How to Maintain a Fountain Pen?

I love writing (rather than typing) and I love to do so using fountain pens. I have collected a number of nice ones over the years but I have never really given any thought to their maintenance. Of late, however, the writing has been less than smooth. So today, I took my pens over to a specialized pen store and let them have a look and they advised me to rinse regularly, just with cold water (especially, apparently, when you write with black ink like I do, because that will clog up (or whatever it does to reduce pen functionality) more easily. Also, they suggested that this might not help and that they might have their ‘technician’ clean the pen thoroughly - to the tune of $9 a pen.

I’m not too eager to cough up that kind of money so I’m just cleaning my pens with water now. Seeing as I never really thought about how to take care of my fountain pens, and seeing as there’s apparently a more thorough way of cleaning them, I turn to you, O Dopers, to ask:

  • what kind of fountain pen maintenance (other than occasional rinsing, I guess) do you engage in?
  • what might this ‘technician’ be doing (I’m thinking he/she might just soak the pens in some sort of alcohol solution or anything else that will just dissolve all ink-crud left behind, and if that’s it than I could possibly do that myself)

I rinse mine in warm water every second or third load of ink. And I have sent my Montblancs in for maintenance, to the tune of as much as $100 a pen, so I say take the $9 cleaning and run.

The $9 cleaning is probably using an ultrasonic device.