How to use and care for your fountain pen

You probably have a variety of items in your home that require care. Perhaps you own a beautiful mantle clock, a treasured piano or your great grandmother’s antique sewing machine. Maybe a classic car sitting in your garage demands your attention on weekends. One thing they all have in common is they all require a certain degree of care to ensure they will last and provide you with years of joy.

Today’s premium fountain pens are reliable, sturdy and designed to last. Properly cared for, your Zenzoi fountain pen can provide a lifetime of writing pleasure, whether you are drafting a letter to a family member far away, writing a poem or jotting down some important ideas. There are several easy steps you can take to maximize the quality and life of your fountain pen and ensure you get the most out of your Zenzoi experience:

  • Keep things in balance. When writing, try to keep the pen at a 45 degree angle, which allows for even flow of ink while protecting the integrity of the pen nib.
  • There’s no need to press the pen too hard onto the paper. Keep a relaxed grip to let the ink flow smoothly onto the page.
  • Cover up. The nib is the metal writing point that presses onto the page, creating a delicate flow of handwritten ink. Protect the pen nib from damage by keeping the pen cap on when not in use.
  • Keep it smooth. Your fountain pen is designed for putting the written word on paper. As you might imagine, writing on rough surfaces can damage your pen. So, avoid rough surfaces when writing to ensure a long-lasting pen.

In addition to the ideas above, here are some basics steps you’ll want to follow for proper care of your Zenzoi fountain pen.


First, why clean it? A fountain pen works through what’s called capillary action, during which a liquid uses surface tension to draw itself along a narrow tube. In a fountain pen, ink flows down a channel in the feed and the nib to reach the writing surface. Over time, dust, paper fibers, and flakes of dried ink can build up in the nib and feed, blocking the capillary action and causing the pen to write poorly, resulting slow or inconsistent ink flow, scratchiness, and skipping.

To avoid this, we recommend cleaning your fountain pen every four to eight weeks, even if it’s still writing well. Fountain pens should also be cleaned when changing from one ink to another, which prevents the inks from mixing and affecting the color of the ink.

Even if your pen is writing well and you will not be changing inks, a basic cleaning should be sufficient using the following steps:

Five steps to clean your fountain pen

  1. First, uncap the pen. Then, unscrew the nib section (also known as the grip section) from the barrel. If your fountain pen uses a cartridge or converter, remove it from the nib section.
  2. Rinse: Hold the nib section under cool, running water for a few seconds. This will wash off any easily removable ink.
  3. Soak: Prepare a cup of clean water and place the nib section in it to soak. Replace the water when it becomes saturated with ink. Repeat until the water remains clean for at least an hour. Some inks—especially ones that are highly saturated or water resistant—can take longer than others to clean out of a pen.
  4. Dry: Remove the nib section from the water and let it dry completely. This can take up to 24 hours. For best results, leave it sitting nib-down in a small cup with the nib wrapped in a soft, smooth cloth or paper towel to help draw the water out of the nib section.
  5. Reassemble: Once the nib section is dry, install the cartridge or converter if the pen uses one, and screw the nib section back into the barrel.

Commercial cleaning solutions

Sometimes water isn’t sufficient to clean out a pen, particularly when using waterproof ink. In that case, you can use commercial cleaning solutions designed for fountain pens using the following steps:

Step 1: Rinse and flush or soak the nib section of the pen with plain water, as above.

Step 2: Prepare the cleaning solution, following any instructions listed on its packaging.\

Step 3: Soak the nib section in the cleaning solution per the instructions. If the pen has a converter or built-in filling system, use it to pull the cleaning solution into the nib section.

Step 4: Rinse and flush or soak the nib section with plain water. Any cleaning solution left in the pen may interfere with ink flow.

Step 5: Dry the nib section and reassemble the pen.

Everyday cleaning solutions

In lieu of a commercial cleaning solution, you can clean your pens using common household cleaners.  It’s vital that you never use rubbing alcohol or acetone to clean your pens, as these substances can irreversibly damage the pen. Here are some safe alternatives:

  • Dishwashing Soap:Mix a small amount of dishwashing soap with water.
  • Ammonia:For very tough clogs or inks that are particularly hard to clean, you can use a 10-to-1 mixture of water and ammonia. Do not use ammonia to clean aluminum, brass, or copper pen components, as it can corrode these metals.
  • Bleach:As a last resort, you can try cleaning the pen with a very diluted mixture of water and bleach (approximately 20-to-1 ratio). Be careful, as bleach can damage some pen components. Do not soak pen parts in a bleach mixture for long periods of time. Never use ammonia and bleach together, as they will react to form toxic vapors.

Additional tips

If your tap water has a high mineral content, it may leave behind mineral deposits in the feed or barrel when the water evaporates. This can cause flow problems. Using distilled or softened water will alleviate this problem when cleaning your fountain pen. Use only cold or room temperature water when cleaning a fountain pen. Hot water may warp or damage some components.

As fine instruments, Zenzoi fountain pens benefit from regular care and attention to perform their best. Designed and manufactured with exquisite precision, the Zenzoi fountain pen will enable you to express your most important ideas through the powerful medium of the handwritten word. 

At Zenzoi, we take our role in the premium pen industry seriously and we’re committed to ensuring an excellent customer experience. As a family owned business, we are proud to provide world-class pens, ink and related products and we are dedicated to ensuring you are delighted with our products.