How To Fix a Dried Out Pen: A Complete Guide
how to fix a dried out pen

Fountain pens are very satisfying to use. When the pen is working correctly, the ink will flow smoothly and create a beautiful script. Over time, fountain pens can eventually dry out if they are old or aren’t being used. You don’t need to get a new pen, just fix your dried-out model by trying some easy tips.

Steps to Clean Your Fountain Pen

Step 1: Fix The Dried Out Pen

Fixing a dried-out pen can be a messy process, as the ink may get on your hands, clothes, or surfaces. It is best to layout paper towels to protect your workspace, and consider wearing old clothes or a painting apron and latex gloves. 

Step 2: Flush the Pen

One of the most common causes of a dried-out fountain pen is a clogged or partially clogged feed system. If you are trying to figure out how to fix a dried-out pen, this is the first step to take. This can be applied to both new and old pens because they may clog at any time.

Try flushing your pen with warm water. This will clear out any particles or dried-up ink that may be clogging up the feed system. This can be done by unscrewing the pen, removing the cartridge, and pouring the water through the feed system. 

Flushing the pen can also help solve the issue of a fountain pen writing too wet

Step 3: Prime the Ink

If your fountain pen has a cartridge converter, try unscrewing the pen and squeezing the ink cartridge. This might force ink through the nib and unclog any blockages. If your pen is dried out due to the cartridge, this may fix the issue. 

If your pen has a converter, try to carefully twist the converter. 

Step 4: Clean the Nib of the Pen

Nib Pen on Black Table

A fountain pen can have a blockage in the nib as well. A blockage anywhere in the pen will cause your fountain pen to dry out. You can fix your dried-out pen by cleaning the nib of the pen.

You can use a paintbrush and warm water to gently scrub the surface of the nib. This should remove any hard residue that has formed on the nib. 

After the nib is clean and has dried off, try inserting a new cartridge. If the ink is still not flowing, try soaking the nib overnight to remove any remaining residue. 

Step 5: Try a Different Type of Paper

If your fountain pen is drying out too quickly, your paper could be the reason. Some paper does not take ink well and will create the illusion that your pen is drying out when it’s not the case. Try using paper that is formulated for ink

Step 6: Try a Different Type of Ink

Some ink will flow better than others. If you’re looking for a way to fix a dried-out pen, you try switching to a different type of ink. Some inks are self-lubricating, which may help prevent your pen from drying out, while others may clog more easily. 

Step 7: Repair the Pen 

If you are not able to figure out how to fix a dried pen by following the steps above, the issue may be greater than it seems. At this point, it’s best to consult a professional. A nib meister can be found online, or if you live in a larger city, you can likely find one locally. 

Why Do Fountain Pens Dry Out?

The ink inside a pen is made with water. Over time, this water will eventually evaporate and the pen will dry out. A fountain pen may dry out faster if you live in a dry climate if the cap is not sealed, if the ink is too thick, or if the feed clogs. 

Steps to Prevent Your Fountain Pen From Drying Out

If your fountain pen is constantly drying out, or you simply want to prevent your pen from drying out, there are several steps you can take. 

Step 1: Clean the Fountain Pen

Instead of waiting until the pen is already dried out, you can make a habit of regularly cleaning your fountain pen. This will prevent the pen from drying up later on.

Step 2: Store Your Pens Horizontally or With The Cap Down

 Hand with fountain pen

Gravity can work in your favor or against you when it comes to preventing your fountain pens from drying out. It is important to keep the nib and feed wet when your fountain pen is not in use. If you store your pen with the cap up, the ink will pull away from the nib and feed, so the fountain pen will dry up quickly. 

Step 3: Find a Less Dry Storage Location

Dry air or a dry climate will certainly speed up the process of drying your pen out, so it is best to store your pen away from fans or vents. If you live in a very dry climate, a humidifier can make a significant difference in preserving the longevity of your pens. 


It can be frustrating to figure out how to fix a dried-out pen, but the solution is simpler than you may think. It is important to try flushing the pen, priming it, and thoroughly cleaning it. If this does not work, your type of paper or ink may be the underlying issue. Otherwise, try taking your pen to a nib meister for repair and evaluation. You can also prevent your pen from drying out by keeping it clean and properly stored.


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