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How to clean a fountain pen?

January 08, 2021 3 min read


How to clean a fountain pen?

At Iguana Sell we recommend our customers to have a routine cleaning of their fountain pen, because not cleaning it properly can imply a malfunction of it and a bad writing experience. 
The fountain pens have more complex mechanisms than ballpoint pens or rollerball pens, because it must be loaded with ink and the intensity of their strokes is deeper.  But keeping the good quality of a fountain pen is very simple, since you will only need cold water, absorbent paper, a soft cloth and a brush (in case the piece has engravings). With these 5 simple steps, your fountain pen will look like the first day. 

  How often do you have to clean a pen?  

The first thing to know is when to clean a fountain pen. The ideal is to have a cleaning done every time: 

  • The ink cartridge runs out, especially if it is going to change color.
  • When you are going to stop using it for a long time.
  • When you see the ink stop flowing properly. To avoid this point, we recommend that you perform a regular cleaning routine on your fountain pen. 


1. Disassemble the pen completely

Parts of Esterbrook Estie Honeycomb, (with converter) and Twsbi (with piston filler)

It is necessary to disassemble the pen in order to achieve an efficient and thorough cleaning of all its parts. It is convenient to separate the body, the cap (first piece to be removed), the cartridge, the nipple, the feeder and the nib if possible. If the nib is not completely disassembled its cleaning will not be the most effective.

When you remove the cartridge, it must be kept upright, as leaning it back or turning it over will cause ink to spill.


2. Cleaning the nozzle, feeder and nib

    The feeder, nozzle and nib must be washed with water. You can either leave them under the tap and let cold water run, or leave them in a container with water. It is important that the water is cold, otherwise the pen could be damaged. 

    Another option is to use a plastic syringe, attach an empty cartridge to it and inject the water directly. With this method there is more pressure and therefore the pen will clean itself better. It is important to do it over a bowl or a basin and protect everything with paper to avoid ink stains.  

    If it is very difficult to remove the ink residue, you could choose to leave the nozzle and nib in an ammonia solution overnight. If the pieces are made of aluminum, the best option is to use vinegar and water.  


    3. Drying in the open air


      The next step will be to leave the pieces drying on a surface with absorbent paper for faster drying. This step is very important for two reasons: 

      • We must be very sure that the pen is completely dry and avoid using it again with water remains, as this would cause stains and bad lines in the writing.
      • Depending on the material, rust or corrosion could appear in this step. To avoid this, it is advisable to wrap the feeder and nib in absorbent paper

      We advise you to leave the nib dismantled overnight so that all moisture disappears completely.   


      4. Cleaning of the external part

        Even if the outside of the ink does not release ink, it is advisable to clean it to keep the pen in perfect condition and avoid finger marks. This step is very simple, you only have to pass a soft cloth or microfiber cloth through the piece and in case there are engravings you can use a small brush to reach the most difficult edges. You can use a polishing liquid to get a better cleaning, but we must not use other chemicals that can damage the material of the pen.

        Following this cleaning routine will make your pen look clean and bright, and will also avoid problems in writing. Finally, we recommend that you keep your fountain pens in cases, to avoid scratches or dust stains on them. 


        If you want to know more tips, please visit our website. At Iguana Sell you will find a wide collection of fountain pens in stock that can be purchased with  24 hour express shipping

        And, of course, if you require more information or wish to place an order, please do not hesitate tocontact us. You can write us an email, or visit our shop in Madrid, in Núñez de Balboa 90. It will be a pleasure to help you.

        We are waiting for you!

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