Youve invested both time and money in selecting a fountain pen that you love on many levels, and of course a fantastic ink to go with it. Owning a fountain pen is a little bit more complicated and challenging than owning a ballpoint pen because your fountain pen will require at least basic maintenance to keep it working properly and to keep the ink flowing, so to speak. This is completely different to ballpoint pens which are maintenance free, which is exactly why theyre so popular with the masses.
Why Do You Need To Clean Fountain Pens?
The reality is that ballpoint pens are designed to be disposable whereas a fountain pen is designed to be kept and used for decades if not centuries and any writing instrument that you want to last for a potential lifetime will require care and maintenance as the years go by. But the reason why you need to clean a fountain pen is usually what mystifies most people, after all a ballpoint pen doesnt need cleaning does it?
The reason your fountain pen needs to be cleaned regularly is that because when youre the metal nib of the pen and the paper youre writing on creates a static electric charge on the nib of your fountain pen. Once the nib is electrically charged like this it attracts fibers and scraps of paper which then get caught in the feed channel of your pen and it doesnt take much clogging to jam up the ink flow in your fountain pen almost completely.
How Often Should You Clean Your Fountain Pen?
This will always depend on how often you use your pen and how much you use it during each writing session. As a rule-of-thumb giving your fountain pen a regular clean every 4-weeks will be enough to keep it free of blockages for ongoing use, and an intensive clean once every 6-months should be more than enough to prevent any serious blockages or other types of problems occurring. Its absolutely critical that you check the manufacturers documentation for your fountain pen before you clean it to prevent any accidental damage during the cleaning process.
Proper Pen Storage
One of the simplest, cheapest and most obvious ways to reduce the maintenance required on your fountain pen is to store it properly when its not in use. If you store a fountain pen filled with ink in a drawer for several weeks at a time youre almost guaranteed that the water in that ink will evaporate and the pen simply wont write as well as it did before you absent mindedly put it into that drawer. To prevent the types of problems caused by improper storage simply empty your fountain pen of any excess ink before storing it in a proper pen storage case.
How To Clean Your Fountain Pen
If youre changing ink brands or colors youll need to do a more thorough cleaning to remove any residual ink from the reservoir. When it comes to actually cleaning the pen this thoroughly youre going to need either a bottle of distilled water or some dedicated fountain pen cleaner such as Pen Flush, and some blotting paper to soak up the excess ink and water. Avoid using tap water whenever possible as mineral deposits or chemicals in the water supply could damage your pen permanently.
Fill a small glass with distilled water and just use the piston/refill pump for your fountain pen to expel the unused ink into the glass and keep going through that same cycling motion over and over again to flush out all traces of ink from your pen either before you store it or fill it with a new brand or color of ink. Once youve rinsed both the nib and the ink reservoir thoroughly you can then use the blotting paper to soak up any surface water and ink on the pen to make sure its completely drained of old ink before you do anything else with it.
As you can see from the above guide preventative maintenance is just as important as performing the actual maintenance itself so simple things like draining your fountain pen of ink before you store it need to become part of your writing routine; this single step alone can save you from experiencing the vast majority of potential fountain pen headaches.