This pilot cleaning pump is a real time saver. I have used all the other methods mentioned here. I would never go out doing no-heat calls without this pump. You can pull the pilot tubing off the gas valve, clean the pilot, put it back together and better than 90% of the time your problem is solved.
Never say never, Ive had some that got damaged during disassembly. Or they became so rusted replacement was necessary. Normal service required little poke from the inside out with a strand of a wire brush. I have seen many methods for cleaning on this thread and I am sure most are effective but this just worked for me and well. Especially when my eyes were good.