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What Does Pen Ink Taste Like? (Curiosity Sated)

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

What Does Pen Ink Taste Like

Have you ever wondered what writing ink tastes like? Maybe you have accidentally licked your pen or bitten your pen cap and got a hint of the flavor. Whatever the reason, some have even tried to taste different types of ink.

So, what does pen ink taste like? Pen ink can taste slightly bitter, metallic, sour, or salty, depending on the type and brand of ink. However, the consensus is that its flavor is quite unpleasant.

In this article, we will explore the taste of ink in detail and learn more about the ingredients and health risks of it. Let’s get started!

The Taste of Pen Ink


If you’re wondering what pen ink tastes like, there’s no definitive answer, as different pens use different formulas for ink, resulting in various flavors.

  • For example, ballpoint pens use oil-based ink, which is thick and viscous. This type of ink tends to taste bitter, metallic, and oily. It may also leave a greasy residue on your tongue or teeth.
  • Fountain pen ink, like Noodler’s Green Marine, on the other hand, uses dye-based ink that tastes slightly metallic and salty.
  • Some people have described ink flavor to resemble chemicals, paint, or soap.

The only way to know for sure what pen ink tastes like is to try it yourself, but no one recommends that.

While most commercially available pen inks are safe for everyday use, specific components in ink can pose health risks if you suck a large amount of ink or even just absorb it through the skin.

  • Ballpoint pens, for example, contain xylene and toluene, which can irritate your skin, eye, and throat.
  • If the solvents in pen ink get into your bloodstream, it can impact your blood vessels, livers, and nervous system.
  • Some ink formula contains heavy metals in their dyes, which can be toxic if ingested.

Is Pen Ink Poisonous?


In general, tasting pen ink accidentally is considered non-hazardous as the amount is not enough to be toxic or lethal. The World Health Organization itself confirms this fact, so you can rest assured.

But consuming a substantial amount of pen ink, around half a dozen or more, could lead to more pronounced symptoms. These might include:

  • Eye irritation and blurred vision: If ink comes into contact with the eyes, it can cause irritation and lead to temporary blurred vision.

Should this occur, immediately flush the affected eye with cool water for several minutes. If the irritation persists or worsens, seek medical attention promptly.

  • Mild stomach discomfort: Swallowing ink might lead to mild stomach discomfort and slight nausea. These symptoms usually subside over time, but if they persist or worsen, seeking medical advice is recommended.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals might be allergic to certain ink components, and ingesting a substantial amount could trigger allergic reactions.

If you notice severe symptoms like hives or swelling, seek medical help immediately.

For anyone who’s wondering ball pen ink tastes traumatizing
byu/theredditorlol inShowerthoughts


Hopefully, you can have an overview of what does pen ink taste like after reading this article. Generally, the flavor of pen ink can vary depending on the type of writing tool.

While a small accidental taste is unlikely to harm, ingesting large amounts of ink, especially from specialty pens, can pose health risks due to potentially harmful components. It’s crucial to exercise caution and refrain from tasting ink to avoid health concerns.

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