Spring Cleaning: Simple care extends the life of your Copic Markers

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

It's that time of year again

Forget about the crocus buds or the robins singing! The surest sign of spring is when all the house cleaning tips start blooming on the internet.

Yep. Everybody loves a good spring cleaning.

This year, don't forget about your Copics!

Spring cleaning for Copics?

I know what you're thinking...

Okay, I've seen lots of tutorials about how to clean Copic Markers, but that's for people who color all the time, right? A lot of tutorials talk about cleaning your marker after you refill it and I've NEVER had to refill! 
I guess when I finally refill something, I'll worry about cleaning my marker then.

And you're absolutely right, folks like me who use Copics on a daily basis- instructors, bloggers, and super serious colorers- we do have to refill our markers more than average colorers.

But cleaning is a different matter entirely.

Everyone from high volume colorers to once-in-a-whilers, we ALL need to clean our markers on a regular basis.

Do you make Copic Jelly?

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com


Copic jelly?


Yep. I have jelly problems and you have jelly problems too.

Every time you uncap and recap a Copic, your marker nib rubs along the inside of the cap. It leaves a streak of marker ink.

Then that streak quietly lurks inside your cap, slowly evaporating. After the solvent is gone, the streak becomes a smear of Copic Jelly- a super sticky residue.

I know, when you think of "evaporation", you think of water, right? Water just disappears into the air and leaves no trace behind.

But Copic ink is not water; Copic ink is a dye mixed with an alcohol solvent. Sure, the alcohol part evaporates cleanly without a trace, but the dye sticks around as residue. That old dye sits there on the inside of your marker cap, waiting to make trouble.

What kind of trouble?

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Once you get a thick build up of ooey gooey dye residue collected inside the cap, the jelly makes it hard for your marker caps to seal properly.

You heard the cap click, so you assume they're sealed... but no, the jelly breaks the seal.

Yep. Jelly is nasty stuff.

Without a tight seal, your marker nib will slowly dry out as the solvent in the nib begins to evaporate.

Jelly in the cap creates more jelly on the nib. Eventually, the jelly can work it's way into the spongey core inside your marker!

And once that jelly makes it to the core, your marker is shot. Jelly doesn't just kill marker nibs, it kills whole markers!

It's like The Blob in that 1950's horror movie, the jelly just keeps creeping along, destroying everything in it's wake.

It's not just unsightly, jelly buildup damages your markers!

Every once in a while...

I'll pull out a marker that hasn't been used in some time. When I begin to color with it, the nib leaves a little dark streak along with the pretty marker ink.

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Have you had that happen too? It's pretty common. That's a bit of jelly that rubbed off onto the nib and now you've transferred that pesky jelly to your project.

Dark streaks are not pretty.

Actually, there's a little ray of sunshine there because the streak is a warning call.

Your marker is crying for help.

You can catch and clean that marker and the nib before the jelly problem spreads any further.

If you get enough jelly on a nib, it's toast. No one wants a marker that leaves dark streaks, but as I said before, jelly grows. It's eventually going to turn your brush nib hard and crusty.

So yes, because I use my markers every day, it's logical that I dirty my caps a lot faster and I create jelly quicker than you do.

But I'm also more likely to spot the jelly problem early. I can easliy resolve the problem before it ruins the nib.

If some of your markers sit for months without use...  you're completely missing the early warning system!

Keeping your caps clean is even MORE important for the weekend hobbyist than it is for the every-day colorers!

Cleaning is easy!

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

And it's easier to do them all at once (in spring cleaning style) than cleaning them one at a time.

Pop in a good movie and sit down with your markers and a few basic supplies.

I have a small 4 ounce jelly jar (warning: Amazon affiliate link there) that I fill with 90% rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy aisle of my grocery store. The 70% alcohol works too but the 90% works faster.

Into that jar, I cut small 1 inch squares of clean paper towel.

This jar of teeny tiny wipes and a pair of tweezers are all you need to clean your entire marker collection!

Now keep in mind, rubbing alcohol is a different kind of alcohol than the alcohol in your Copics. These alcohols are not interchangeable or compatible! 

Rubbing alcohol also has some water in the mix (90% alcohol, 10% water), so I'm super careful when wiping off the plastic right below the marker nib. Rubbing alcohol is not good for your nibs!

But aside from that one caveat, rubbing alcohol makes an excellent cleaner. It instantly dissolves Copic jelly on contact, and it's soooo much cheaper than cleaning with Copic Colorless Blender!

So first, I wipe the marker off with my little tiny square of alcohol-soaked paper towel, then I plunge the same square into the marker cap and ream it around with the tweezers to clean the inner cap area.

Spring Cleaning: Basic care extends the life of your Copic Markers | VanillaArts.com

Tap the excess alcohol out of the cap, recap the marker, and move on to cleaning the next marker with a clean square.

It's an easy-peasy process and you can clean even the biggest marker collection before the movie is over!

spring clean your Copics!

Clean caps aren't just for neat freaks or heavy duty marker users. Clean caps extend the life of your marker nibs and prevents accidental ink evaporation.

Try a little spring cleaning today and give your Copic babies a bath. Your markers will thank you!