A method was developed for the reestablishment of chemical contrast in STM images obtained with chemically modified gold tips. Such tips display selective chemical contrast, which allows the selective imaging of specific species on the sample surface. Chemically modified STM tips can be fabricated by forming a self-assembled monolayer (SAM) on an electrochemically etched gold tip. One difficulty with this method thus far has been the relatively short lifetime of SAM-treated tips. The method described here utilizes the brief application of a high bias voltage between the sample and the tip to cause SAM molecules to reoccupy the tip apex, thereby allowing the tips to display selective chemical contrast in imaging. These treatments consist of applying a +1.9-V sample bias for 0.5-10 min under tunneling conditions. The usable lifetime of SAM-modified tips could be increased by more than 2 orders of magnitude, from hours to at least a month, dramatically increasing the efficiency of using SAM-modified gold tips. SAM molecules can also be removed from the tip apex by application of a negative sample bias (-2.0 V for 0.5-10 min) making it possible to alternate between conventional STM images and STM images with chemically enhanced contrasts.