Cleaning Fountain Pens
February 17, 2005 2:09 PM   Subscribe

Cleaning fountain pens. How?

I have a fountain pen that hasn't been used in a while, and as a result the nib (?) is kinda crusted with old ink. Is there a safe and easy way to clean the gunk out, because it would seem that the gunk is clogging up the nib and preventing me from using the pen even with a fresh ink cartridge.
posted by archimago to Writing & Language (6 answers total)
I always just run water through my pen until the water runs clear. This takes a long time, and then it takes a long time for the ink to work its way back through, so I hope there's a better way.
posted by librarina at 2:15 PM on February 17, 2005

Hot water. A long soak always works for my pen. If you use Indian ink it will take even longer - maybe overnight. Don't use water so hot it melts the plastic, but the hotter it is the faster your pen wil be back on the page.
posted by anadem at 2:18 PM on February 17, 2005

I'm not an expert repairperson, but I do use fountain pens almost exclusively. They can be disassembled fairly easily (although they all come apart differently, so the best advice I can give here is to be gentle). A dilute ammonia solution will dissolve dried ink, but be sure to flush thoroughly, because ammonia will also (eventually) dissolve some plastics used in old pens. If you can get the nib and feed out/apart, brush the vanes out with an old, soft toothbrush.
posted by spacewrench at 2:20 PM on February 17, 2005

Thanks!! I'll try the simple hot water first.
posted by archimago at 2:28 PM on February 17, 2005

This page gives a good overview of caring for your pens, including instructions on cleaning them. It comes recommended from a self-described "penaholic" (not me, I'm not one of them pen freaks!)
posted by filmgoerjuan at 10:52 PM on February 17, 2005

Straight from an offical St. Dupont pen repairman: Warm water until it runs clear, pat the outside dry with a soft cloth, let it dry overnight.
posted by chickygrrl at 9:45 AM on February 18, 2005

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