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How to Clean Pen Nibs

how to clean pen nibs

Pen nibs require good maintenance for smooth and crisp lines. If you are new to calligraphy, you might have difficulties cleaning all the writing tools, including the calligraphy nibs.

Fret not, as this blog post is what you are looking for! I have some tips on how to clean your pen nibs. This will help keep them functioning smoothly and looking like new.

How to Clean Calligraphy Nibs?

It is essential to clean your calligraphy nibs after each use to prevent the build-up of ink and dried paint. Here is how you can do it:

Step 1: Rinse the nin under warm running water.

  • Put the pen nib of your calligraphy tool under tap water running
  • Let it sit for a few minutes so all of the ink on it can dissolve into the water
  • Then, pat down your paintbrush with a paper towel to get rid of excess water (do not try to dry it off completely; just let some moisture remain)
  • Next, clean up any drippings around where you set up your workstation and discard dirty rags/paper towels in a trash bag or designated area

Step 2: Use sandpaper or steel wool pad to clean the nibs.

This step will pull out stubborn dried bits that gunk up the pen nibs over time.

Firmly hold your calligraphy tool at an angle and start rubbing the abrasive pad against the pen nib until it becomes clean again.

Be careful not to go too hard on it, or you might damage the metal surface.

Step 3: Rinse the nibs again

Finally, rinse off everything with running water one more time and let all of your materials dry before putting them away. With a little bit of elbow grease, your calligraphy tools will be good as new in no time.

How to Clean Fountain Pen Nib?

how to clean calligraphy nibs

The rule of thumb says you should clean your fountain pen nib once every two weeks. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Clean the Nibs with Water and Soap

  • Mix some water with mild soap in a cup to create your cleaning solution
  • Hold the pen in one hand and use a soft cloth with soapy water to wipe off any dried ink from the nib’s surface.

Step 2: Soap the NIb and Scrub off the Dirt

  • You can soak the entire nib section in a cup filled with warm water for about 15 minutes
  • Bring it out, then gently scrub away stubborn stains using an old toothbrush.


  • Be very careful not to scratch the gold plating because that will mess up its appearance (and hurt how well it writes).
  • Do NOT put them under running tap water as this can cause damage, especially if there are cracks due to corrosion.

Step 3: Test the Nib

Once everything is clean and dry, reassemble the pen and give it a test write. You may need to adjust the ink flow depending on how much gunk was removed.

How to Clean Dip Pen Nibs?

In truth, dip pens require cleaning every time after use. You can simply get rid of the ink by putting the nib under running water. If you want to thoroughly clean it, here are the right steps to follow:

Step 1: Put the Nib on a Paper Towel

  • You can use a soft piece of cloth to gently take ink off the pen.
  • Then, place the piece onto a paper towel or cloth.

Step 2: Clean the Nib with Soapy Water

  • Mix water and soap to clean the nib. You can use dish soap or hand soap for this, but no harsh detergents since they may be hard on metal parts of the pens.
  • Soak them for about fifteen minutes to allow any loosened grime to dissolve into them.

Step 3: Dry the Nib.

Use a towel or other absorbent cloth to take moisture without ruining it. If you’re using paper towels, make sure they are not too abrasive and that any ink is thoroughly removed before setting them aside for later use (such as lining your pen storage box).


Dip pens can be finicky things until we get used to how much pressure we need to apply when writing. But, if you keep your tools clean and ready to go at all times, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy the same level of success!

How to Clean Paint Marker Nibs?

Like cleaning all pen nibs above, all you need is warm water, a toothbrush, and a paper towel!

  • Soak the pen nib in a cup of warm water for about 15 minutes
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub away any dried paint or debris from the pen nib
  • Dip a paper towel in warm water and use it to wipe away any remaining paint or debris from the pen nib
  • Reinsert the nib back into the pen barrel and tighten it up


Cleaning a pen nib is an often-overlooked but necessary task. The ink will dry and accumulate on your pen nibs as you write. If not cleaned regularly, this build-up of ink can cause damage to the pens’ metal surface.

Fortunately for you, there are plenty of ways to clean your pens without having to buy new ones! All it takes is some time and patience.

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