How To Stop Your Fountain Pen From Leaking( & What To Do On Planes)

One of the main concerns when purchasing a fountain pen is all the stories of them leaking. You even see them sometimes portrayed that way in some media. But is it really a big concern, and if it is, how exactly do you stop a fountain pen from leaking?

How do you stop a fountain pen from leaking? A fountain pen that is properly working will not leak. More often than not, accounts of fountain pens leaking come as a direct effect of there being a damaged part, or it not being properly maintained. Regular cleaning and checking will prevent fountain pens from leaking unless a part needs repair.

There are many misconceptions about the fountain pen going around. You might have heard from a friend or somewhere on the web, telling horror stories about their pen ruining their shirt when it leaked or something.

I went around gathering the most helpful information from around the fountain pen community to better help you fix your leaking pen.

I’m glad to say, the best way to fix this problem and keep the pen from ruining your favorite shirt or pants is really simple and easy… get cheaper clothes.

Just kidding.

I’ve gathered useful tips on maintaining your pens, common myths about leakage, and some related problems.

You can read on and check them out!

What To Do To Keep Your Fountain Pen From Leaking

Keep It Capped And Upright

First thing’s first. Make sure that you keep your pen properly capped when not in use.

Fountain pens use gravity and capillary action for the water-based ink to write, if somehow the cap is loose, well, I hope you’re wearing cheap clothes.

Be sure to keep it upright as well. This means that whenever you’re putting it in your pocket, keep the cap or the point of the nib pointing up.

This will keep the ink from flowing down and filling the cap, just for the ink to explode when you open it.

How To Carry Fountain Pens Around

While properly maintained fountain pens have almost no chance of leaking, there is always that chance that something unfortunate happens, whether to the parts of the pen, or you, or just something in general.

To prevent this, never place your fountain pen in your hip or back pocket. This is just asking for it. Aside from horror stories of pen leaking, you should be aware of pens getting lost because they placed it there.

The best way to carry it is to embrace your inner nerd.

Face it. You’re a fountain pen nerd now.

That means not minding when people stare at you because you’re wearing a pocket protector.

That is ideally the best way of carrying a fountain pen. While the chances of it leaking when everything is in its proper order is minimal, you still want to prepare for the chance the everything goes wrong.

So make sure you place your fountain pen, nib pointing up, in your shirt pocket, with ideally a pocket protector.

Keep Your Fountain Pen Cool

Directly relatable to the above is to keep the pen cool. Putting your pen in your back pocket or hip pocket will keep it close to your body. The heat generated from your body heat can make the ink expand and cause it to leak.

It’s not the ink specifically that expands, but the air inside the converter. Once it does expand, it can cause your ink to flow out of the pen.

The best solution is also to keep the nib up and to either fill the converter up with ink or to keep it completely empty.

For Those Using Ink Cartridges

If you opt on using ink cartridges, the best way to ensure that it doesn’t leak is to make sure that it is installed securely in place, and that it is screwed in properly into the barrel.

Make sure everything is tightly sealed and you’ll be okay.

Check Your Pen Regularly

The fountain pen does require some maintenance to keep it working optimally. Don’t let this deter you from getting one.

Personally, I find this kind of therapeutic. It lets you disconnect from everything and just empty your mind and focus on the pen.

Mind you, you don’t need to do this very often. But you do have to do it regularly.

So keep your pen clean and make sure the parts are secured and in proper condition.

If Your Fountain Pen Still Leaks

If you find that your pen is leaking even when you keep it regularly clean and follow the proper procedures when it comes to carrying it around and using it, you might have a broken part.

When this happens

  1. Try to isolate where it is coming from
  2. Leakage from the cap or tip of the pen will most likely come from the nib
  3. Leakage from the body might signal an air leak in the reservoir or the body itself

When this happens, you might want to check if there is a way to repair it.

Check out Jetpen’s page for in-depth instructions on how to fix some of a fountain pen’s problems.

If it’s the nib, you might be able to fix it or easily replace it.

If it’s the body, chances are you have to send it back to the manufacturer.

Note: Vintage pens do tend to leak more often. You might want to have the ink sac checked if that’s the case.

Here’s a good collection of good answers from quora.

Fountain Pen Leakage Myths

All Fountain Pens Leak

As mentioned above, this is just a popular misconception.

Older pens did tend to leak a lot, but with the development of new technology, this has drastically reduced the instances of fountain pen leakages.

You can even have some of these vintage pens repaired to stop them from leaking.

Fountain Pens Leak During Flights

This could actually happen, but this is not something that occurs with every pen on every flight.

This mostly has to do with the air inside the reservoir, similar to having heat make the air inside expand.

Instead, the change in pressure when the airplane takes off can cause the air inside the converter or reservoir to expand. This will directly result in the air pushing the ink inside out the nib.

The best way to avoid this is to fill the reservoir with more ink, making sure that there is no air inside it. Also, it is imperative that you keep the pen pointed nib up or cap up for the air to escape without pushing out any ink out the nib.

To make doubly sure that it won’t leak, just empty the pen out during a flight. 

But to be perfectly honest, I bring my pen on flights and have never had this happen to me. 

Of course, I would encourage you to err on the side of caution.

Here’s an in-depth video on the taking fountain pens on flights.


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