Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am connecting a power cable to my dishwasher and I noticed the end of the copper wire looks like it has been dipped in solder. It is silver and very stiff. Should I be putting the wire nut on over this or cutting it off?

Both the power cable and the wires on the dishwasher have this material on the end of them.

share|improve this question
up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's solder - it allows you to easily solder to the cable (if you needed to)

It's a very soft metal coating, a screw will make perfectly good contact through it.

share|improve this answer
They also help to stiffen up the ends of stranded wire (for when you need to insert it into a push connection) and it make it less likely to get breakage of individual strands or to oxidize (for both solid and stranded) – Joe Apr 25 '11 at 15:43
@Joe - good point about the strands. Although the engineer in me wants to say that you can't beat a copper-copper contact – mgb Apr 25 '11 at 16:00
@mgb : You can; that's why they sell so many gold plated plugs for home audio/video stuff ... most oxides are a resistor, so in low voltage situations it can be significant. – Joe Apr 25 '11 at 19:01
@Joe, yep copper-copper is good, but copper-gold-coper certainly beats copper-oxide-copper! – mgb Apr 25 '11 at 20:29
We've always called it "tinning the wire" because the solder is usually mostly tin (Sn). – Bratch Apr 26 '11 at 4:51

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.