How To Clean Dried Ink From Nibs Fast!

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With the surge in the number of people using fountain pens continuing to steadily grow, we are still seeing more and more people reaching out with various questions about how they are able to maintain their fountain pen and get the most out of it. Over the last couple of months we have noticed people reaching out to asking how they can clean dried ink from their fountain pen nibs as well as a few people reporting actual nib and feed blockages.

Due to this, we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over a number of different techniques that you are able to use to clean dried ink from your fountain pen nib as quickly as possible. We will be covering two different techniques that can be used for slightly different issues as well as a number of different solutions that you are able to use to get the best possible results.

As we work our way through the article we will be going into the advantages and disadvantage of each of the techniques and cleaning solution to try and help ensure that our readers understand when each of them should be used. We also have our table of contents below so you are able to quickly navigate to any specific sections that you want to read without having to skim the whole article too.

Flushing Vs Soaking!

Both flushing and soaking have their place when it comes to removing large amounts of dried ink from your fountain pen nib as fast as possible but both are used slightly differently to each other and for different states of dried ink. With any luck, the majority of our readers will be able to get away with just flushing their nib but some people may have to resort to soaking but we will go into it below.

If some ink does pass through your feed and nib then you should be able to get rid of the dried ink on your nib with a cheap flush kit making the job very easy. If you are using a fountain pen with a piston filler then simply pull the flush solution through the nib and feed of your pen as if you are filling it with ink and then expel it over and over again. If you are using a cartridge-based fountain pen then using a bulb syringe may be required to allow you to quickly and easily fill and expel the flush solution.

Depending on how much dried up ink you have on your pens nib, you may have to do this multiple times to clear all of the ink. A simple trick is to have two different glasses during your flush process, one with your flush solution in and one that is empty. You fill your fountain pen with flush solution from its glass and you always expel your pen into the glass that was empty. This makes it much easier to see why your flush solution is clear when expelled suggestion that the dried ink blockage has been cleared.

If there is so much dried ink on your pen nib that no ink is able to pass through at all, you will probably have to soak the nib overnight in a flush solution to start breaking it down. Thankfully, the process is easy, it just takes a little longer than a simple flush. Put a small amount of flush solution in a glass and leave the nib of your fountain pen in it overnight for the flush solution to start to break down the dried ink.

In the morning, the dried up ink should be soft and easy to remove with a paper towel helping to free up the nib and feed of your pen. At this stage you simply go through the flush procedure that we explained above to help ensure that all of the dried ink has been removed from both the nib and the feed of your pen and that it is ready to be filled with fresh ink and used.

How To Clean Dried Ink From Nibs Fast!

There are a number of different liquids that you are able to use when flushing your fountain pen and each of them has their own advantage and disadvantage. To try and help our readers understand the best liquid to flush their fountain pen nib and section with when there is a build up of dried ink, we wanted to go over each of the liquids below to help you choose the right one for you.

Cleaning Your Pen Nib With Flush Solution!

In our opinion, cleaning your nib with an actual flush solution is always going to be the best option as it helps to clear the dried up ink as fast as possible. Flush solutions have been designed from the very start for use with fountain pens for the flush procedure and usually ensure that the process can be completed as fast as possible.

Thankfully, flush solutions are cheap so the majority of penthusasts will have some in their stationary collection for regular fountain pen maintenance anyway. That said though, if this is a one off and you don’t have a large fountain pen collection so want to keep your costs as low as possible, going with one of the options below will probably be a better option.

Can You Use Vinegar To Clean A Fountain Pen Nib?

The majority of homes have vinegar designed for use with food and some people have tried to flush their nibs and feeds with it and get mixed results. When people refer to flushing their fountain pens with vinegar they actually mean white distilled vinegar and it has a much higher success rate. Many people from the arts and crafts community do still have white distilled vinegar in their homes for various uses anyway and it can be used to remove dried ink from your pen nib.

We have a dedicated article going over how you are able to use vinegar to clean a fountain pen nib that goes through the whole process if this is something that you are wanting to try. That said though, if you don’t currently have any white distilled vinegar in your home then we wouldn’t recommend that you pick some up just to clean your pen nib, either pick up some flush solution or go with the option below.

Can You Clean A Fountain Pen Nib With Water?

You can use water to flush and clean a fountain pen nib if required and it can work surprisingly well. We would always recommend that you only use cool or warm water, never boiling as it can cause issues with expanding the metal or plastic in your nib and end up causing your problems in the long run. Some people do like to add a very small amount of soap too but this is not something that we recommend either, soap only offers a minimal advantage for breaking ink down so can usually be avoided.

Please note that if your have a full blockage and need to soak your pen nib to clear the dried up ink blockage then water can take a very long time so we would recommend a flush solution. If you just need to flush your pen to clear the nib and section then water can work well though but it takes time to get the process going.

Making Your Own Pen Fountain Pen Solution!

You are able to make your own fountain pen flush solution with a ratio of nine parts water, one part ammonia and although it can work well, we usually don’t recommend it. There are a number of different ammonia products on the market that have different strengths so it can be a problem to get the ratio correct for decent performance.


That brings our article on how to clean dried ink from your pen nib to an end and we hope that you have found it helpful. Thankfully, the majority of the time you are able to just flush your pens nib and section and be done with it with the dried ink being clear. If you do have to soak your nib then it does add time to the process but in general, it is still very easy to do and will also have a high success rate of clearing the dried ink from your pen nib.