How to Revive a Ballpoint Pen | Easy Methods

Ballpoint pens have always served me amazingly in writing books, documents, papers, academics, etc. Right from my school days, I had a special thing about branded ballpoint pens. 

This led me to collect a lot of them right from those days. Just a few months back, I decided to use the parker pen which my teacher gifted me in those days. But I found the pen completely inactive as it had been staying confined.

As the pen bears so many emotions, I decided to relive the pen, which led me to work upon how to revive a ballpoint pen

Going through continuously, I found a lot of solutions. Finally, I treated my pen with rubbing alcohol soaking and got the ink coming out from it. 

Later on, I worked on the technique and many more others on my other dead pens. This made all of them come back to life. 

I cannot but write the proper ways of bringing any ballpoint back to life in the most convenient manner. Here go the writings with pertinent details and information.

Why Does Pen Not Write When It Has Ink?

How to Revive a Ballpoint Pen

It is not apparent that your pen will always go on to serve you even if you don’t take care of it. Like if you keep it isolated for a long time, it will pay you back silently by being entirely inactive. Thus, you can consider it to be a dead one.

Now arises the question, what makes my pen dead? When you keep your pen new, various issues arise in it and make it inactive. To go straight, your negligence makes it.

Even though the pen has ink inside it, it won’t come out of the lid. You need to consider putting some effort into making the inks alive. But first, let’s see what might bring you to the situation.

Air Bubble in the Cartridge

Air bubble in the cartridge of your pen makes a gap between the ink and the layer of your nib. As a result, the ink doesn’t maintain the flow it should’ve by default.

The layer separates it from passing through the nib and tip of the pen. As a result, the ink remains inactive even after remaining fully capable of being useful. 

Clogged Tip

Some pen inks clog easily. As they become clogged, you cannot avail them for coming out of the tip of the pen. Or even after a while, the ink tends to dry up and creates clogging inside the nib.

Tip Staying Up

When the tip of your pen remains up for a long time, the ink intends to go backward. This means the ink stays away from passing through the tip of the pen. 

As time passes, the ink remains confined to that place. As a result, it becomes tough to get them out of the pen later on. Thus, your pen becomes inactive.

Things You’ll Need

Fixing a dried-out pen with a few things that you can get around your home such as.

  • A glass of water/ A water dropper
  • Magnifying glass
  • Warm water/ Kettle
  • Scratch paper
  • Craft heat gun/ blow dryer
  • Solvents

Important ✓

When you keep your ballpoint pen inactive for a good period of time, the ink inside the pen tends to dry up. Residues of the tip forms clogging inside and blocks all the passage. 

To bring those dead ink alive, you can imply many methods. One of the most common method goes on by producing heat to the ink chamber. Also, different types of solvent can enact to bring those ink back to life.

Apart from them, shaking and dragging the lid makes the pen active again. It has been the most common therapy used for the purpose. 

Whatever you do, keep in mind you don’t destroy the lid and chamber of the pen. Any kind of leakage or burning will make the pen inactive forever. So, better watch it out!

Ways to Revive a Ballpoint Pen

After knowing why your pen doesn’t write, you must feel anxious about solving the situation even if it has ink inside. You’ll never want to be with a dead pen all the time. 

Also, you wouldn’t want any of your pens to no more active. So, let’s jump to the most feasible manner in resolving your dead pen and making it function like usual.

Here are some techniques that’ll help you in doing so. Give a read to it and try the one you feel the most comfortable with. The list is as follows:

Try Using Some Heat

When you are to apply heat to your pen, you can do it in your desired manner. It can be by using water, blower, or lighter. The main goal is to heat your pen to make it reviving and controlling.

Using Some Water

Using the water is the safest method to imply. Because you are remaining completely risk-free and hassle-free with it, not only that, you get to have the most specific and most hassle-free conditions here. 

Let me clear one thing, by water; it has to be hot water. Because our goal is to heat the pen, not to clean or make it beautiful, that’s just another thing. 

Getting back to the point, you need to take a bowl of hot water. You can take it in a mug as well. Then, just put the pen inside the water facing the lid towards the bottom of the water. 

The hotness of the water will go inside the pen, enabling the sticky inks to get revived and work accordingly. Keep a timer for around 5 minutes. After that, take the pen out of the pot or mug and clean the outer part.

Test the accuracy of the method by giving writing with a slight shake. Remember, the hotter the water, the more chances of being the method accurate. So, don’t compromise with the warmth of the water.

Using a Blower

A blower can be very helpful for reviving your dead ballpoint pen. It is the hot air generated from the blower that will assist you in your task.

But the method is time-consuming, and you need to hold the blower for a long time. This means you’ll be needing to give more effort than usual. 

Just apply the warm air to the nib of the pen. This will surpass the air inside along with hot nature. When it makes the whole pen warm enough, the dead ink and nature of the pen start to regain their everyday life. 

Thus, you get your pen back in its old state. How to know? Insert ink instantly to test it. In case of any failure, repeat the process again and again until you get it done. As it is a proven technique, you are bound to achieve the result.

Using a Lighter

How to Revive Gel Pens

Comes with the most lethal technique. Like fighting with fire has been a common term, your pen would be fighting with fire here. But for its revival, not dissemination. 

The fire would be coming from your lighter, which means you’ll be using the flame to revive your pen. This is the most direct technique in heating your pen than the other two methods. 

All you have to do is to head the nib of the pen with a lighter. Keep above the flame coming from the lighter for about 10-20 seconds. Give breaks and resume again in heating your pen. 

After 4-5 alternations, you’ll be done with the operation and successfully revive your pen. If there is any clogging inside your pen with dry inks, it’ll go away in no time.

Take Help of Solvents

Solvent or liquid helps in reviving the flow of ink in your pen. Not only that, it makes a permanent, persistent flow. Only some specified liquid can sum the job up. Let’s see how you can get to do it.

Using Spit

It might sound funny, but it is what it is. You can be a suitable means of reviving the dead pen. It allows the jammed ink to flow through the nibs and maintain its streak. 

You won’t have to perform anything irony in doing so. Just take your spit on your fingertip or napkin and dip the pencil nip in it. Wait for a few seconds and scrub it off on the paper to see the result.

Dip in Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a great medium to clean and remove dirt and stains. But this time, we won’t be cleaning the pen but cleaning the mess and clog inside with it. Don’t worry! you don’t have to insert it inside and do the operation. 

Pour some rubbing alcohol into a mug or bowl. Dip the nib of the pen in it. Wait for a few minutes and rub the nib on a paper. You’ll see the dead ink coming out of the nibs accordingly. 

Not only are you able to revive your pen, but also you can reuse the dead inks inside again. Even any clogging inside will fade away, making your pen function like a brand new one.

Writing on Rubber Surfaces (Frictional Method)

Writing on Rubber Surfaces
Source: WikiHow

Friction intends to produce heat from a substance. And using that heat, you’ll be able to generate the usual flow of ink from your pen. And that makes your pen go alive and work usually. 

Now, you have to create friction in your pen. For that, you’ll need to rub the lid of the pen on a rubber surface. Why a rubber surface? Because it gives you the best possible chances of creating the friction you need for your purpose. 

Not only that, the heat generated through rubbing the pen on rubber makes it easier to go inside the device. The ink lid, associated inks, and clogged inks start to depart due to the friction and moving of the pen. 

For a common rubber medium, you can choose the sole of your shoe. Rubbing the lid on it will serve you the purpose. You can also rub the lid on a pen eraser. Don’t do it on a pencil eraser because the surface of a pen eraser is more robust than that of a pencil.

Push the Ink

The ink of your pen sometimes needs a slight external push. It accelerates the tendency to function usually. Moreover, it pulls it more towards the nib and makes it feasible to work with it. 

For completing the purpose, you need to use a cotton swab here. Insert the cotton swab through the nib of the pen. Make sure the swab passes quickly. Thus, you need to consider the size of the nib and the swab. 

As an alternative to the cotton swab, you can use any thin stick or pin to serve the purpose. Make sure you are using the suitable sized material to do so. 

If the swab or pin gets stuck inside the nib, toss the nib instantly and get the thing out from it. Do it before the ink inside the nib spreads and creates a massacre.

Shake the Pen Vigorously

This is the most common method to implement if you don’t see your pen not producing any ink from it. Because shaking the pen causes tension to the inks inside. And after that, they might get isolated from the surface and start to function as usual. 

shake the pen

This technique can be implemented when your pen is not in use for a short time. For a long time, drying the pen won’t serve your purpose. 

This is the most adapted technique with a few successes. Even you, me, and all of us have adopted this once in a while. This mostly happens when you are in a rush and see no ink coming from the pen. A slight shake might serve you well. 

But when the ink has resolved and dried up for a long time, the shaking won’t work usually. For that, you have to implement the other methods.


Q: How do you get a gel pen to write again?

The most feasible way of getting a gel pen to write again is by pushing the pen’s ink towards the tip. How? You can complete the operation in some simple steps. 

Step 1: Take a cotton swab or pin according to the diameter of the pen nib. \

Step 2: Take your nib upside down. It will allow the gel to go downwards.

Step 3: Insert the swab or pin inside the nib accordingly. Make sure the thing is equivalent to the diameter of the nib. 

Step 4: Make a slight little push to the gel and get the swab out before the gel spreads on it. 

Step 5: Insert the nib inside the pen and close the nose.

Step 6: Apply little heat to the nose of the pen. 

Thus, you have successfully revived your gel pen.

Read Also: How to Revive Gel Pens That Doesn’t Work

Q: How do you fix a pen that won’t write?

A pen that won’t write needs some slight solutions to implement. Because the inside mechanisms remain active but require a push to execute them well. 

For that, you can try:

Writing on your paper continuously: Try rubbing the pen’s lid on the paper for a while. As the lid becomes warmer, it executes the ink from the pen. 

Writing on rubber: The rubber surface is hard, allowing you to create friction on the pen. As a result, you can successfully provide the heat push inside the pen to maintain a good ink flow. 

Shaking: At times, shaking your pen might be a practical action. It allows the ink to displace, and thus you get to maintain the flow of the ink.

Q: Is it OK for ink to freeze?

Yes, ink is a liquid just like water and under a certain temperature it will freeze. Usually, ink will freeze below 32° F. But it varies depending on its composition. Due to the presence of certain chemicals, ink may have a lower or higher freezing point.

Q: How to clean a parker ballpoint pen?

The easiest way of cleaning a parker ballpoint pen would be to use rubbing alcohol. It is a great medium that would make your pen come fully alive. 

Just take some rubbing alcohol in a mug or bowl and dip the pen inside it. Allow it to sink there for 5-7 minutes. After that, try testing the pen on paper. Mostly, you’ll get your job done there. 

If it doesn’t serve you well, heat the lid for a few seconds. Then you’ll be able to get the correct results of it.

Q: How do you bring a ballpoint pen back to life?

You need to heat the ballpen to bring it back to life. For that, you can use any medium as a source of the application. It can be water, air, or fire itself. 

In using the water, take a bowl of warm water, to be precise. Insert the ballpoint pen in it towards the lid and wait for 5 minutes. You’ll find the pen lid being hot, the nib getting a slight touch of the hotness, and your pen coming back to life. 

Another way can be using your hairdryer or any dryer that produces hot air. Blow it inside the lid of the pan and heat it for a while. 

The most effective result can be applying heat through a lighter or relevant mode of fire. Heat the lid for a while and make sure you get your nib fully prepared and the ink is getting feasible. 

Thus, you are getting your ballpoint pen to revive in any way or other.

Final Words

No more pondering upon how to revive a ballpoint pen. Instead, it’s time to make the perfect use of your pen, no matter how long it remains inactive.

Keeping your parker or pilot pen confined doesn’t seem well, though. So, get ready to use them in the best manner and get their due service for yourself. 

Till then, stay tuned with us and get more information regarding the ballpoint pen.

Information Source:

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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