How to Fix a Dry Fountain Pen and Prevent it From Drying Out
dry fountain pen

A dry fountain pen is an unfortunate occurrence that every pen lover dreads, as it can be a real pain to get it back to writing if it dries out. 

This post discusses the causes of a dry fountain pen and how to prevent it from happening. It also provides some tips on how to get your fountain pen writing again if drying out happens.

What Can Lead to a Dry Fountain Pen?

writing using a fountain pen

There are many reasons your pen might start to dry out, especially if you’re not using it enough.

If you let your pen sit unused for too long, the ink will slowly evaporate and leave the pen empty.

Another reason your pen might start to dry out is if you aren’t cleaning it properly. If you don’t clean all of the ink off of the nib and inside of the barrel, it can clog up the pen and prevent any new ink from flowing through.

The best way to avoid these problems is by using your fountain pen regularly and cleaning it thoroughly after each use.

Why It’s Important to Keep a Fountain Pen Moist

When a fountain pen dries out, the nib’s tines can bend or misalign. This will cause ink flow issues, and your writing may appear scratchy on paper. If left for too long, a dried-out fountain pen could also lead to permanent damage, and it may not be able to write anymore.

It is essential to keep a fountain pen moist to prevent it from clogging. 

Ink will accumulate inside the barrel and on the nib when the pen is not used. If this ink dries out, it can cause the pen to become clogged. Clogged pens often have problems with the flow of ink and may not write at all.

Another reason it is crucial to keep a fountain pen moist is that it provides the needed conditions for the pen’s internal components. 

A pen that is not used regularly may experience problems with the flow of ink if its internal components lack the necessary lubrication. A dry pen can also be more prone to corrosion.

How to Keep a Fountain Pen Moist

fountain pen

There are several ways to prevent your fountain pen from drying out.

The easiest way is by always having some ink inside of it. The best practice is to use as much ink in your current cartridge/converter before opening another one up.

You can also use a converter instead of cartridges. Converters are refillable, so you can use up all the ink in them before opening another one and filling it with more ink

They also allow more flexibility because they have larger capacities than cartridges (usually around 0.75mL), but converters tend to be messier and require more time when refilling them. 

Converters do not have a cap on top hence they cannot be simply unscrewed or popped off like with a cartridge system’s small plastic plug at its end-tip. Instead, converters rely solely upon gravity as their sole means of withdrawal.

Store the pen with its cap on to help keep the ink in the barrel and nib from evaporating. You can also store your fountain pen in a plastic baggie or airtight container when it is not in use.

Another way to keep your pen moist is by using an inkwell. An inkwell maintains the proper level of moisture inside the barrel and prevents excess evaporation. 

If you do not have an inkwell, you can also soak the nib and part of the barrel in clean water for a few minutes before each use. Just be sure to dry the pen after soaking before putting any ink inside.

Tips on How to Make a Dry Fountain Pen Work Again

Before you do anything drastic like discarding your pen, try these tips to bring it back to life:

  • If the pen is only slightly dry and still writes somewhat legibly, hold it pointed downwards and gently shake it so that the ink flows down into the nib. You could also try dipping the tip of the pen in water and then shaking it off (be careful not to get the barrel wet).
  • If your pen has an eyedropper, you can fill up the barrel with ink until it’s almost full. Gently tap on a hard surface a few times so that some air bubbles rise to the top, and then release the ink by pushing down on the plunger. Screw the barrel back on and give it a few shakes. If your pen is completely dry, or if the previous tips haven’t worked, you can try one of these methods to get it writing again:
  • Take off the nib and feed, and place them in some warm water for about 15 minutes. Gently shake off any excess water and replace them on the pen. Give it a few shakes to help distribute the ink.
  • If you have an old bottle of fountain pen ink, dissolve a small amount of ink (about ½ teaspoon) in some hot water. Soak the nib and feed in this solution for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.


A fountain pen can often dry out. If this happens, don’t give up on your pen yet! There are several ways to bring it back to life. Just be patient and try one of the methods until your dry fountain pen is writing like new again.​

The main takeaways for how to keep your pen moist are: always have ink in the pen, use converters for more ink capacity and flexibility, store the pen with its cap on when not in use, soak the nib and part of the barrel in clean water before each use, or use an inkwell.


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