J. Herbin Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution06/10/2012
J. Herbin is one of the premiere makers of fountain pen ink so it seems a natural to offer an ink cleaning product called simply Fountain Pen Cleaning Solution. Mon ami, Jean Elie from Paperandco, kindly sent a bottle as a gift and this review is my way of sharing my good fortune.
After a bit of trial and error, I discovered that it speeds the cleaning of nibs that do not contain dried ink and to a lesser extent reduces the time to clean a nib with dried ink. It seems to contain a surfactant as lots of tiny bubbles appeared in the clear converters used in my side to side tests. Consequently, I rinsed the nibs and converters well before filling with new ink as I prefer my ink straight up. A smidge of surfactant won’t do damage but it might alter ink performance – not ideal when testing inks.
Since JH Cleaning Solution worked better at removing moist ink than junk dried in a nib, a great use might be as a traveling companion. Whether it is to change ink colors or just to keep a nib flowing well with a refill of the same ink, a quick cleaning will be even faster with this product.
The directions are simple. I had already emptied the pens and rinsed them with cool water before I realized the two on my desk would make good test subjects. Neither the Levenger True Writer with the dried ink nor the Lamy Safari that still wrote were clean, but the worst of the ink had gone down the drain. Both continued to drip color so that made a good starting point.
After some drying with a paper towel, I loaded the nibs and feeds with JH Cleaning Solution and let them sit for the recommended five minutes. The directions say to “rinse well with cold water” which is when I saw the bubbles. So I kept rinsing until there were no more bubbles in the converters. Then I tested to see how much ink remained. The Safari that was still able to write before the cleaning, was indeed ink-free enough for a new fill. The True Writer with the dried ink was not. Back to my old regimen for that one.
This is why JH Cleaning Solution makes sense for travel. Dried out pens are unlikely on the road but refilling or changing ink colors are common tasks. The Lamy was ready to fill with a new color in less than tens minutes and that’s with five minutes of soaking in the Solution. How easy!
What I cannot declare with certainty is that JH Cleaning Solution made a difference in reducing the time it took to clean the True Writer. It is just not something I can quantify. But using the product should make using the same pen to test multiple inks faster and easier. Besides I doubt these pens have ever been so clean.