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How To Use Desoldering Wick?

Have you ever faced a situation in which you need to rebuild a PCB? Well, as hectic as it seems, you cannot afford to ignore important details regarding this process. You need to grab a soldering iron when this happens. Sometimes your PCBs are also defective, which is why you need to replace them in time. It can happen when you are about to solder the PCB parts. In all this scenario, you need to consider desoldering as well.

Now, desoldering means you are removing extra solder from the PCB parts, which can be a challenging process. For this, you need some tools, and we call them a desoldering wick which is our topic of discussion today. Also, it pairs up with a desoldering pump to make everything feasible for you. So if you are new to this concept, we are going to shed light on its important aspects in this post.

After reading this post, you won’t have to struggle with the process of using a desoldering wick at all. Let’s get into it!

What Is a Desoldering Wick?

The desoldering wick works with a special solder sucker, and its job is to remove extra solder from the PCBs. For this, we recommend going with desoldering wicks since these eat up and absorb much of the solder.

The copper flat iron comes in different lengths, which helps you determine picking the right wick as per the amount of solder you want to remove. The copper strands just add to the solder-absorbing ability of these wicks. Once the wick absorbs enough solder, you can replace it with the new one during desoldering. 

When Should I Use a Desoldering Wick?

There are some important applications in which using a desoldering wick is important. Well, you cannot use this wick anywhere you want. It is because it might complicate the procedure for you even more. Basically, this wick is a vacuum cleaner that sucks the extra solder for you. Sometimes if you spill the solder mistakenly, this wick can be your lifesaver. You can use a desoldering wick for SMD components. Don’t worry it does not chip them off or harm them at all. Instead, you can rely on it completely for this purpose. Remember we talked about a desoldering pump?

Its job is to make desoldering a more efficient process for the user. However, you cannot use it for SMP parts. It comes with highly flat pads that are not useful in this regard. You can use solder suckers when dealing with PTH joints. We recommend using it because it is more efficient than the desoldering wicks. It works quickly when you are dealing with PTH jints, while a wick will take much time.

So now you know that desoldering wicks are application-specific. You need to determine the right use case for them to perform impressively. 

Selecting the Right Desoldering Wick 

The spools or bobbins in most of the wicks have a typical size of 1.5-3 meters. It is the recommended size, but if you will go for bigger wicks, it might fail you in performance. There are some important considerations to get your hands on the most suitable desoldering wick. Let’s study them below: 

·       Braid Width

Look for a suitable braid width that should be running between 0.8-5mm. You can also match the width with the size of the pads to get a better idea. The problem with small braids is that they take time to remove solder from the big pads. Now, if a wick is large, it will compromise neighboring PCB parts. If you are using a small braid, it will increase the complications like delamination and scratching of the PCB. Therefore, you need to be careful while finding the right braid width. 

·       Soldering Tip Size

The tip of the wick also matters. If you will get extra big tips, or these are too small, you cannot make them perform as per your requirements. The size of the braid width should be the same as that of the soldering tip. If the tip is too small, you will keep heating it for long periods of time. If a tip is too big, it will compromise other parts. Some recommended tips are knife, hoof, and chisel tips. 

·       Flux Composition

You need to see what is the flux composition of the tip you are choosing. No-clean flux tips are useful for the no-clean solder. Rosin flux desoldering wicks are useful for the PCB assembly if you are doing it after reworking. No flux wicks are for advanced and complex applications, which are not recommendable for beginners. 

How to Use a Desoldering Wick? – Step-by-Step

It’s time to discuss the correct way to use a desoldering wick so that you dont have to face any complications during the process: 

1.    Right Temperature

Setting the right temperature in the first place is crucial. It is because sufficient heat will help to melt the solder so that it can form strong bonds between the PCB parts. However, extra heat is not reliable because it can burn the solder and cause damage to the boards as well. Different wicks work on variable temperatures, which is why research for the optimum temperature range for the wick you are using. 

2.    Tin Soldering Iron

The next step is to go for tinning the iron so that you can proceed with the flux later. There are also some considerations while you tin the iron. Make sure you are adhering to these tips on all counts. 

3.    Apply Flux

It’s time for the flux application. Now it depends on the type of wick you are using. If it is a no-flux wick, you need to use flux to each and every joint and pad for the desoldering purpose. A proper amount of desoldering is important in this step as well to keep complications at bay. 

4.    Position the Wick

Correctly place the wick on the workpiece pad. Make sure to wear gloves while working with the wick since it can cause skin burns. Use wick tweezers or a spool for this purpose and ensure your safety with precautionary measures. 

5.    Add the Soldering Iron

Now start adding the soldering iron to the wick. Change the angle to bring the soldering iron to the patch. It will boost the thermal linkage and speed up the process as well. It will also protect the PCB parts from damage. 

6.    Apply Pressure

Dont exerts extra pressure on the wick when you are holding the soldering iron. Wait for a while and let it melt at its pace. It is a crucial step, and many users ignore its considerations which lead to complications. 

7.    Wait & Lift Off

Don’t rush the process; instead, wait for a while after this step. When you realize the wick has changed its color to silver, you can lift it off. However, you need to remove the soldering iron and the wick together. Or else, you will end up soldering with a wick to the PCB. 

8.    Check the Joint

It’s time for the final inspection. Make sure the joint has developed a firm connection. Cut the desoldering wick with special cutters before doing the process again. 

Benefits of Desoldering Wick


You know that you can rely on a soldering wick to remove extra solder from PCBs. We are going to see how it benefits you in multiple ways:

  • Using a soldering wick is an affordable move 
  • Soldering wicks are much easier to use, even for the beginners 
  • These wicks are available in different sizes, which makes the ultimate removal feasible
  • It works remarkably on flat surfaces as well 
  • It allows reusing the PCB parts without compromising them 

Disadvantages of Desoldering Wick

This section shows the downsides of using a soldering wick, so let’s study them below: 

  • The desolder braids dont work with the soldering wick because you need to hustle extra for it in terms of cleaning it before 
  • If you overheat the wick, it will become difficult to handle it at the same time
  • These wicks don’t work with congested and tight areas like removing solder out of the pins and holes 


Desoldering is an important process in the field of PCBs. Due to this, proper knowledge regarding the details, guidelines, and steps of the process is important to avoid complications and drive positive results. We have highlighted important aspects of using desoldering wick in the correct way so that you will be able to work with complex PCBs through this method easily. Also, if you will replace the desoldering wick with a soldering wick, it has some drawbacks that we have mentioned for you in this post. There are some cases in which the users do not adhere to the guidelines of this process, which complicates the procedure for them. To save yourself from such a mess, it is important to deeply study the usage of desoldering wick for PCBs. We hope that it was helpful for you and you can now execute desoldering wicks in a suitable way! 




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