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Cleaning Residue From Prolonged Iron Gall Exposure.



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I would like to share my experience with cleaning a pen after prolonged exposure to Iron-Gall ink.

 

I've filled my TWSBI 580 Diamond with KWZ Ink IG Blue Black in April 2016, and refilled it six times without flushing (despite warnings on KWZ Ink webpage). In February 2017 my pen looked like that:

 

http://i.imgur.com/GkSBpOj.jpg

 

Along piston operating range barrel was clean, but below there was dark residue.

 

I've asked Mrs KWZI for some hints on cleaning my pen.

 

She adviced me to crush three pills of Vitamin C (in Poland Vitamin C is sold as 200mg pills), dissolve them in 30ml of water, and load this solution to my pen and keep it there for a few minutes, and repeat this procedure until residue is dissolved.

 

I had no Vitamin C at home, so I used the following procedure:

  • I've measured 1g of citric acid (white pellets).
  • I've added ~50ml of demineralized water (tap water is very hard at my place, it is the same demineralized water I use to fill steam iron).
  • I've heated it to 35° Celsius (to make it easier to dissolve citric acid, this step is not strictly necessary, but I had baby bottle heater available)
  • I've stirred it (or rather shaken, as my container had a lid).
  • I've filled my pen with solution, waited 5-10 minutes, gave it good shake and emptied it.
  • I've repeated step 5 until residue was dissolved (three more time).
  • I've flushed the pen with demineralized water twice.
http://i.imgur.com/eH33DgA.jpg

 

Later I was told that:

  • ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is more effective than citric acid.
  • citric acid works better if one adds a little of baking soda.
Edited by ksm
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Ink Stained Wretch

I would like to share my experience with cleaning a pen after prolonged exposure to Iron-Gall ink.

 

I've filled my TWSBI 580 Diamond with KWZ Ink IG Blue Black in April 2016, and refilled it six times without flushing (despite warnings on KWZ Ink webpage). In February 2017 my pen looked like that:

 

http://i.imgur.com/GkSBpOj.jpg

 

Along piston operating range barrel was clean, but below there was dark residue.

 

I've asked Mrs KWZI for some hints on cleaning my pen.

 

She adviced me to crush three pills of Vitamin C (in Poland Vitamin C is sold as 200mg pills), dissolve them in 30ml of water, and load this solution to my pen and keep it there for a few minutes, and repeat this procedure until residue is dissolved.

 

I had no Vitamin C at home, so I used the following procedure:

  • I've measured 1g of citric acid (white pellets).
  • I've added ~50ml of demineralized water (tap water is very hard at my place, it is the same demineralized water I use to fill steam iron).
  • I've heated it to 35° Celsius (to make it easier to dissolve citric acid, this step is not strictly necessary, but I had baby bottle heater available)
  • I've stirred it (or rather shaken, as my container had a lid).
  • I've filled my pen with solution, waited 5-10 minutes, gave it good shake and emptied it.
  • I've repeated step 5 until residue was dissolved (three more time).
  • I've flushed the pen with demineralized water twice.
http://i.imgur.com/eH33DgA.jpg

 

Later I was told that:

  • ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) is more effective than citric acid.
  • citric acid works better if one adds a little of baking soda.

 

 

Thanks for that cleaning hint. I will soon be testing/playing with an ig ink. I'll keep this cleaning method in mind. I have plenty of ascorbic acid around, and quite enough distilled water, too.

 

I'm guessing that the weak acid reacts with the iron and thereby takes away most of the ink when flushed. A strong acid might dissolve the pen, or at least damage it.

On a sacred quest for the perfect blue ink mixture!

ink stained wretch filling inkwell

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Later I was told that:

  • citric acid works better if one adds a little of baking soda.

 

This seems odd as the baking soda would serve to neutralize the citric acid. Not sure what benefit that would provide.

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This seems odd as the baking soda would serve to neutralize the citric acid. Not sure what benefit that would provide.

 

I was wondering that too, unless the reaction created some bubbles as the baking soda neutralized the acid.

 

Why not white vinegar?

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This seems odd as the baking soda would serve to neutralize the citric acid. Not sure what benefit that would provide.

I'm not the chemist.

The chemist said that adding citric acid to baking soda solution would give me monosodium citrate solution, which would be more effective than citric acid alone. Unfortunately Mrs KWZI forget to mention the exact ratios.

 

Why not white vinegar?

Maybe it stinks less :-)

Edited by ksm
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inkstainedruth

 

I was wondering that too, unless the reaction created some bubbles as the baking soda neutralized the acid.

 

Why not white vinegar?

 

I'll admit I was wondering the same thing. OTOH, I don't leave IG inks in my pen for as long....

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."

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Ink Stained Wretch

 

I was wondering that too, unless the reaction created some bubbles as the baking soda neutralized the acid.

 

Why not white vinegar?

 

Vinegar might be too strong for some fountain pens. Remember, Hannibal used vinegar to dissolve boulders as he worked his army and his elephants through the cluttered passages of the Alps.

 

Acetic acid might also combine with the iron gall residue to make something that was even more difficult to flush out of the pen. And then there's the possibility that acetic acid would be rough on some parts of a piston filler.

 

I have an old Nero Blue/Black ink bottle with a significant amount of residue on the bottom, the Hero bottle did not seal well at all. I believe that Hero Blue/Black ink is an ig ink. I may go digging through my stuff and see if an experiment with ascorbic acid and distilled water is a great cleanser for ig inks :eureka: .

On a sacred quest for the perfect blue ink mixture!

ink stained wretch filling inkwell

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inkstainedruth

 

Vinegar might be too strong for some fountain pens. Remember, Hannibal used vinegar to dissolve boulders as he worked his army and his elephants through the cluttered passages of the Alps.

 

White vinegar is pretty mild. It's only about a 5% solution. So not really strong enough to use as, say, a weed killer in your yard. And when I use it to flush out a pen that had IG ink in it, I'm using it diluted in distilled water on top of that (I don't measure carefully, but the 1 part vinegar to 9 part distilled water is a good ratio -- think of it as being the same as using clear ammonia solution, only for flushing an acidic ink, and then adding a drop or two of dishwashing detergent).

If I get a pen that's really bad, I may try the Vitamin C trick -- but white vinegar is a whole lot cheaper around here -- less than $4 US in the grocery store for a gallon of the stuff, and it doesn't get used much so it lasts a long time. I go through clear ammonia faster and it still takes a while for me to go through a gallon of THAT....

I'd go through the vinegar faster if I used it for regular household cleaning.

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."

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Vinegar 5% is an effective weed killer in the yard. Don't dilute it with water, pour it on straight so the plant takes it up as water.

Resume watering nearby plants a few days or a week later.

Edited by cattar
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TravelCommons

Why not white vinegar?

 

Especially with KWZ being a Polish company. In Chicago, every Polish housekeeper I've known/employed has had a love affair with vinegar-based cleaners. I too would've assumed that vinegar would be the preferred option. ;)

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I'm not the chemist.

The chemist said that adding citric acid to baking soda solution would give me monosodium citrate solution, which would be more effective than citric acid alone. Unfortunately Mrs KWZI forget to mention the exact ratios.

 

 

Maybe it stinks less :-)

 

The formation and use of monosodium citrate makes sense in removing iron compounds, as it can be used as an anticoagulant. The presence of iron is known to play a function in the clotting of blood. Removing the presence of iron allows for the degradation of fibrin plugs and thus the clot to degrade as well.

Edited by JakobS

FP Ink Orphanage-Is an ink not working with your pens, not the color you're looking for, is never to see the light of day again?!! If this is you, and the ink is in fine condition otherwise, don't dump it down the sink, or throw it into the trash, send it to me (payment can be negotiated), and I will provide it a nice safe home with love, and a decent meal of paper! Please PM me!<span style='color: #000080'>For Sale:</span> TBA

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If the source is KWZI and the trick works I would simply believe it and use it, He is a chemist, the method makes certainly sense from a chemical point of view, and it works.

Edited to add: see also a 2013 thread on this form on Cleaning Method For Iron Gall Ink Using Ascorbic Acid

Edited by El Gordo

Ik ontken het grote belang van de computer niet, maar vind het van een stuitende domheid om iets wat al millennia zijn belang heeft bewezen daarom overboord te willen gooien (Ann De Craemer)

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amberleadavis

Great job! Thank you for sharing.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



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Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016



Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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amberleadavis

Thank you for the explanation.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar



Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016



Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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inkstainedruth

I had to go look up the term "chelate" (it's been [mumble mumble] decades since I last had a chemistry class, and I absolutely hated it. But if we had been do cool stuff like this I wouldn't have thought the teacher quite as much of a jerk.

I love this forum. I'm always learning new stuff.

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."

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amberleadavis

I'm going to try this with a blue stained barrel. I don't know what stained it though as it was stained when I bought it. :)

 

Please do take pictures, we'd love to see the results.

Fountain pens are my preferred COLOR DELIVERY SYSTEM (in part because crayons melt in Las Vegas).



Want to get a special letter / gift from me, then create a Ghostly Avatar



Ink comparisons: The Great PPS Comparison 366 Inks in 2016



Check out inks sorted by color: Blue Purple Brown Red Green Dark Green Orange Black Pinks Yellows Blue-Blacks Grey/Gray UVInks Turquoise/Teal MURKY

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