The ballpoint pen is the main instrument of any student. It has a type of ink that comes out of the tip and dries instantly, in addition to being responsive to varying levels of pressure. On the other hand, many pens suddenly stop working. When this happens, you don't have to discard the accessory right away - unless the situation really doesn't work! Try out some basic tricks like the ones listed in this article.
Method 1 of 3: Using a Heat Source
Step 1. Place the pen in a mug of hot water for five minutes
Heat some water in a kettle or pan and transfer to a mug. Put the pen inside it with the tip down. Then count for about five minutes and transfer the instrument to a sheet of paper towels.
If the pen has metal parts, dry them all well to prevent the material from corroding. You can also disassemble the instrument and just immerse the ink tube in the mug
Step 2. Warm up the pen with a hair dryer or heat blower
If you prefer not to get the pen wet, you can heat the tip and ink tube using a high-powered hair dryer or even a small heat blower for a few seconds at a time. Then test it on a sheet of paper.
Do not use an industrial heat blower! This equipment gets very hot and may even melt parts of the pen
Step 3. Hold the pen tip near a flame
Light a lighter, matchstick or candle and place the tip of the pen over the flame for a few seconds. This will help melt any hard wax that may be on this part of the instrument.
- Be careful not to burn or melt the pen. Hold only the tip of the pen over the flame for two or three seconds.
- If possible, disassemble the pen and remove the tube so as not to melt the plastic.
- Do a pen test shortly afterwards.
You can wrap the pen tip in some aluminum foil to protect the material from fire, but the process will take a little longer to take effect.
Method 2 of 3: Using Solvents
Step 1. Lubricate the pen tip with your saliva
This tactic is a little disgusting, but your saliva can be a nice lubricant or solvent in case the pen clogs up. You don't need to lick the instrument: put a little saliva on your finger or a napkin and wet the tip. Then test it on a piece of paper.
Don't worry: ballpoint pen ink is non-toxic. It even has some stronger components, like glycols, but they are present in minimal amounts
Step 2. Wet the pen tip in isopropyl alcohol
If some of the ink has dried on the pen tip, you can use isopropyl alcohol to dilute the material. Pour some of the alcohol into a cup or bowl and immerse the instrument in the liquid. Then test it with a sheet of paper.
Most ballpoint pens use oil-based ink. That's why it's so hard to get rid of the stains it leaves on clothes. In these cases, alcohol is a better solvent than water
Step 3. Use acetone if alcohol doesn't work
Acetone is a more aggressive solvent and can unclog the pen if alcohol is not enough. Dip the tip of it in a nail polish remover and see if that can resolve the situation.
- Use acetone in a well-ventilated area as it produces toxic fumes.
- Dip only the tip of the pen into the acetone. Otherwise, it can damage the plastic.
if you don't have alcohol or acetone at home, use kerosene, mineral spirits or even a degreaser.
Method 3 of 3: Using Friction and the Force of Gravity
Step 1. Rub the pen on a rubber surface
Ballpoint pens often do not release ink because the ball at the tip is stuck. In this case, rub the instrument on a rubber surface: a school rubber, the sole of a sneaker, etc.
As a last resort, you can even try writing with the pen on a glass surface, such as a pocket mirror
Step 2. Shake the pen to make the ink run down the tube
Some ballpoint pens stop working because bubbles or a gap appear between the ink in the tube and the ball. If this happens, hold the instrument by the other end and shake it hard a few times. Take the test and see if it works.
You can also try tapping the pen against a table or other harder surface
always store your ballpoint pens upright and ball down in a pencil holder or mug. This prevents the ink from running the wrong way.
Step 3. Try pushing the ink with a cotton swab
If your pen body is wider, you can stick a cotton swab into it and push the ink toward the tip. Disassemble the instrument and place the accessory into the tube slowly. Then do a test and see if the ink comes out again.
- If the pen is too thin for the swab, use a paper clip or other such object.
- If the swab becomes stained with ink, throw it away immediately - before it stains your clothes or other surface.
- Some more sophisticated ballpoint pens have ink refills. If the instrument still doesn't work, but you don't want to change it all at once, go to a stationery store and buy a refill made for your pen model.
- Some modern ballpoint pens have plastic caps on the tip, which are used to prevent leakage. Take the piece off before you start writing!
- It may happen that the methods in this article do not work for you. If the pen doesn't release ink at all, you'd better buy another one.