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Does ink ever go bad?


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#1 sentraser165

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 14:58

Dear fellow FPNers,

I know this is somewhat of a newbie question, but I am still somewhat of a newbie so I guess that makes sense. Today, I got to thinking: does ink ever go bad? There are many of us who have more ink than we know what to do with; does it ever get to a point where we would have to throw out a bottle because it has been sitting around too long? I understand that if it becomes moldy, it needs to be tossed. If there is sediment, you can just shake it and it should be ok. Otherwise, are there any grounds for pitching a bottle? Thanks for the help, and have a wonderful day!

Steve
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#2 jbb

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 15:21

I would never put moldy ink in a fountain pen but it could be used for a dip pen. So even in that case you don't have to throw ink away. If you don't use a dip pen (it's fun so I recommend it highly thumbup.gif ) your could give, sell or trade the ink to someone who does. Besides mold there are times that ink gets a gooey sludge in it... I wouldn't put that in a fountain pen either.

#3 meiers

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 15:29

QUOTE (jbb @ Jun 28 2009, 04:21 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I would never put moldy ink in a fountain pen but it could be used for a dip pen. So even in that case you don't have to throw ink away. If you don't use a dip pen (it's fun so I recommend it highly thumbup.gif ) your could give, sell or trade the ink to someone who does. Besides mold there are times that ink gets a gooey sludge in it... I wouldn't put that in a fountain pen either.



I haven't had good-quality fountain pen ink go bad on me yet. Keeping it in a cool dark place - a desk drawer will usually suffice - has always worked for me. I try not to have too many bottles at the same time and keep my supply fresh. A shelf life of three years sounds reasonable to me.

Any dissenters.

Matt

#4 Goodwhiskers

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 15:32

The only reasons to throw ink out are mold, yeast, bacteria, and non-ink materials from dirty pens,
especially from dirty grip sections: dust from table and desk tops, lint, collected flakes of human and pet animal skin, skin oil, little flakes of food, hand lotion or sunscreen lotion, etc. Wipe the obvious dirt off of the grip section before dipping the pen into ink.

Fountain pen inks have some sort of "biocide" that kills bacteria, yeast, and mold. The old biocide in some brands was phenol, which lasts a lifetime, and which became restricted by government regulations in the past few years. The present biocides last many years, but some not as long as phenol.

Sediment is bad, but concentrated dye that falls out of solution (as in many "saturated" inks) is not sediment and is therefore OK as long as you like the ink and it behaves satisfactorily in your pen.

Otherwise, ink can last decades. If some of the water evaporates out, you can even add water to return it to the original concentration (distilled or de-ionized would be best).

#5 lapis

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 20:33

IMO ink never goes bad.

Exceptions:
- 1 You leave the bottle open for a week or two.
- 2 You leave the bottle in the open sunlight.
- 3 You cough or barf into the opened bottle during filling.
- 4 You have dirty fingers and the section is "polluted" during filling with the whole section under the surface of the ink.

Mike
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#6 incident

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Posted 28 June 2009 - 21:49

QUOTE (lapis @ Jun 28 2009, 01:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
3 You cough or barf into the opened bottle during filling.
I hate it when I barf into my open bottles of ink. sick.gif

#7 blopplop

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 03:55

QUOTE (incident @ Jun 28 2009, 05:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (lapis @ Jun 28 2009, 01:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
3 You cough or barf into the opened bottle during filling.


I hate it when I barf into my open bottles of ink. sick.gif


I'm constantly telling my children, "Will you all please STOP throwing up in the ink bottles when you're filling your pens!!" Just a bad habit I guess. smile.gif

Dave
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#8 ihopgod

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 12:50

Yikes! Eeep!

#9 saskia_madding

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 19:30

Okay, I know this is an ancient thread, but I have to revive it. My room is a mess and during my cleaning, I decided to clean my ink shelf off. I opened a few of the bottles and they smelled TERRIBLE. I remember using and smelling them when I got them and they did not smell even remotely that bad. Some have a rancid smell, others smell like really old paint. GROSS. These inks are all at least three years old, some as old as five or eight years I think.

I got a syringe and a filter to try that on a few, but some inks have responded better than others to this process. Some still smell terrible and some sudden smell fresh and new again. I'm thinking it is time to just throw them all out and take this as a lesson that i shouldn't have so many ink bottles (I think there was 30 on my shelf when I started the sniffing test). Does anyone know what else I can do with them? They were pretty expensive and I feel slightly ridiculous pouring them all down the drain.

Edited by simonerodrigue, 06 September 2010 - 19:31.

where to get the ink & info about my reviews!

 

KWS-flyingwhale-small_zps5c2158cd.jpg

now on Tomoe River paper!


#10 WendyNC

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 20:14

If it smells bad, toss it. If it didn't smell bad when you opened the bottle and doesn't have any evidence of "stuff" in it, it should be fine to use.

For those filtered ones which now smell okay, you may or may not be taking a chance. Personally, I wouldn't, but I don't know about your filtration process. There are other folks around here who do know quite a bit and I'm sure they'll show up in due course.
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#11 USMCMom

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 20:34

<!--quoteo(post=1118014:date=Jun 28 2009, 01:33 PM:name=lapis)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (lapis @ Jun 28 2009, 01:33 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=1118014"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->3 You cough or barf into the opened bottle during filling.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->I hate it when I barf into my open bottles of ink. <img src="http://www.fountainp...DIR#>/sick.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":sick:" border="0" alt="sick.gif" />


Edited by USMCMom, 06 September 2010 - 20:36.

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#12 USMCMom

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 20:36


<!--quoteo(post=1118014:date=Jun 28 2009, 01:33 PM:name=lapis)--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (lapis @ Jun 28 2009, 01:33 PM) <a href="index.php?act=findpost&pid=1118014"><{POST_SNAPBACK}></a></div><div class='quotemain'><!--quotec-->3 You cough or barf into the opened bottle during filling.<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->I hate it when I barf into my open bottles of ink. <img src="http://www.fountainp...DIR#>/sick.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":sick:" border="0" alt="sick.gif" />


I don't EVEN know what happened here!!
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#13 saskia_madding

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 23:46

I have definitely decided to toss any inks that smell remotely worse than their original scents. I am going to give the newly filtered ones a shot and see how it goes. The filtration system is one I got from a friend who works in pharmaceuticals and he assures me they are top notch filters for sifting out icky stuff. :)

where to get the ink & info about my reviews!

 

KWS-flyingwhale-small_zps5c2158cd.jpg

now on Tomoe River paper!


#14 WendyNC

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 23:53

In that case, you might want to use the filtered inks in c/c pens until you know how they're going to do in the long term just because c/c pens tend to be easier to clean. I'll be tickled to read that you were able to salvage some of the inks.
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#15 saskia_madding

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 00:05

I am old hat to pens (been using them since I was 12, am now 31), but new to this board. I'm assuming c/c pens means cartridge and converter pens, as opposed to bladder pens such as my Parker '51? If so, I TOTALLY AGREE on that call. Once I'm done with the burgundy in my Parker '51, I'm going to try a few of the filtered inks in my cheapest pens. I'll check back in in a while and let you know how it goes. :)

And I've learned my lesson - now more than 5 bottles of ink at any one time: blue, purple, orange, green, and one miscellaneous bottle that I'm loving at any given time!

where to get the ink & info about my reviews!

 

KWS-flyingwhale-small_zps5c2158cd.jpg

now on Tomoe River paper!


#16 lapis

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 09:35

I once said:

"IMO ink never goes bad.
Exceptions... "

I should have added:

- 6 It can also happen inadvertently from your purchase of a bad lot of that ink. Most often, but not exclusively, this results in a SITB or mould or moss etc. In that case, the ink didn't go bad yesterday, it was bad when it was bottled.

Mike
Life is too short to drink bad wine (Goethe)

#17 saskia_madding

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 00:52

See, that's the thing - none of them had any mold. But many of them smelled really rancid. Even if that doesn't hurt the pen, I still get the horrendous smell wafting up to me when I write. Ick.

where to get the ink & info about my reviews!

 

KWS-flyingwhale-small_zps5c2158cd.jpg

now on Tomoe River paper!


#18 mori45

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:51

I've had ink sit around for a good long time and remain perfectly good, but if there's any doubt I'd refrain from using it, and I'd say a rancid smell is a pretty good way to create doubt...

#19 burmeseboyz

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 00:31

I have definitely decided to toss any inks that smell remotely worse than their original scents. I am going to give the newly filtered ones a shot and see how it goes. The filtration system is one I got from a friend who works in pharmaceuticals and he assures me they are top notch filters for sifting out icky stuff. :)


The standard filters we usually use in my lab are 0.22 µm and they get rid of all the mold and bacteria. Check their pore size and as long as they're below 1 µm, they should get rid of the mold spores. I can't say about the chemicals they leave behind though. I'd toss the inks if they still smell bad. You don't want fungus digestive juices eating up your pens.
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#20 Pulsewidth

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 13:01

I transfer my ink into 5ml vials as used in the Ink Exchange thread, so I can fill from the vials and keep the main bottles sealed as much as possible. Less chance of losing the whole batch this way.

#21 lws

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 15:48

Pulsewidth: where did you get the vials? I'm after some myself. :) Only seem to be able to get them in bulk quantities of about 1000, and I don't need that many. ;)

Oh, and to the OP - if you're going to throw out the ink, save the bottles. A good bit of bleach or methylated spirits will kill any nasties, and good ink bottles are hard to come by. :)

- Lewis.

Edited by lws, 11 September 2010 - 15:48.

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#22 Pulsewidth

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Posted 11 September 2010 - 16:20

Pulsewidth: where did you get the vials? I'm after some myself. :) Only seem to be able to get them in bulk quantities of about 1000, and I don't need that many. ;)

I bought these:

http://cgi.ebay.co.u...=item23058713db

They have a deeper thread and feel stronger than the other 5ml vials I've seen. The seller ships internationally but doesn't list prices for outside the EU.