Good pen hygiene will keep your pens writing well and you happy for years and years to come. Depending on the inks you use regular cleaning will keep things working well. If you let your pens sit for a long period of time, especially if using shimmery, glittery, or some other fancy inks, don’t be surprised when they stop working and a simple flush isn’t enough to clean them out.
If you have something hard to clean out I would recommend a mix of ammonia and water, about 1 part ammonia to 10 parts water. Then a final rinse with water. Sometimes an overnight soak is necessary. I like to fill the pen with the cleaning solution and leave it overnight. If the feed is clogged up, it might need to be scraped out.
If you use some hard to clean inks then I recommend cleaning more often between refills. If you must get a deeper clean, then I suggest you only pull the nib and feed for cleaning, soaking, and scrubbing. If they won’t budge you might need to soak it first to loosen any stubborn ink. If you’d rather not pull the nib and feed flushing with an ear syringe is a great way to clean things out.
I use a UC to clean all my pens after buffing to get them cleaned up.
Soapy water. Parts in a little plastic tub with holes drilled in it so it’ll sink.
I wouldn’t use a metal tray as that can cause damage to your parts. Imagine sitting in a metal basket and vibrating aggressively against it. It would hurt.
Sometimes things just happen. Nibs will start to leak or drip like crazy for what seems like no reason at all. Usually it’s because of a crack in the housing, and most times you’ll be able to see it pretty easily, like in this photo here. But if it’s leaking and dripping and you don’t see a crack, it could just be the crack is farther back on the housing. Look around. If you don’t see a crack try a different converter. But it’s probably a crack. Some of them are so fine they’re really hard to see.
Richard Binder says removing and reinstalling converters will wear them out quickly, so I say don’t unless you have to. Taking it off every time you clean your pen just wears it out quicker. And removing the nib unit for routine cleaning is NOT NECESSARY. If you want a good strong flush, get an ear syringe like pictured above, and force some soapy water through it.
Here’s a broken converter. Time to toss it in the bin and get a new one.
Every now and then though, you get something nasty at the pointy end of your pen, or in a bottle of ink.
What to do?
With that contaminated bottle of ink, whether it’s fuzzy mold on the top, or a glob of jelly deep inside, it’s easiest to just toss it. It’s not worth getting your pens sick. Ink is relatively cheap, especially compared to your fine writing instruments.
When you have fuzz on the nib? Oh buddy. Things are serious now.
You can use a mild ammonia/water mix to clean parts with. With mold, a flush won’t be enough, so taking your pen apart for a good deep cleaning is required at this point. If you don’t know how to take your pen apart, get help.
Here’s a moldy Pelikan. Two runs through the ultra sonic cleaner with ammonia water, and a good scrubbing with 409 inside the barrel and cap parts, and we should be good to go.