Jump to content

The Fountain Pen Network uses (functional) cookies. Read the FPN Privacy Policy for more info.  To remove this message, please click here to accept the use of cookies

Registration on the Fountain Pen Network

Dearest Visitor of the little Fountain Pen Nut house on the digital prairie,

Due to the enormous influx of spammers, it is no longer possible to handle valditions in the traditional way. For registrations we therefore kindly and respectfully request you to send an email with your request to our especially created email address. This email address is register at fountainpennetwork dot com. Please include your desired user name, and after validation we will send you a return email containing the validation key, normally wiithin a week.

Thank you very much in advance!
The FPN Admin Team


Cleaning Fountain Pens


  • Please log in to reply
34 replies to this topic

#1 Sky Fountain Pens

Sky Fountain Pens

    Scientia Est Potentia

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 168 posts
  • Location:Vancouver, Canada
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:09

Hello Everyone,


What do you use to clean your fountain pens, Ultrasonic cleaners, brushes, syringes, brass sheets, etc? What brand is it?




Sponsored Content

#2 Suji



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,692 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:19

Ear/Bulb syringe are great for flushing out pens, and I use them everytime I switch inks. I use brass sheets occasionally if paper fibres are stuck between the tines.

Pelikan 140 EF | Pelikan 140 OBB | Pelikan M205 0.4mm stub | Pilot Custom Heritage 912 PO | Pilot Metropolitan M | TWSBI 580 EF | Waterman 52 1/2v

#3 Waski_the_Squirrel


    Forum Squirrel

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,085 posts
  • Location:North Dakota
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:27

Water? Usually tap water. If I feel like doing something special, I use bottled water.

Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

#4 Moshe ben David

Moshe ben David

    Go Blue!

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,040 posts
  • Location:Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:41

Ear bulbs where possible (which usually rules out most piston fillers).  I keep a gallon jug of distilled water from the supermarket on hand -- the stuff they sell for use in clothes irons; about $1 ~ $1.50 per jug.  I also do a flush usually with JB  Pen Flush, especially if the pen has been waiting for a while for me to get around to cleaning it.  And especially for inks in the red family.  


Exception on the piston fillers are Pelikans; the nib/feed unit unscrews so easily from the barrel that I can flush the barrel quickly and also use the ear bulb to flush the nib/feed unit.

Moshe ben David


"Behold, He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!"

#5 ScienceChick


    Talk Nerdy To Me

  • FPN Supporter - Rhodium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,370 posts
  • Location:North of Dallas, TX
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 04:44

Depends. :). Bulb syringe with tap water whenever possible, pen flush and/or USC for stubborn ink (and pens with ossified ink - grr).

 photo 9a3c4b09-5684-4070-874c-d3e7313947e7.pngLife is too short to use crappy pens.  -carlos.q

#6 NinthSphere


    Made in Cognito

  • FPN Donor - Iridium

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,209 posts
  • Location:Daly City, CA
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 10:50

Tap water. Flush with an attached converter or the built-in filling system as appropriate. I haven't run into anything so bad I've needed anything beyond that.

#7 GTB Fioranno

GTB Fioranno

    Bonified Petrol Head

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 278 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 13:28

Personally, I just use bottled water if its on hand, and just keep a small sysco bucket filled with clean water.. it's more a cup than a bucket but you know what I mean.. I also use a ink syringe, bulb syringe, a toothbrush (to clean those pesky feed flaps things, i have no clue what those are called), and finally, a bit of dish soap to clean off dried ink on the body or grip of the pen



Favorite Ink and Pen Combinations:

Monteverde Jewelria in Fine with Noodlers Liberty's Elysium

Jinhao x450 with a Goulet X-Fine Nib with Noodlers Liberty's Elysium

Lamy Al-Star BlueGreen in Extra Fine with Parker Quink Black

Pilot Metropolitan in Medium with Parker Quink Black

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."  

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

#8 Lord Epic

Lord Epic

    Just the kid with the fountain pens... no, don't mind me...

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,086 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 13:35

Bulb syringe, syringe + needle, ammonia solution (1:10 ratio), dishwashing soap solution (a few drops in a bottle, well shaken), tap water and occasionally the ultrasonic cleaner.




Letter Writers Alliance
A sincere man am I
From the land where palm trees grow,
And I want before I die
My soul's verses to bestow.
All those moments will be lost in time.
Like tears in rain.
Time to die.


#9 Riayain



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPip
  • 66 posts
  • Location:Sydney
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 14:24

Bottled water, a toothbrush, and very occasionally a few drops of dish soap.

#10 Paddler


    Donor Pen

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,085 posts
  • Location:Northeast Ohio
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 14:43

Distilled water flush. Floss the nib's slit with Dacron sewing thread if it picks up paper fibers.

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

#11 jar


    A Vintage Pen has to be older than me.

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 26,155 posts
  • Location:From Deep South Texas
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 14:46

Tap water and patience.

My Sister's website :  Rose Hill Studios

My Website

#12 Ernst Bitterman

Ernst Bitterman

    Nil Magnum Nisi Bonum

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,044 posts
  • Location:The Flat Bit, Canada
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 15:05



If that's not working, either ammonia or Rapido-Eze in water.


...which then gets tried in an ultrasonic cleaner.


...and then we break out the tooth brush, section dismantling apparatus, bottle brushes and brass sheets.  Plus more time in the buzz-tub.


Because I'm lazy, though, I try to arrange my own pens to only ever need the first step.

Ravensmarch Pens & Books
It's mainly pens, just now....

Oh, good heavens. He's got a blog now, too.




#13 Runnin_Ute


    Super Pinks member:

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,919 posts
  • Location:Sandy, Utah - Elevation 4509'
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 15:12

Tap water, bulb syringe, syringe with needle.
Haven't needed pen flush, ammonia solution, dish soap solution or usc to date.
(pens are 1 aerometric, 2 lever, rest piston or c/c....

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

#14 CraigR


    Bibliophile, Writer and Philosopher

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,854 posts
  • Location:Hudson, NC
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 15:36

Very simple here.


New pens receive a flush with tap water and a drop of dish washing liquid and then a clear flush.


Pens in service are flushed with tap water until water is clear. I use a bulb syringe and an assortment of small bottle brushes and tools that I have assembled over time. If not satisfactory, I will often soak and then repeat as needed. More stubborn pens require a tear down of parts and a complete cleaning of each. The ultrasonic is used as needed. Once reassembled, I try to keep the pen clean and not stored or unused for long with ink in it. 


The more pens I have owned, cleaned and serviced, the more assorted tools and stuff I have accumulated. 

A consumer and purveyor of words. 


Co-editor and writer for Faith On Every Corner Magazine

Magazine - http://www.faithonev...m/magazine.html




#15 inkstainedruth


    Ancient Artifact

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 18,313 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 11 December 2014 - 23:31

I use distilled water first, then ammonia solution with a drop or two of Dawn dish detergent (except for iron gall inks, in which case I do a vinegar solution rinse followed by a distilled water flush before possibly an ammonia solution flush) and then rinse well with more distilled water.  I will use tap water for rinsing out caps if needed -- but never for nibs and feeds because I have extremely hard water.  For some inks and pens I will use an old toothbrush to scrub the nib and/or feed, but that is rarely necessary -- if the pen is easy to take apart (like the Noodler's pens) I may do that and soak all the parts, on occasion, in a small dishpan with ammonia solution in it (except the nib and feed, which get soaked in a cheap glass votive candle holder because it's a little more stable than a shot glass).  For pens that don't come apart easily, like the 51s, I flush and soak them nib down in the solution, and use a plastic clothes pin to keep them upright in the candle holder.  I do use a ear bulb to flush nib units, and a syringe with the needle blunted down on a sharpening stone for flushing out converters.
I've looked into ultrasonics a few times, but mostly I just let the pens soak (flushing and/or refilling with clean solution if necessary) and then flushing with distilled water, and then letting the pens or pen parts dry overnight in a small glass container with paper toweling shoved in the bottom.  I have enough pens that I don't need to flush between in colors immediately -- I'll just put the new/different  ink in a different pen.  Low tech seems to work for me, and I can let the pen soak or drain while doing other things.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth

"It's very nice, but frankly, when I signed that list for a P-51, what I had in mind was a fountain pen."

#16 benjitzu



  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 141 posts

Posted 12 December 2014 - 23:37

Similar to many, I use filtered water as a first layer, simple cleaner in a bulb syringe.


If a deep clean is needed, or when I acquire a new pen, I use a filtered water with a drop of dish soap.


And for truly deep cleaning, or when I've used very saturated inks for a longer period of time, I use filtered water with a 10% ammonia mix; then rinse with filtered water.


Quitips are quite helpful in cleaning out converters or the barrels of pens, especially piston fillers.


Simple techniques really, nothing fancy. Mostly just water and patience.



#17 table4bat


    NOS (New Old Stock)

  • Member - Bronze

  • PipPip
  • 10 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 16 December 2014 - 03:56

Ear bulb syringe, luke warm tap water.  Easy peasy.

#18 zaddick


    BROADside Ambassador

  • Member - Gold

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,189 posts
  • Location:SF Bay Area
  • Flag:

Posted 16 December 2014 - 05:32

Tap water and patience.

Agreed. Old pens I acquire tend to take a lot of both. I also use quality paper towels to leach out ink that is trapped where the nib meets the section.

If you want less blah, blah, blah and more pictures, follow me on Instagram!

#19 musket3


    Dipped Only

  • Member - Silver

  • Pip
  • 4 posts
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2017 - 04:50

A question about using a bulb syringe to force clean water through the nib to clean the pen. How do you clean the mold and mildew that develops inside the bulb syringe? 

This is my first post here and I have learned a lot about this fascinating hobby by reading many posts here. Thanks in advance.

#20 ParkerDuofold


    Jersey Boy

  • Remembered Fondly
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,368 posts
  • Location:Eastern Time Zone; United States
  • Flag:

Posted 05 January 2017 - 05:09

A question about using a bulb syringe to force clean water through the nib to clean the pen. How do you clean the mold and mildew that develops inside the bulb syringe? 
This is my first post here and I have learned a lot about this fascinating hobby by reading many posts here. Thanks in advance.

Hi Musket,

If your bulb syringe smells moldy, just chuck it and get a new one; their cheap enough that I think the involved cleaning process would be counter-productive.

- Anthony

Edited by ParkerDuofold, 05 January 2017 - 05:10.

With thanks to my Mom & Dad; who taught me to run free, but not run wild.

Please pray the Rosary daily. Thank You, St. Jude, for favors granted. :)

Grab life with both arms and give it a bear hug every day! :D

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: cleaning

Sponsored Content