Fountain pens should be cleaned every four to eight weeks to keep them working properly.
In this video, we’ll show you how to clean a fountain pen, plus instructions on cleaning specific pen parts.
Be sure to check out our guide for more details, including advanced cleaning techniques.
Let’s get started.
Why Clean a Fountain Pen A fountain pen works through capillary action.
Ink flows down the feed and nib slit to the writing surface.
Dust, paper fibers, and dried ink can build up in the nib and feed, interrupting the pen’s normal flow and causing poor writing.
If your pen suddenly experiences inconsistent flow or scratchiness, it’s time to clean the pen.
If your pen is writing well and you won’t be changing inks, a basic cleaning is enough.
Here’s how to do it: Uncap the pen and remove the nib section from the barrel.
If your fountain pen uses a cartridge or converter, remove it from the section.
Hold the nib section under cool, running water for a few seconds.
Next, soak the nib section in a cup of clean water.
Replace the water when it becomes saturated with ink.
Repeat this process until the water remains clear for at least an hour.
Remove the nib section from the water and let it dry.
You can wrap the nib in a soft, dry cloth or paper towel and leave it pointing downward in a small cup.
Once the nib section is dry, install the cartridge or converter, and screw the nib section back into the barrel.
If your pen is writing poorly or you’re ready to change inks, we recommend flushing the pen.
Flushing, or forcing water through the nib section, ensures that the feed is completely clean.
For pens that have converters or built-in filling systems, use the following steps: Disassemble and rinse the pen, following steps one and two of the previous instructions.
Place the open end of the converter or barrel in a cup of water.
Fill and empty the ink chamber until it is clean.
Reattach the converter or barrel to the nib section and submerge the nib in a cup of clean water.
Use the converter or built-in filling system to cycle water in and out of the pen.
Repeat until no more ink is visible when pushing water out of the pen.
Replace the water if it becomes too saturated with ink.
Let the nib section soak for a few hours to dissolve any remaining traces of ink.
Dry and reassemble the pen.
If your pen doesn’t have a converter or built-in filling system, you can try a couple different techniques.
One is to use a fountain pen cleaning kit to flush the pen.
A kit usually contains a bulb or syringe that can be attached to a pen’s grip section.
Make sure that your pen and the kit are compatible.
For example, the Platinum European Model Fountain Pen Ink Cleaner Kit is compatible with pens that use short, international cartridges.
The Japanese Model, on the other hand, canonly be used with Platinum pens.
You can also try this cartridge-syringe hack.
Cut off the end of an empty ink cartridge and fit it to a bulb or syringe.
Make sure the connection is airtight to prevent leakage, then use the tool to flush the pen as normal.
Some fountain pens have nib sections that can be disassembled, letting you clean the nib and feed separately.
This is particularly useful when you use inks that require a little more maintenance, like glitter, iron gall, or pigment-based inks.
To clean the nib section properly, figure out if your nib unit is installed in a collar.
Collars should be screwed out of the section before pulling the nib and feed out.
For pens without a nib collar, simply remove the nib and if possible the feed from the grip section.
Be extremely careful when taking apart a nib section and don’t try to force out the feed.
Some pens, like the LAMY Safari, do not have removable feeds, and attempting to remove the feed will damage the pen.
Click on the card above to see if your fountain pen's nib and feed are removable.
Some fountain pens have an inner cap that can trap ink between it and the walls of the cap.
You can remove some inner caps with a little ingenuity.
First, take a standard wooden pencil and wrap a rubber band around the ferrule.
Loop the rubber band once over the eraser.
Make sure the rubber band is taut by holding any extra length in your hand or wrapping it lower on the pencil.
Insert the eraser end of the pencil into the fountain pen’s inner cap.
Twist the pencil so the rubber band “catches” the walls of the inner cap.
Pull the pencil out of the cap.
If the tool is not thick enough, loop the rubber band over the eraser a second time and try again.
Use running water or a cotton swab to clean the cap.
Let it dry thoroughly.
Replace the inner cap and push it all the way to the base of the cap before reassembling the pen.
Follow these instructions and you’ll be a fountain pen cleaning expert in no time! Share your tips in the comments below.
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Thanks for watching!.