Fountain Pen Care

Posted by Smruti Pens on 5th Dec 2022

Fountain Pen Care

Unlike use-and-throw pens, one of the great benefits of using fountain pens is that they can last you for a very long time, often decades. In fact, I still have and use the same fountain pen from my high school days. Below I will cover all you need to know to care for your favorite fountain pens and keep them writing at their best for the long run.

Before using the fountain pen for the first time

When you get your shiny new fountain pen in the mail, it is tempting to just go ahead and ink it up to start playing with it. However, it is a good idea to clean out your pen before using it with your favorite ink. This is because fountain pen manufacturers often dip test the nib of the pen as part of their quality assurance process to ensure the nib writes smoothly. See below instructions for cleaning your pen.

Cleaning your fountain pen

Cleaning fountain pens is easy to do, and all you need are some common household items. In fact, this can be a therapeutic time flushing out your pen, watching the ink make beautiful and random shapes in water as it comes out, and then getting ready for a new ink color. Fountain pens should be cleaned out at least once a month. It is also highly recommended to clean them out before switching inks. Always use cold water for cleaning, as hot water can damage your pen.

Things you will need

    1. Tap water (or distilled water if you have hard water that may leave mineral deposits)
    2. Paper Towel
    3. A Wide Mouth Jar or Cup
    4. Syringe (Optional) - useful for forcing water through to remove ink
    5. Pen flush (Optional) - useful when dealing with stubborn dried-out ink, but not needed if you clean your pens out regularly

Cleaning the fountain pen

Cartridge or Eyedropper

      1. Remove the section from the barrel, and remove the cartridge. Then clean the section under running tap water until no more ink is coming out. For eyedropper pens do the same for the barrel as well. If using distilled water a syringe is useful to force water through the section and the barrel.
      2. Be sure to flush out the cap under running water as well.

Converter/Piston/Vacuum Fillers

    1. In a sink, empty out any ink in the reservoir under running water and run the water over the nib for about a minute.
    2. Then fill up a wide mouth jar with clean water. Use the pens filling mechanism to suck in the clean water into the pen, and then expel out the dirty water into the sink or another jar. Keep repeating until the expelled water is clear. As shown in the picture below for fountain pens with converters, you can also clean out the nib section and the converter separately.


3. Be sure to also flush out the cap under running water

Shake out any excess water and gently wipe down all the parts with a paper towel. Ensure everything has dried out prior to reusing. It is best to leave the pen disassembled in an aerated space for several hours. Always put them on a lint free cloth or paper towel to dry. Optionally you can also use a clean dry jar and layer some paper towel in it. With this method you can rest the parts vertically on the walls of the jar inside the paper towel layer and let gravity help remove the water down.

How to store your pens

Always store your fountain pens in a cool dry place and away from sunlight. If the fountain pen is inked, it is best to store a fountain pen with the tip of the nib pointing upwards. This will pull any ink that is on the nib or the feed back into the reservoir. This method of storing is good for up to a month. The one drawback here is when you are ready to use the fountain pen again, it will take a few seconds for the pen to start writing again as the ink has to make its way back to the tip. To get the pen going make short diagonal strokes across the paper using normal pressure until ink starts flowing again. Do not press hard as this might damage the nib.

You can also store your fountain pen horizontally when inked, but this is not recommended if you will be storing the pen without use for more than 2 weeks. Both horizontal and vertical storage work well when the pen is not inked. The only direction NOT recommended is with the tip of the nib facing downwards as it can cause pooling of ink.

Storage Tips:

  • Use a fountain pen case to prevent scuffs and dings
  • Clean out the pen prior to storing the pen for a long term to avoid ink dry up that can damage the nib or the feed
  • For air travel, empty the ink before traveling to avoid spills from pressure changes

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