It is ridiculously easy to make your own pen cleaner. It’s also really inexpensive. In fact, it’s so inexpensive that you could make up a whole bunch and share it with your local pen friends. Leave it on their doorstep in a pen equivalent of ding-dong-dash.
In our current era of working-from-home (or in some cases, maybe not really having a full-time job at all, like me) this is something that you can do while loading and unloading the dishwasher, washing machine, fixing lunch or doing household cleaning. This is a chore you’ll actually want to do because it means you can refill your pens with new ink!
The materials needed to make pen cleaner/pen flush can be acquired on your next trip to the grocery store. Just grab a bottle of
- a bottle of household ammonia (usually 5% solution, non-sudsing)
- a bottle of plain dishwashing liquid (the kind without any lotion or moisturizers in it. In the US, I recommend Dawn or Joy)
- a bottle or distilled water (no impurities, chlorine or hard water deposits)
Using a measuring cup, measure out 9 parts water (say 9oz or 90ml, etc) then top with 1 part ammonia (1oz or 10ml). Add a couple drops of dish liquid… one, two, three, maybe four if you’re feeling generous.
Then pour all of it into a storage jar. Make another batch if this only fills your jar a little bit. You have TONS of ammonia and water and dish soap. Pour it in too.
If you have more jars, make a batch for a friend or to keep at work — whenever you go back into the office. Repeat as needed. That did not cost anywhere near the $10+ that most people charge for pen flush. Now, you can go spend that $10 on paper or ink or something else way more fun.
Label it “pen flush” or “pen cleaner” so no one tries to drink it or pour it out.
To use, either decant a small amount into a dish or ultrasonic cleaner and drop dirty pen parts in or just flush pens in the jar until the liquid is completely black and then make a fresh batch.
Be sure to rinse your pens in clear fresh water several times after using pen flush to be sure you’ve removed any residue of soap and ammonia before storing or refilling.