Fountain Pen 101: Fast Pen Flushing

Over two years ago, I did this handy video on flushing your cartridge/converter fountain pen with a bulb syringe, which is easily the single best trick to improve your fountain pen cleaning experience. I wanted to update the video to include it in the Fountain Pen 101 series, as well as include a bonus trick for flushing pens like the Pilot Falcon and Sheaffer 100 that don’t flush well with a bulb syringe.

In the video, I cover:

  • Flushing a pen with a bulb syringe (0:34)
  • Adapting an ink syringe with an ink cartridge (4:45)
Materials I use in the video:

This is a handy trick that’s much easier than flushing out a pen with a converter, enjoy! I’d love to hear what you think in the comments 🙂

See the other Fountain Pen 101 videos here.

Write On,
Brian Goulet
2017-11-03T18:26:33+00:00 August 10th, 2012|Fountain Pen 101, Tips & Tricks|19 Comments
  • Andrew

    Would it be worthwhile to draw ink into the sawed off cartridge and then cap it?
    Benefits include
    – More ink capacity over the converter
    – Doesn't wear out the business end of the cartridge from taking it off the converter to refill it
    – Don't have to carry needles around with you to refill your fountain pen cartridge

  • shawndo

    Great info, thanks. Any ideas on how to do something similar for piston filler type sections? (i.e. Lamy 2000)

  • sygyzy

    Surprisingly, I went to three stores (Walgreens, Rite Aid, K-Mart) and none of them carried the bulb syringe 🙁

    • Did you look in the baby section? That's where I've found them; I think they're used to flush out babies' ears with.

  • GooseDeluxe

    Cool and helpful video! I might try this method with my Preras, which use the same cartridge as the Falcon. Currently, when I want to flush my Preras I pull out the nib and feed and rinse them directly under the faucet. It's fast but I'm worried that over time the feed won't stay put as well as it ought to. I've noticed it's definitely gotten easier to pull the feeds out. In your opinion do you think it would be better to avoid pulling the feed out?

  • GooseDeluxe

    Try looking for it in the aisle with baby stuff. I think they are sold primarily for parents to get snot/mucus/boogers out of their babies' noses.

  • Andrew

    taking it off the section* to refill it

  • David

    Hi Brian,

    Regarding the empty Pilot cartridge you show in the video – You can remove the little blue disc from the end of the cartridge that's left over after piercing the cartridge by squeezing the larger end of the cartridge between your fingers until the opening is oblong in shape – thereby allowing the disc to fall out. Also, some Pilot cartridges have small plastic or metal balls in them, which will fall out once the disc is removed.

    Also, AFAIK only the Pilot cartridges for the Parallel Pen have metal balls, the rest have plastic balls; but I have seen Pilot cartridges with no balls at all (yeah; I better put a stop to this now…)

    Rgds, David in Jakarta

  • Cap the cartridge? Well, once you chop off the end of the cartridge it's not able to be used as an ink container anymore, unless you want it to leak all over the place. You can certainly refill ink cartridges, but that's a different use for a cartridge than what I'm showing here. I do have a video on that though:

  • Andrew

    I was thinking that maybe a custom plug or seal (made of cheap wax) would fit snug enough to prevent leaks. Or is that impractical?

  • Unfortunately not, piston pens are kind of a different situation. Most of them don't disassemble easily like the cartridge converter pens do. Some pens like the TWSBI's and Noodler's pens do come apart, but they're more involved than just unscrewing at the grip section like the pens I use here.

  • Crazy! Yes, check in the baby section or in the ear care section. I'm going to try to source some out so I can carry them at, it's crazy that I'm not already carrying them 😛

  • Yes, I didn't talk about this at all in the video. You're right about the metal balls in the mixable Parallel ink cartridges, they're only in those ones as far as I know.

  • Mary

    I have an upgrade for your bulb technique. Place your thumb on the large dot on the bulb, and cradle the pointy end between your index and middle finger. It will feel more natural and you'll draw up larger volumes.

  • That is the proper use for it, but for some reason I always revert to the way I do it in the video…I think because it's easier to see how the water's cleaning through that way or something, I don't really know why I do it that way!

  • Joe

    I've just been flushing the whole grip section directly under the faucet — have you found this to be less effective (or damaging to the pen) compared to the bulb syringe?

  • Joe

    I’ve just been flushing the whole grip section directly under the faucet — have you found this to be less effective (or damaging to the pen) compared to the bulb syringe?

  • Kimberly Lee

    Is there any reason you can’t flush the pens under “reverse osmosis” running water into a sink? Thanks..

  • Kimberly Lee

    Is there any reason you can't flush the pens under "reverse osmosis" running water into a sink? Thanks..