is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to Make Gel Pens Work Again

how to make gel pens work again

Whenever you’re taking down notes or making your journal, you always want to keep your surface neat and organized. However, these activities can also be quite stressful if your gel pen starts to skip and fade out. That can ruin not only the paper you’re writing on but also your mood.

Gel pens are known for their ultra-smooth ink flow. Many people like using them as they provide a very comfortable writing experience. However, since gel pens normally use water-based ink, they dry out easily, and worse, they become clogged when they’re carelessly handled.

This might not seem a big deal for some people, but for those who love to write, this problem can be irritating. What could be the reason why your gel pen skips and stops working? Can you really make a gel pen work again? In this article, you’ll know the answers to these questions and you’ll learn some ways on how to restore your gel pens.

What are The Reasons Why Gel Pens Sometimes Skip and Stop Working?

The air gets inside the ink cartridge: Once this happens, the ink will start to dry out and will immediately get clogged. After that, it will slowly stop flowing properly and continuously. As a result, the pen will start skipping and will suddenly stop working. This situation usually occurs when the gel pen is left uncapped or unretracted.

The gel pen isn’t properly stored: Gel pens are very sensitive as the ink they use is much thinner than any ink type. That is why gel pens should always be stored in an upright position, otherwise, the ink will leak. If this happens, the pen will release too much unnecessary ink, start skipping and will suddenly stop working.

These are the two most common reasons why gel pens skip and then stop from working. Thankfully, there are some easy ways on how to make your gel pens work again as nothing happened. There’s no need to buy new pens!

How can You Restore Your Gel Pens to Their Working Condition?

restore your gel pens

One common thing that people do whenever they’re experiencing pen skipping is that they continuously scribble random lines on a piece of scratch paper until the gel ink becomes stable again. Well, that won’t help your pen at all. It won’t restore the gel pen to its working state. How then, can you restore it? You can try some of the steps below.

Shake the pen to get rid of the air bubbles inside the cartridge: This step should work on gel pens with mild ink issues. The air inside the cartridge prevents the ink from continuously flowing, that is why ejecting that unnecessary air is normally an effective way to make the gel pen work again.

Try pulling out the pen nib and soak it in warm water for a few minutes: Usually, the problem why your gel pen won’t produce ink is that it is clogged. There’s a very small amount of ink solidified inside the nib. However, soaking the nib in water will help the clogged ink to liquefy again. After soaking it, put it back into the ink cartridge and try scribbling it onto the paper.

Insert a safety pin inside the pen nib to remove the clogged ink: Sometimes, soaking the nib in warm water isn’t enough. To eliminate the solidified ink inside the nib, you can slowly insert a safety pin to grind it inside and unclog it. That should help the gel pen to work again smoothly.

Put a little amount of warm or hot water inside the ink cartridge from its hole: The ink inside the nib is not always the one that dries out and solidifies. In some cases, the whole ink inside the cartridge dries out and solidifies too. To liquefy it, you can try putting in a little amount of water using a small dropper to improve the ink flow inside the cartridge.

Try blowing the gel pen’s ink cartridge from its ventilation hole: This might sound ridiculous, but it actually works! Blow the cartridge from its hole until the ink starts to reach the nib. This will push the ink to help it flow properly.

Dip the tip of your gel pen in rubbing alcohol: Alcohol is a good solvent. It can help in dissolving the hardened ink inside the nib. However, you should only consider trying this step just in case the water doesn’t work.

Quickly soak the tip in a little amount of acetone: Acetone is a much more powerful solvent than alcohol. Just remember, if the barrel of your gel pen is made out of plastic, don’t let it touch the acetone as it might create some corrosions. Quickly soaking the metal nib of your pen is enough. This step should work in major ink issues.

These steps might help your gel pens to properly work again. Just keep on trying each step and you’ll restore your gel pen to its working condition in no time.

How Do you Secure Your Gel Pens?

Using a gel pen is very convenient as it provides a unique and smooth writing experience. Therefore, they require very careful handling, otherwise, they’ll start skipping and might eventually stop working. So it is always important to take extra care with your gel pens.

Always store them in an upright position to prevent the ink cartridge from acquiring air. It also prevents your pen from leaking. Moreover, avoid them from frequently falling on the ground as this will create some air bubbles inside the cartridge, causing your pen to skip.

Furthermore, never leave your gel pen uncapped. If it’s retractable, make sure to regularly retract it. If the nib is always exposed, the air might access your cartridge, causing the ink to dry out and clog.


Restoring is always better than purchasing. Making your gel pens work again will surely help you save money. Therefore, once you’ve restored your gel pens to their working condition, always remember to store them properly to prevent them from drying out and clogging again. Hopefully, you’ll find these steps helpful and effective!

Leave a Comment