If you’ve invested in a fountain pen, you of course want to keep it safe and clean. Unlike disposable pens that can be cast-off without a second thought, a fountain pen purchase is an investment in a tool that is an extension of yourself, your personality, and your craft. One of the most important steps you can take to maintain your fountain pen in working order long-term is to properly clean it on a regular basis. Follow these tips to learn how to properly care for your fountain pen.
- Unscrew the barrel from the nib.
- Rinse the nib. Empty the contents of the nib, fill it with water, and empty the water. Repeat these actions until the nib is completely flushed and ink residue no longer drains out of the nib. For best flushing results, use an ear syringe, or hold the nib under a running faucet.
- Soak the nib. If your pen uses a converter or a cartridge, soak the nib overnight in a bowl of cool clean water. Do not use hot, or even warm water. The heat will expand the inside contents of the nib, which can be damaging. Use distilled water and make sure the nib is completely submerged overnight for best results.
- Blot the nib dry on a paper towel or a soft, dry, cloth.
It is important to complete these steps and wash your fountain pen every few weeks, or whenever ink colors are changed.
In addition to washing your fountain pen regularly, consider the following tips for caring for your pen long-term:
- Use fresh ink. Ink that is more than a year old could damage the contents of your fountain pen.
- After cleaning your fountain pen, allow the nib to dry overnight before its next use.
- Do not allow ink to dry inside of the nib, as it may cause permanent damage. If you do not use your pen daily, clean it after each use by following the steps above.
- For the toughest unclogging chores, add a teaspoon of ammonia to a cup of water and soak the nib overnight. Do not use alcohol when cleaning your fountain pen nib.
- Do not apply too much pressure when writing, as it may damage the nib.
- Do not use chemically-treated papers. Their slippery surface may result in ink collecting inside the nib, which can clog the feed.
- Store your pen vertically with the cap on when not in use, with the nib pointing up. This prevents the ink from settling or coagulating and clogging the feed. Store bought toothbrush holders make great fountain pen stands.