Fountain pens are lovely to write with, but they can be messy and difficult to clean properly. If you’ve been struggling to restore an antique fountain pen or are having a tough time getting it as clean as possible, perhaps it’s time to step up your game.
An ultrasonic cleaner fountain pen accessory is a great cleaning tool to consider because it is perfectly safe to use no matter how old or delicate your pens might be and will offer you much better cleaning results.
What Is an Ultrasonic Cleaner?
An ultrasonic cleaner is a small electric device specially developed to clean objects through vibrations. The device is filled with water and starts to vibrate at a high frequency. These vibrations circulate through the water while the device is running.
When you place objects in the water while the machine is running, these objects will vibrate at the same frequency and be gently cleaned.
These devices are more effective for cleaning off stubborn, built-up ink than soaking because water can only soften ink and other deposits on areas where the water makes direct contact.
Through vibrations, air bubbles are pushed out of the pen and nib so all areas of the pen will come in contact with the water. The vibrations also move away from the softened buildup so underlying layers can also be targeted.
As turbulence is added to the water, the water sources through the small submerged components at a high frequency. This soft friction scrubs all surfaces of the pen or nibs to remove all traces of dirt and grime from even the smallest areas.
Ultrasonic Cleaner: Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution Safety Measures
For most fountain pens, ultrasonic cleaning is a pretty safe process because clean water is used, and there is no need to add additional chemical cleaning products that can damage the pen. However, there are a couple of things you should be aware of before cleaning a delicate pen with this tool.
- With certain pens, specific components can’t be submerged underwater. Some pen materials can be damaged by water and become ruined if you place these sensitive parts in an ultrasonic cleaner.
- It is best to avoid adding pens with an inlay to the ultrasonic cleaner. Some pens are composed of metal and resin. These materials can fall out or become loose when used inside an ultrasonic cleaner. Avoid using any pen with an inlay, including inlays like the mother of pearl, gold, or gold plating in these machines.
- The reservoir of most ultrasonic cleaners is usually big enough to hold several products that you want to clean. You might be tempted to include the components of several pens for a good clean. But those vibrations can rattle components together, which might result in damage.
- Ultrasonic cleaners with a stainless steel tank can damage nibs and other metal components when these items vibrate against the tank. In this case, you need to use a plastic basket inside the ultrasonic cleaner before adding your pen.
As long as you follow the regular cleaning instructions carefully, you shouldn’t have issues cleaning your fountain pen with this handy electronic device. These machines have a gentle cleaning cycle, and they offer remarkable cleaning results.
Reasons to Use an Ultrasonic Cleaner for Fountain Pen Cleaning
Fountain pen enthusiasts love their ultrasonic cleaners for various reasons. The biggest reason is to clear any dried and built-up ink inside and outside of the pen without scrubbing it, which can create scratches on your expensive pens. Here are a couple of good reasons to use this handy tool for cleaning a fountain pen.
- Ultrasonic cleaners are ideal for deep cleaning. During routine cleans, it’s perfectly fine to rinse out the ink, and flushing the pen or its ink converter with just water is usually enough to get it nice and clean. But for deep cleaning cycles, ultrasonic cleaners are much better.
- Inks that are highly saturated tend to build up inside the pen, and it can be hard to clean this dried ink out of those tiny areas. An ultrasonic cleaner will clear even the toughest ink types with ease.
- These cleaning devices are ideal for restoring an antique fountain pen with lots of dried ink. Where it can take days of normal soaking to remove the old ink in these pens, an ultrasonic cleaner can restore the old pen for you in a matter of minutes.
- Using an ultrasonic cleaner for pen cleaning is much quicker than manually soaking the old pen in water.
- These devices can be used on fully submersible pens, but in some cases, you might prefer not to disassemble the entire pen. In this case, you can also keep the pen balanced on its side with just the nib area in the water. This will give the front part of your fountain pen a good clean without risking damage to the rest of your pen.
How to Clean Fountain Pens with an Ultrasonic Cleaner
Fountain pens are usually pretty easy to clean, but an ultrasonic cleaner will take your cleaning results to the next level and make it even easier to care for these delicate pens. Here is a quick look at the steps for cleaning your pen.
Step 1: Testing
After finding a good cleaner that is easy to operate and durable in design, you should always test it before adding anything expensive to it. When the device reservoir is filled and the cleaner is switched on, it should create millions of tiny bubbles in the detergent.
These tiny bubbles will collide aggressively with any object you insert into the tank and create a cavitation action in which all parts of the object are thoroughly cleaned.
Step 2: Cleaning Instructions
Once you’ve established that the device is in good working condition, you can follow your pen’s care instructions. The cleaning instructions for fountain pen designs may vary. Some can be fully disassembled for cleaning, while other types may only allow you to remove the end cap.
Your pen’s care and cleaning instructions should give you a pretty good idea of what parts can be submerged underwater. For some pens, the entire front part and the converter can be placed in water, and for others, it is only possible to place the nib in the water.
Some pens have removable nibs or tips that you can easily take apart for cleaning, but with other pens, it’s best not to disassemble it but rather only soak the nib section.
Step 3: Cleaning Solution
With some fountain pens, like Montblanc, it is recommended to only use water, but for others, you can use an ammonia-based detergent. It’s important to always read the care instructions of your fountain pen before adding it to the ultrasonic cleaner or only cleaning it with water.
Step 4: Cleaning
Ultrasonic cleaners are usually pretty straightforward. Once the cleaning solution, water, and pen components have been added to the cleaner, you can close the cleaner and set it to run for a certain amount of time. Some only have simple on and off buttons, but some come with multiple cycle lengths and an auto-off function.
The cycle times for these devices can vary from model to model. Some have a standard cleaning cycle of 3 minutes, while others can be set from 90 seconds up to 10 minutes.
In the case of pens that are not disassembled, you can use the cleaner with the lid still open, so the pen barrel can stay clear of the cleaning solution.
Leave your pens in the ultrasonic cleaner for the recommended time. Most people prefer to only leave the removable pen parts like nibs or converters in for 30-second cycles and check on their pen components before running an additional cycle. These shorter cycles are a good way to eliminate the risks of damaging your delicate pen.
Once you’re satisfied with the cleaning results, it’s time to remove the pen components from the cleaning device. You can dry off these components using a lint-free cloth and reassemble your pen.
Ultrasonic cleaner fountain pen accessories are an ideal tool for restoring old pens and removing tough, dried-up ink. These devices can significantly reduce your cleaning time since you no longer have to soak pen parts to get rid of stubborn ink buildup. If you are a frequent fountain pen user or have a large collection of luxurious fountain pens, these cleaners can be a good investment.
We hope that you found our guide useful, and if you’re looking for other great advice on how to clean your fountain pen or want to know more about the different types of fountain pens and nibs available on the market, then we welcome you to have a look at some of the other guides we have at Fountain Pen Guide.