Can You Use Waterproof Ink In A Fountain Pen?

Using a good fountain pen with good ink is a pleasure. Still, there are some drawbacks of using fountain pens that many people find problematic. Fountain pens have to use specialized ink to not damage the pen or any of its components, but standard fountain pen ink is not as permanent as other ink, and it is easily damaged, removed, or spread by water or other liquids. This leads many fountain pen users to ask the question, “can you use waterproof ink in a fountain pen?”

There are waterproof inks that can be used for fountain pens, but not all waterproof inks are fountain pen safe. Nano-particle inks and inks that contain cellulose-reactive dyes are waterproof and safe for fountain pens, but the pen must be cleaned and maintained well to prevent clogs and damage.

Using a fountain pen is one of life’s great joys, but the ink is not always permanent. If you want your journals to last for the next generation to read, or if you sketch with a fountain pen and use water-based mediums over the sketches for color, you will want the ink to be waterproof. Let’s look at whether or not waterproof inks can be used in fountain pens, why waterproof inks can be dangerous for fountain pens, and how well these inks work in fountain pens.

Can You Use Waterproof Ink In Fountain Pens?

There are many inks available now that claim to be waterproof, but fountain pens typically do not fare well with waterproof inks.

Waterproof inks are usually very heavily pigmented and have very large pigment particles suspended in them that will not be washed out of paper if it comes into contact with water.

Fountain pens are very delicate and easily clogged by inks that are too saturated and inks with larger pigment particles in them.

Fountain pens need to be cleaned out regularly, and they must be cleaned with water rather than solvents to preserve the pen itself.

Waterproof ink is very heavily pigmented, it has large suspended particles in it, it can not be washed out of a pen with water, it dries quickly, and it clogs pens easily.

For these reasons, it is widely known that waterproof inks should not be used in fountain pens, right?

The truth is, there are modern waterproof inks that are, in fact, safe to use in fountain pens!

Old-school waterproof inks, such as India ink, are definitely not safe for fountain pens at all, but there have been advancements in fountain pen ink in recent years, and there are now several waterproof inks that are perfectly safe for fountain pens.

These inks are known as nano-particle inks that have suspended particles in the ink that will bond with the paper that they are used on, making it waterproof, but the particles are so small that they will not easily clog the mechanism in a fountain pen.

Another type of modern waterproof, fountain pen safe inks is cellulose-reactive inks. In this type of ink, the dye reacts to the cellulose in the paper that the ink comes into contact with and forms a permanent bond.

These links are safe for fountain pens because they have no suspended pigment particles, and they are so waterproof that they have been known to be used on paper that is then entirely submerged in water for minutes, and the ink remains unaffected.

However, the waterproof qualities of cellulose-reactive inks are only effective on certain types of paper.

Does Waterproof Ink Damage Fountain Pens?

Waterproof ink traditionally is dangerous for fountain pens, but modern waterproof inks are safe.

Traditional waterproof inks are intended for use with dip pens and with brushes, not for fountain pens.

Fountain pens have an internal mechanism that requires the ink to drip from the cartridge or converter, through the former and into the nib of the pen for transferring to paper.

This mechanism is easily clogged, and the nib of a fountain pen is not usually detachable, especially if the pen uses a converter, and so if the nib becomes blocked or if the ink dries on it, it can be a serious problem.

Waterproof inks such as India inks should never be used in a fountain pen, as they will clog the pen very quickly, and they can not be cleaned out of the pen without damaging or ruining the pen. These waterproof inks will render a fountain pen useless in a matter of days.

However, modern, fountain pen safe waterproof inks are good to use in fountain pens without damaging them.

When using fountain pen safe waterproof inks, the pen must be maintained correctly.

Standard fountain pen inks that are water-soluble can be safely left in a fountain pen for extended periods. Even if the ink does dry in the pen, it can be easily flushed out, and the pen can be cleaned properly.

Waterproof inks can not be washed out of a fountain pen if they dry inside the pen. For this reason, it is vital to perform proper maintenance on a fountain pen that is being used with waterproof ink.

Be sure to clean the fountain pen, and flush out any leftover ink from every component of the pen after it has been used with waterproof ink, and this will prevent any damage from being caused by the ink.

How Well Does Waterproof Ink Work In Fountain Pens?

Waterproof ink works well in a fountain pen if it is designed to be used in a fountain pen.

Most waterproof inks are not meant for use in a fountain pen and so do not flow well through the mechanism in the pen, leaving blotchy and inconsistent lines.

This is usually due to the fact that most waterproof inks have large pigment particles in them that clog the fountain pen’s mechanism, preventing a good flow of ink into the nib.

Fountain pen safe waterproof inks do not have these large pigment particles, and some do not have suspended particles at all. This means that they will flow correctly through the pen’s mechanism and leave smooth, deliberate, full lines as you lay them down.

Modern waterproof inks that are designed for fountain pens work very well in fountain pens, and there are even many colors to choose from, so they can be used in the same way and for the same applications that you would use any regular inks.

Are All Waterproof Inks The Same For Use In Fountain Pens?

Not all waterproof inks are the same, which is also true for modern fountain pen waterproof ink.

Some inks are darker than others, some inks respond differently on certain types of paper, and some inks are not as waterproof as they claim to be.

It is best to get your hands on fountain pen safe waterproof ink from a few different manufacturers and try them out for yourself in your pen of choice and on your favorite paper.

Use each ink for a while, and determine which one is best suited for your needs and your writing/drawing style.

There are many different waterproof inks that can be used in fountain pens, but they are not all the same, and they are not all equal for all people. So try as many as you can before you make up your mind about waterproof inks.


You can use waterproof ink in a fountain pen, but in order for it to not damage the pen, it must be a fountain pen safe waterproof ink.

Modern fountain pen safe waterproof ink is safe for fountain pens; it comes in many different colors, is very useable, reliable, and just as versatile as regular fountain pen ink.

The only catch is that you must clean out the pen well after using waterproof ink before the ink dries in the pen. The ink is waterproof, and this makes it very difficult to clean out of a fountain pen.

There are many different waterproof inks that are safe for use in fountain pens, so buy a few different types and experiment with different brands and colors to be sure that you are using the right ink for you!

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