Fountain pens continue to be popular writing instruments today with their elegant designs and smooth writing experience. However, every fountain pen user knows that with these benefits comes the responsibility of proper maintenance. This is especially true when dealing with waterproof ink. Cleaning a fountain pen that has been filled with waterproof ink requires a bit more attention and care compared to regular inks. Here, we'll walk you through the process of effectively and safely cleaning waterproof fountain pen ink from your fountain pens.
Understanding Waterproof Fountain Pen Inks
Waterproof fountain pen inks are designed to resist water, making them ideal for archival purposes and preventing document tampering. However, the same properties that make them resistant to water can pose challenges when it comes to cleaning your pen. These inks often contain pigments that adhere strongly to paper and can be more stubborn when it comes to removal.
Different Types Of Waterproof Fountain Pen Inks
There are several different types of fountain pen inks that are waterproof. Let’s look at them in more detail:
Pigment-based. Pigment-based inks contain larger particles that adhere to paper once dry. This also means that this type of ink is more likely to clog up the feed if left to dry inside a fountain pen. The pigment particles aren’t water-soluble, which means it can take a lot of work to remove this dried waterproof ink from a pen.
Bulletproof. Dye-based inks aren’t typically water-resistant, but the Bulletproof line of inks from Noodler’s is a type of dye-based ink that is waterproof. The chemical composition of the ink allows it to bind to cellulose fibers in paper, making it highly water-resistant. This can make them prone to staining and difficult to wash out of certain pens.
Iron gall. Perhaps the most permanent ink that is safe to use in fountain pens is iron gall ink. The permanency of these inks results from tannic acid (extracted from the galls of oak trees) oxidizing, making them water-insoluble. Even though modern iron gall inks are much gentler than their older counterparts, they are still acidic and can corrode pen materials and paper. In this case, it is best to be safe and regularly clean your fountain pens when using iron gall ink.
Cleaning Waterproof Inks From Fountain Pens
How difficult your pen will be to clean depends on the characteristics of the ink you use and how long it has been sitting in your pen.
In most cases, the simple process of flushing the pen with water should suffice. However, other instances may require you to use a pen flush made of water and other cleaning agents to completely clean the pen. You may also have to pull out the feed and the nib to clean them separately.
Using 10 parts water, one part ammonia, and a few drops of non-lotion dishwashing liquid, you can clean waterproof inks from fountain pens by following these steps:
Empty the pen. Start by removing the current ink cartridge or converter from your fountain pen. Use the pen's filling mechanism to expel any remaining ink in the nib.
Disassemble the pen. Some fountain pens can be disassembled for more thorough cleaning. Remove the pen section from the barrel.
Flush with cleaning solution. Fill a regular syringe (no needle attached), bulb syringe, or washing nozzle attachment with the ammonia-water-dish soap solution. Flush the pen by drawing in the water and expelling it through the feed and nib. Repeat this process until the water runs clear. You can also use a commercially available cleaning solution if you prefer.
Clean the nib and feed. If your pen can be disassembled further, remove the feed and the nib. Using a clean and very soft-bristled toothbrush, gently clean these components to dislodge any dried ink. You can also soak these parts of your pen overnight.
Dry and reassemble the pen. Pat the nib and other parts dry with a lint-free cloth. Allow the disassembled components to air dry completely before reassembling the pen. Avoid using paper towels, as they may leave lint behind.
Test with water-soluble ink. Before refilling with waterproof ink, consider testing your pen with water-soluble ink. This can help ensure that all remnants of the waterproof ink are removed and that your pen is functioning smoothly.
Refill with waterproof ink. Once you are confident that your pen is clean, refill it with your preferred waterproof ink.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, cleaning waterproof fountain pen ink is quite easy and requires just a few materials you may already have. The key is to clean your pens regularly and choose pens that can take waterproof inks, that is, pens with no precious materials, are not transparent or translucent, and do not stain easily. With the right care, you can maintain the longevity and performance of your fountain pen for many years to come and enjoy the benefits of waterproof ink at the same time.
Written by EndlessPens Blogger Ramona Kabigting