Are Fountain Pens Messy?

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If you are thinking of switching to a new pen, weighing both the pros and cons before purchasing is normal. And while weighing the pros and cons of a fountain pen, it’s also normal to stumble upon a common question: are fountain pens messy?

Sometimes fountain pens can be messy. But we don’t want to generalize all fountain pens to be messy because a good, properly working pen should not create a mess. Your fountain pen can usually get messy if it has faulty parts, or is used, carried, refilled, or stored improperly.

In this article, we will dive deep to find out why fountain pens are messy, how to prevent the mess, and so on.

Are Fountain Pens Messy?

Using a fountain pen creates an aesthetic writing environment. Many writers prefer it despite modern pens because it gives them a different sensation. To be honest with you, no, fountain pens were not invented to mess up your shirt on the office presentation day!

Generally, fountain pens aren’t messy. You can exclude some vintage fountain pens, though! Are you wondering if fountain pens are not meant to be messy, then why it is widely spread that fountain pens are messy?

We don’t disagree with people that fountain pens are quite messy sometimes. Fountain pens usually make a mess when it is used, carried, or stored improperly. If you grab the pen by its nib or grab it too close to the nib while writing, be prepared to get messy. This can result in getting smudges on your hands, paper, clothes, etc. 

Similarly, if the pen is carried or stored the wrong way, the ink can spill out and mess up your shirt. If you are a beginner and not so careful, refilling the pen might be a messy job for you.

Finally, if the pen has faulty parts, it can leak ink and create a mess. This is totally neither your fault nor you can blame the pen. You can contact the seller and get the pen replaced with a fresh, working one. Make sure you check the pen at the store to reduce the hassle of replacing the pen.

What Causes Fountain Pens to Be Messy?

Probably you have already got some ideas about why fountain pens can be messy sometimes. There can be different reasons behind this. We have made a list of the reasons behind this mess, let’s check them out:

1. Fountain Pens Have Runny Ink

Some fountain pens use wetter ink. This ink is generally wetter than the ink of rollerball pens or ballpoint pens. Since they use wetter ink, it can take some time for a beginner to be familiar with the flow.

You may notice some excessive flow sometimes. If the ink flows excessively, it will take longer to dry and as a result, you can end up with smudges on your hands and paper.

2. Broken or Damaged Parts

You may notice your brand-new pen is not working properly right after you open it from its box. The reason behind this could be damaged or broken parts. The same thing can happen if the pen is not assembled properly.

3. Messy Refills

If you want to purchase a fountain pen, be prepared to refill it timely. Some fountain pens require you to replace the cartridge only. Some require you to fill pistons; some require filling the ink with an eyedropper, and so on.

If you are not careful while refilling the pen, it can be very messy. If you are a beginner, we highly recommend you take a rag or a piece of cloth with you while refilling your pen so that if ink spills, you can wipe it out quickly.

4. Holding and Carrying the Pen the Wrong Way

It’s obvious that if you hold the pen the wrong way, you will get ink smudges on your hand. If you hold the pen too close to the nib while writing, you can get smudges on your hands. Fountain pens are not like regular rollerball or ballpoint pens, so never hold a fountain pen by its nib.

Also, carrying the pen incorrectly can lead to a mess. Before you put a fountain pen in your pocket, make sure you place it the right way.

Are All Fountain Pens Messy?

Fountain pens are generally a bit messier than rollerball or ballpoint pens. Nevertheless, how messy it will get depends on the writer. If a fountain pen is handled properly, the results will be quite clean. That’s why we can’t generalize all fountain pens to be messy. We say, fountain pens are messy, but the writer can reduce the mess.

Let’s Know the Techniques to Fix Fountain Pen Problems:

Can a Fountain Pen Be as Clean as a Normal Pen?

To be honest with you, all fountain pens cannot be as clean as normal pens. This is where regular pens are a clear winner. However, that doesn’t mean fountain pens cannot be clean at all!

Similar to what we said earlier, we can say that the more experienced you are with fountain pens, the more comfortable you will feel while writing, and the better you will be able to control the mess.

How Do I Prevent My Fountain Pen from Being Messy?

Here are two tricks to avoid mess while writing or drawing with a fountain pen:

  • Use an Ink Blotter

Sometimes fountain pens can leave excessive ink on the paper, which takes time to dry. Wet ink can cause a mess, that’s why use an ink blotter to remove the excess ink. The idea is to remove the moisture, so if you don’t have an ink blotter, a mild blow-drying can help.

  • Be Conscious and Avoid Wet Ink

If you have a habit of biting pens in deep thought, fountain pens might not be a good option for you because you don’t want to mess up your lips as well. So, if you want to write with a fountain pen, make sure you don’t put it in your mouth or hold the pen in one spot on the paper for too long.

Final Thoughts

There is something special about writing with a fountain pen. The feeling is different from writing with any regular pen. However, fountain pens are not suitable for everyone, it requires some practice and patience to deal with ink smudges because yes, fountain pens can be a bit messy!

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