Acetic acid, Br2, and HCl solutions are investigated for removing insulating species from Nd1.85Ce0.15CuO4-σ (NCCO) thin film surfaces. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) shows that the HCl etch is most effective, yielding O 1s spectra comparable to those obtained from samples cleaned in vacuum and a clear Fermi edge in the valence band region. Reduction and oxidation reversibly induces and eliminates, respectively, Fermi level states for undoped samples, but has no clearly observable effect on the XPS spectra for doped samples. Reactivity to air is much less for NCCO compared to hole superconductors, which is attributed to the lack of reactive alkaline earth elements in NCCO. © 1991.