Like any well-tuned machine, fountain pens need periodic cleaning to keep them performing their best. This article will cover the basics of fountain pen cleaning, as well as some advanced techniques for experienced users.
If your fountain pen uses a cartridge or converter, remove it from the nib section. To save the ink and use it again after cleaning the pen, you can use a piece of tape to seal the opening of the cartridge or converter to keep it from drying out.
Use only cold or room-temperature water when cleaning a fountain pen. Hot water may warp or damage some components.
Regular tap water generally works fine, but distilled water may be safer if your tap water has a high mineral content.
If your pen is writing poorly or if you want to change inks, we recommend flushing the pen to give it a more thorough cleaning. "Flushing" simply means forcing water through the nib section until it is clean.
If the pen has a converter or built-in filling system, use the following instructions:
Place the nib in a cup of water.
If the pen does not have a converter or built-in filling system but does use either Platinum or standard international ink cartridges (Diamine, J. Herbin, Kaweco, Pelikan, etc.), you can also use the above instructions, using the cleaning bulb from one of the Platinum Fountain Pen Ink Cleaner Kits instead of a converter.
For other cartridge fountain pens, you may be able to create an improvised cleaning syringe by cutting off the end of an empty ink cartridge and fitting it to either a bulb or Luer lock syringe, available at most drugstores. Install the cartridge-syringe assembly into the nib section and use it to flush the pen. Note that the fit between the cartridge and syringe must be airtight for this to work.
If this trick does not work, you can still give the pen a more thorough cleaning by combining the basic cleaning method with one or both of the following advanced techniques.
Sometimes water alone isn't enough to clean out a pen completely. Several companies make cleaning solutions specifically designed for pens:
You can also mix your own cleaning solution using common household cleaners:
With regular care and cleaning, a fountain pen can last a lifetime and keep on writing just as well as when it was new. Do you have any thoughts or questions about fountain pen maintenance? Leave a comment and let us know!
|When to clean your fountain pen||Every 4-8 weeks or whenever you are changing ink|
|When to do a basic cleaning||If your pen is writing well and you will not be changing inks|
|When to flush your fountain pen||If your pen is writing poorly or if you will be changing inks|
|Fountain pen cleaning solutions||J. Herbin, Platinum, Speedball|
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