How To Solve Fountain Pen Leaking Problem

Many people use fountain pens as they can last a lifetime with care and regular maintenance. In this article, I will explain the causes of fountain pen leaking issues and how to fix them. In addition, I will also explain how to maintain and handle them properly.

Fountain Pen Ink Leak

The first thing to check when an ink leak occurs is to figure out where the ink is leaking.

The very first part to check is the ink container. Fill up the ink container with ink and see if there is any leakage.

If nothing is wrong with the ink container, there may be a problem connecting the nib and the pen body. Then, check to see if it is tightly connected or if it is loose. In many cases, this looseness is the cause of ink leakage.

Why Is My Fountain Pen Leaking?

fountain pen and manuscript paper on a wooden table

There are many causes of fountain pen ink leaks. By knowing the cause, you may be able to perform the maintenance yourself.

If you have to ask for a repair, it may take time to find the cause of the problem, and the repair may be delayed. Here are some of the most common causes of ink leaks to shorten the repair time.

The main causes of ink leaks in fountain pens are either damaged parts or environmental problems. If the problem is simply coming from environmental reasons, it is easy to fix. But if a damaged part causes the problem, it is almost impossible to repair it by yourself. So you should immediately send it to a professional for repair.

Structural problems

Crack in the body

Please have a look at the barrel, which holds the pen. It depends on the internal structure of the pen. But if a crack is in the barrel, there is a possibility that ink is leaking from there.

Damaged ink cartridge/converter

The ink cartridge or converter containing the ink may be damaged. Check them that are attached inside.

Loose nibs and sections

Loose nibs and sections may be causing ink leakage. Remove the nib and section, and retighten them securely.

Air leakage

Air leakage is one of the most common causes of excessive ink production or ink leakage. It occurs when the ink cartridge or converter is not tightened against the nib.

In that case, please disassemble the fountain pen, and tighten it again correctly.

Environmental problems

Fountain pens are extremely delicate. Therefore, temperature differences and even changes in air pressure can affect them.

The main environmental causes of ink leaks are as follows.


If you sit with your fountain pen in your pocket or the inside pocket of your jacket, the fountain pen will warm up, and the nib may leak ink. As the inside of the fountain pen warms up, the air in the ink cartridge expands. It causes ink leakage.

Changes in air pressure

Be careful when taking your fountain pen on air travel. The atmosphere and air pressure change drastically when you are on an airplane. These changes can cause the ink to leak from the nib.

To prevent this, you need to empty the ink container of your fountain pen or fill it to the brim before boarding the plane.

Keeping the pen filled with ink means that the amount of air inside the fountain pen is inevitably reduced. Therefore, it will significantly lower the risk of ink leakage.

Unclosed cap

No matter how good a fountain pen is if the cap is not properly closed and left unused, the ink that oozes from the nib will dry up completely.

Most inks used in fountain pens have a tendency to dry out quickly. And when the dry ink mixes with the air in the cap, it turns back into liquid again. In other words, when the cap is put on the fountain pen, the dry ink becomes liquid, and ink leaks.

This tends to happen to people who just started using fountain pens and can easily be mistaken for an ink leak. Fortunately, this is not an ink leak that needs professionals repair, so don’t worry.

How To Avoid Fountain Pen Leak

fountain pens next to a fountain pen ink bottle

The best preventive action for fountain penk Ink leak is regular cleaning. The structure of a fountain pen is complex, and ink is delivered to the nib by the capillary action.

If you use your fountain pen a lot, dust, fibers, dried ink, etc., will accumulate in the nib. And if you leave them, it will not only damage the original function of the fountain pen but also cause ink leakage.

To prevent this from happening, regular maintenance is necessary.

How To Clean A Fountain Pen

1. Disassemble

The first step is to remove the cap and remove the nib section from the body. It should be easy to do, as you only need to loosen the fountain pen. If the fountain pen uses a cartridge or converter, remove it from the nib as well.

Tape off the entrance to the cartridge or converter so that you can use the ink again after cleaning. It will prevent the ink from running dry during cleaning and allow you to use it again later.

2. Rince in water

Wash the pen by placing the nib under running water for a few seconds. It will allow you to remove ink and dirt easily.

When washing fountain pens, use cold water or water at about room temperature. Hot water may damage the fountain pen.

3. Soak in water

Dip the nib in a glass of water and repeat until the water remains clean after about an hour of soaking.

Tap water will be fine for this, but distilled water is definitely safe to use.

4. Dry up

Take the pen out of the glass and dry it naturally. We recommend placing a soft cloth or paper towel in the cup and letting it stand with the nib down.

The approximate drying time is about 12~24 hours. So you need to wait patiently until it is completely dry.

5. Reassemble

When the nib gets thoroughly dried, simply reassemble the fountain pen. When you do this, make sure the nib and body are firmly connected.

Basically, these five steps can remove the dirt that causes ink leaks.

If the ink leaks despite regular cleaning, think about the possibility of a damaged part.

How frequent do we need to clean?

A good rule of thumb is to clean your fountain pen once every 4~8 weeks. It would be best if you also cleaned it every time you changed the ink.

Ask for repair if it is out of control

If your fountain pen is leaking ink due to damaged or worn-out parts, it is best to have it repaired by a professional.

Even fountain pens that are durable for many years can be damaged at times. If you cannot determine the cause of the damage yourself, or if it is caused by a broken part, ask for immediate repair.

When sending a fountain pen for repair by mail or courier, wrap it tightly so that vibrations will not damage the pen during delivery.

Can Pen Nib Be An Indicator Of Ink Leaks?

dirty fountain pen nib

Is dirty pen nib a sign of ink leak?

Ink on the nib of a fountain pen is a common and normal phenomenon. And it is inevitable due to the principle of fountain pens that ink will come out even if the nib is wiped with a tissue.

However, if your hand gets dirty while writing with a fountain pen, it is a clear sign of ink leakage.

Occasionally, the way you hold the fountain pen may cause your hand to get dirty, but you may want to suspect an ink leak. In that case, you need to clean the inside of the cap with a soft paper or cotton swab.

Is it difficult to determine ink leak just by the nib?

Each fountain pen manufacturer and each model has different characteristics and internal structures.

In many cases, a fountain pen with good ink flow will always have a dirty nib. But it is not a symptom of ink leakage. On the other hand, if the nib is not dirty at all, it is better to suspect a poor ink flow. In other words, it is difficult to judge whether a dirty nib is a sign of ink leakage.

This is a bit of a tangent, but many people feel that ink stains on the nib are a unique feature of fountain pens.

How To Remove Fountain Pen Ink

If fountain pen ink gets on your clothes, don’t rush to scrub it off. Instead, please use baking soda and dishwashing liquid to clean it off. For further detail, you can check “How To Remove Pen Ink From Clothes”.


Even the best fountain pens can break down. There is no way to prevent the parts from breaking, but the failure caused by dirt can be prevented by daily maintenance.

Clean your fountain pen regularly, as it will be your lifelong companion. Every time you clean your fountain pen, you will surely feel more attached to it. Have an enjoyable fountain pen life!


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