It is important to periodically clean the shank of the plug style bits as well as the inner surface of the element. This is done to keep the bit from seizing in the element and also to keep from building a layer of oxides and contaminates that would obstruct the transfer of heat from the element to the bit. After allowing the iron to completely cool the bit should be removed and the bit shank and inner walls of the element should be wiped clean with a mildly abrasive emery cloth or soft wire brush. This cleaning process should be done as often as needed, depending on the work environment, but not less than once a week.
Courtesy of American Beauty Tools