Just like any item that you regularly use at home, a fountain pen needs to be cleaned from time to time to be in top condition. If you own one, you may have already asked yourself, “How often should I clean my fountain pen?” May you be a newbie in using a fountain pen or an experienced one, you need to be knowledgeable in cleaning fountain pen.
Fountain Pen Maintenance
Capillary action enables a fountain pen to work by having the ink use surface tension. The surface tension allows the ink to flow through a channel along the narrow tube and out into the nib slit. This is how the ink can be seen on the writing surface.
As time goes by, the capillary action is disrupted when dust, dried ink, and paper fibers accumulate in the feed and nib. This might cause your pen to scratch, skip, and be inconsistent with its ink flow. This is when cleaning fountain pen is necessary, but worry not since fountain pen maintenance doesn’t require the help of a professional.
Clean fountain pen every month or two even if your pen still works fine. It also needs to be cleaned each time you change the ink, so muddy colors in your pen can be avoided. This will keep your quality of writing up especially if you are doing any bookkeeping since you need to have clear writing.
Cleaning solutions to be used for fountain pen cleaning can either be commercial or homemade. For a homemade cleaning solution, avoid using acetone or rubbing alcohol as exposure to these can cause irreversible damage. Dishwashing soap, ammonia, and bleach are recommended. Bleach should be well-diluted and should be considered as a final option, as it can also damage pen components.
In the same manner, ammonia and bleach shouldn’t be used together to avoid creating any toxic vapor when doing fountain pen cleaning.
Tips for Fountain Pen Cleaning
Now that you know how often you should clean your fountain pen, there are a few things you have to keep in mind aside from the step-by-step cleaning procedures.
- Distilled or softened water is recommended to be used for cleaning your fountain pen since tap water is likely to leave traces of mineral deposits in the barrel or feed.
- The water to clean the pen should be in cold or room temperature because hot water may cause warping.
- If you’d like to save the ink and keep it from being dried out, you can seal the cartridge or converter opening with tape.
- Learn how to flush a fountain pen by using special types of ink to fill in the pen for cleaning especially when there are ink stains left in the converter or barrel.
How often should I clean my fountain pen? To sum it up, basic cleaning is done even when your fountain pen is working fine. If you need to change inks or your pen writes poorly, you need to learn how to flush a fountain pen. For thorough cleaning or if you’re using high-quality ink, cleaning the nib section is a must.
Now that you have the answer to your question, “How often should I clean my fountain pen?”, you can now take care of your fountain pen on your own. A clean fountain pen makes it last longer. This might be surprising to know but a fountain pen can last for many years and even a lifetime if fountain pen maintenance is ensured. A clean fountain pen can come in handy when doing your taxes for the year too.