6 Common Reasons The Solder is Not Sticking To Wire [PRO Tips]

Professionals use the soldering technique to create and refurbish metallic materials. It’s a process that involves the fusion between two metal objects using heat, hot iron, and a metal alloy filler.

Unfortunately, some circumstances can force the soldering experience to come to a halt because it may not adhere properly. Hence, today we’ll be discussing the issue of soldering not sticking to wire and offer strategies to help you get back on the road quickly.

soldering station

6 Common Reasons The Solder Won’t Stick!

Inability to solder makes this technique both time-consuming and unproductive. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the most important reasons for soldering not sticking to the wire so you can address them immediately if they arise.

1. Broken Heating Element

If the heating element is broken, your soldering will not stick to the wire as it will not generate maximum heat output. It’s a major reason for not sticking to the wire but often goes unnoticed.

How to Fix and Prevent It?
Examine the heating element if you face the issue. If it’s broken, you need to replace it. If your soldering is still not sticking to wire, explore the other potential problems we’re discussing below to improve your soldering abilities.

2. Oxidation of Solder Tip

If the tip of the solder is affected by oxidation from metals, it has a significant impact on the adhering soldering experience. Examine the tip of the soldering iron to see if it has become oxidized. If it’s black, it means it’s oxidized.

How to Fix and Prevent It?
First, turn on the soldering iron at its typical heating range (300°C). Coat the tip of the solder with colored flux and let it fuse. The tip’s high temperature triggers a chemical process that allows us to extract the oxidized product.

It’s recommended to apply a thin layer of solder to the tip. This method not only keeps the tip from being exposed to air but also keeps the solder together when the iron is heated.

3. Filthy or Corroded Wire

Issues regarding electrical soldering not only involve the iron tip but the metal wire itself. Dust can accumulate on the wire you’re working with, preventing it from adhering adequately. Instead, it will cling to the dust the wire has accumulated.

How to Fix and Prevent It?
Again, applying colored flux will suffice in this case. However, if the wire is composed of copper, it can be easily cleaned with mild sanding using pink erasers. It’s only feasible since copper oxidizes more rapidly than other metals when exposed to the air.

Precautions can always be taken to avoid these annoyances. Work materials should be stacked properly to keep them clean and prevent oxidation. Although it is hard to ascertain for aging materials, it is wise to avoid those that require constant extra attention.

4. Soldering Iron Not Producing Much Heat

Soldering iron requires enough temperature to melt and bind two wires together. If it produces insufficient heat, the iron tip will not melt as swiftly as it should.

How to Fix and Prevent It?
It’s critical to synchronize the wattage of your soldering iron based on the type of material. This helps in establishing the required temperature for the operation.

Furthermore, make sure you have a soldering iron that can radiate heat high enough to melt the solder and adhere it to the metal.

5. Metal Doesn’t Get Hot Enough

Soldering involves high temperatures for both the metal wire and iron tip. The tip of the iron must be hot enough to melt the solder, and the wire must be hot enough to bind securely.

Even if the iron is hot enough to melt the solder but the metal is not, this causes soldering not sticking to wire.

How to Fix and Prevent It?
Place your soldering iron against the metal for an extended period until it achieves a high-rated heat to ensure perfect bonding. You can use a propane torch to heat the metal wire’s outside.

Keep in mind that the amount of time required is dependent on the soldering equipment’s size, temperature, and iron wattage.

6. Technical Flaws

People frequently create issues with soldering by allowing the solder to sit on the soldering iron before using it in the binding operation. The tin of flux layer gets degraded, and the solder is exposed to air, making it inefficient at adhering to metals.

How to Fix and Prevent It?
Learning correct soldering skills is the greatest way to avoid solder sitting on the iron tip. As this may take some time, patience is essential in this case.

Soldering Not Sticking To Wire

Soldering Pro Tips: 8 Tricks to Help You Get the Job Done Right

In addition to these common soldering problems, other potential issues might appear. To fight these issues, try to follow our soldering pro tips.

• Keep the Heated Surface Clean

To decrease surface tension, you must keep the heated surface clean. Cleaning the tips with a solder and a sponge should be done on a regular basis. The tips should be tightened as well for convenient soldering.

If the surface has been oxidized, it must be cleaned with abrasive and fluxed.

• Fix the Disturbed Joint

This issue frequently occurs when the metal pieces are relocated before the joint has fully cemented. It can be cured by reheating the solder and allowing it to settle uninterrupted in the process of soldering.

• Use plenty of flux

The importance of flux cannot be overstated. Its acidity “eats away” at the thin coating of corrosion. As the metal warms up, this corrosion stops it from making contact with the solder.

Also, to clean the soldering iron’s tip, never use abrasive. Make sure to use flux to both the wire and the connector.

• Use Copper Wire

Among the speaker wires, choose copper as it helps the solder sticking easily. Aluminum wire will not be of much use in soldering.

• Fix Weak Joints

Even after following proper soldering techniques, the joint may not be properly bonded.  As a result, the soldering might not adhere to the wire. In this situation, heat the bad joints and any existing solder first before adding additional solder on top.

• Use a Solder Remover

If too much solder is used to attach two boards, it causes problems with their actual application. This can be rectified by using a solder wick or sucker to remove excess solder.

• Trim Leads Carefully

In a circuit board, the solder leads must never cross each other. This not only impairs the functionality but also affects the overall bending of the joint. It can be rectified by cutting the leads to just above the solder connection.

• Wet the Solder Pad Well

In some cases, you may not be able to adequately wet the solder pad, pin, or surface mount of an electrical board. This can happen at any point throughout the soldering process, resulting in system damage. However, this can be remedied by reheating the solder board and putting extra solder on its surface.

What equipment should you use for effective soldering?

Cheap tool or soldering equipment, in addition to technical concerns, can cause the solder to fail to adhere. As a result, to ensure utmost utilization, you should employ the following equipment in every soldering session:

  • Wire Cutters.
  • Soldering Stand.
  • Solder Sucker.
  • Steel Wool/ Wet Sponge.
  • Flux.
  • Goggles.

Related: Practicing soldering: Step by step process

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is my solder not sticking to copper wire?

There are a few things that could be causing this issue. One possibility is that the copper wire is not clean. Make sure to clean the wire with a wire brush before soldering. Another possibility is that the solder is not hot enough.

Make sure the solder is at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit before applying it to the copper wire.


Soldering is a technique that needs a high level of precision for a long period of time. Thankfully, we now have a better understanding of how to fix our soldering problems.

Hope you’ve found all the solutions to soldering not sticking to wire from our article!