How to Clean Your Fountain Pen

Writing with a fountain pen is a unique and pleasurable experience. Caring for your fountain pen is easy, and a regular requirement to keep it at peak performance. It is generally recommended that you give your fountain pen a flush once a month even if it is writing well. A regular flush with water and ensures that ink continues to flow properly and gives your pen longevity.  With use, dust, fibres and dried ink can occasionally build up in the nib and feeder of your pen, and can disrupt the capillary action causing the pen to write poorly. Signs that your pen needs cleaning include - ink flow that is slow or inconsistent, scratchy writing, and skipping within the writing.

How to Clean Your Fountain Pen in 5 Easy Steps.

  1. Disassemble Your Pen

Be sure to place all the pen components on something like a soft cloth or layers of paper towel, ensuring they will not roll off, fall into the sink or get damaged or lost.

Unscrew the pen cap.

Unscrew the nib section from the barrel.

Remove your cartridge or converter from the grip section. You can save the ink and use it again after cleaning the pen by sealing the opening of the cartridge or converter with masking tape to prevent it from drying out.

  1. Rinse Your Nib (Also Known as a Pen Flush) 

Rinse the nib section by filling and emptying it with cold or mildly warm water and repeat until the water runs clear. I tend to rinse my nib at my kitchen sink under a gently running faucet.

Do not use hot water at any point, as it can warp or otherwise damage your nib.

If there seems to be any difficult resides add a few drops of dishwashing detergent to the flush.

On anything that remains try 1:10 solution of ammonia and water.

You don’t need to use any special water such as distilled water with basic fountain pens BUT if your water has any known minerals/contaminants, please consider using distilled water.

  1. Soak Your Nib

Place your nib section in a glass of room temperature water and leave it to soak. Ensure the water level completely covers the nib section. Replace the water every time it becomes saturated with ink. Repeat until the water remains clear over the span of an hour. If you haven't got time to change the water, soaking the nib section for a minimum of 15 minutes and then drying gives a reasonable result as monthly pen maintenance.

  1. Dry Your Nib Section

Remove the nib section from the water and allow it dry for a few hours. You can leave the nib section sitting nib-down in the empty, dry glass with the nib wrapped in a soft, smooth cloth or paper towel to help draw the water out of the nib section.

  1. Reassemble Your Pen

When the nib section is dry, reassemble your pen by inserting the cartridge or converter, and screwing the nib section back into the pen barrel. Use your pen as usual.

Flushing - A Deeper Nib Clean

You should flush a pen thoroughly when changing inks, even between colours of the same brand. Also, if you have cleaned the nib section using the above steps and you are still having issues, try flushing it to give it a more thorough clean. "Flushing" means to force water through the nib section until it is clean. The easiest way to flush your pen is to draw clean tap water into the piston converter and then reinsert it back into the nib section.  Flush the water through the nib by turning the black portion of the piston converter anticlockwise, pushing the water through the nib. Repeat until clear water runs out of the nib.   Dry all parts and reassemble as above.

As outlined above, please use distilled water if your water has any contaminants.

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