How to Clean Your Fountain Pen

Over time, a fountain pen may become damaged and lose its quality if it is not maintained and cleaned regularly. In this article, we look at some of the things you can do to properly clean your fountain pen to ensure that you can benefit from its use for a long, long time.


Why Should You Clean Your Fountain Pen?

A fountain pen is made up of several interconnected parts, and it works using the principle of capillary action. This mechanism helps draw ink from the cartridge channel to the nib using surface tension. If a pen is left uncleaned and not maintained, dry ink, dust, and other particulate matter may clog the ink channels and result in a considerable decrease in the pen's performance.

It's usually advised to clean your fountain pen every 4 to 8 weeks. Definitely clean your fountain pen whenever you're changing the ink to ensure that every refill works as intended. 


How To Clean Your Fountain Pen

STEP 1: Disassemble Your Pen (with care)

Since a fountain pen has several parts, it’s necessary to disassemble it to ensure proper cleaning. But please be mindful not to take apart your whole pen. A Pelikan, for example, will allow you to easily unscrew the nib section. You can then use a blunt-tip syringe to hose down the insides of the pen’s barrel and remove any ink residue.

A TWSBI, on the other hand, provides you with tools to perform complete disassembly and maintenance.

But we will focus on the most common type of filling system — the cartridge/converter. Unscrew the section, and separate the pen’s nib and converter so that you can clean both parts individually. If you used a cartridge, simply dispose of it.


STEP 2: Clean the Nib

The nib is the part that comes into direct contact with the paper and is mostly exposed to the environment. Cleaning this incredibly important part ensures its proper operation and smooth ink flow.

These are the steps that you need to follow once you’ve separated the pen’s nib:

  1. Run it through water. This will remove ink residue and will loosen up any dried ink in the feed and between the tines.
  2. Soak the nib in a mild dishwashing liquid solution. In the case of dried ink, distilled water isn't enough to clean the nib thoroughly. Therefore, a mild dishwashing liquid solution is required to get rid of the stubborn residues. Add three to five drops — depending on how strong your dishwashing liquid is — in a cup of water and let the nib soak overnight.
  3. Air-dry the nib: Gently shake the nib after taking it out from the water to get rid of excess fluid. Then keep it in a dry place for few hours to dry it out entirely before reusing it.


STEP 3: Clean the Converter
* if you used a cartridge, skip this step

  1. Pour out any ink left in the converter. The first step should be to eliminate the excess ink remaining in the tube.
  2. Flush it with water. You can then proceed to flush it with cold water. A blunt-tip syringe can help.
  3. Air Dry. The last step is to place the converter on a paper towel overnight to let it dry out before it's ready to be reused.

Maintaining a fountain pen may seem like a hassle, but it's relatively easy if you follow the steps mentioned above. It does not require much effort or money, and you can keep the fountain pen in prime condition for a long time with only a few minutes of TLC. With time and familiarity, some people even find the maintenance quite therapeutic!

We hope you found this information helpful! Happy Pen Cleaning Day!


By Some Folks at EndlessPens

Author: EndlessPensTutorial

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