO NOT SPRAY hard enough to release the chemicals in liquid form (unfortunately, it is not just compressed air, but also contains tetrafluroethane, WHICH IS FLAMMABLE!) Caig also makes some dandy miniature cotton swabs for cleaning tube pin sockets, as well as other nifty cleaning devices. Remember to unplug your amp/preamp overnight, as electrocution from charged capacitors will put and end to your listening pleasure! Caig also makes ProGold G5 for non hi-temp applications. Caig products are convenient, and used for electronic cleaning and preservation all the way up to computers and also mil-spec electronics as well.
How about cleaning the holes the pins go into?
I thought about using a 1 inch pipecleaner in an electric drill.
Any other thoughts?
Instead of steel wool use scotch-brite.
Dweeler, I bought something from Audio Advisor called socket savers. 2 cool little nylon brushes that work perfectly for cleaning 6922 tube sockets and larger things like xlr sockets and power tubes....I've used them for several years now...
Well, after all of the cleaning, what kind of sonic differences did you notice?
dip them in cleaning acid. You can get it at hardware store. Be careful of course.... Dip pin only in a small glass container / small glass bowl or pyrex (only about 1/8 to 1/4 depth of acid) for about 30 seconds and then neutralize in baking soda solution (water and baking soda in another glass bowl for minute or so. Wash tube with joy and water if possible. Will remove any chemicals bonded when tube was made. no need to sand and works better. Acid is cheap, couple bucks for small amount. obviously only small pin tubes - works great on NOS nine pinners.
I use a tool called Fyberglas Rush eraser. Its bristles extend and retract with the twist of the cap, almost like a tube of Chap Stick.

The fine fiberglass bristles are self replenishing in that they wear away as they clean. Polishing tube pins with this tool works as well as the Dremel and avoids the steel wool and corrosive acid problem, requires no electricity or special skill and is inexpensive.


I told Michael Percy about this 10 years ago. I think he sells them now If you don't want to deal with The Eraser Company.
After discovering the merits of using a "MAJIC ERASER" product for cleaning styluses, I thought I would try using a piece of this material to carefully clean tube pins. Does an excellent job with no residual debris. Then I treat the sockets and pins with KONTAK, using a fine syringe for the sockets and lint free applicators for the tube pins. On the whole, this is reasonably quick and works well. I notice much cleaner high frequency reproduction. It's worth the effort. Just be careful when treating sockets to let the pin interface dry after re-inserting the tube in it's socket. This is also an excellent process for cleaning and treating bare copper spades and binding posts. Yields a similar audible improvement.

That's not a bad idea, I'll try that next time I'm swapping tubes and see how well it works.
"I use a tool called Fyberglas Rush eraser. Its bristles extend and retract with the twist of the cap, almost like a tube of Chap Stick."

Albert, could you provide the model number you use? I clicked the link and there were a number of alternatives.

Thanks for your elp.
try a fine emery cloth pad, or very fine sandpaper.
Very carefully!
01-17-13: Jperry

Albert, could you provide the model number you use? I clicked the link and there were a number of alternatives.

I use the blue metal body version, and purchase refills by the bag. Model is E111/C Metal Body Coarse FybRglass® Eraser.

Here is a link to the page Eraser company has for that product:

You can find fiberglass eraser pens at your local Radio Shack. I one they currently stock is a bit different than the one I used years ago to clean tube pins. Here's a link: Pro-Grade Abrasive Fiberglass Pen
Thanks for the link Albert and thanks for the Radio Shack alterative Rbrowne
To clean tube pins I'm going to try this kit from Caig