If you are an infrequent user of a high-performing printer, you may be wondering just how long printer ink will last before needing to be replaced.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Printer ink cartridges feature a shelf life of 24 to 36 months, as long as they are contained in their original packaging.
  • Once an ink cartridge has been opened, it will begin to dry out in just three to four weeks.
  • To lengthen the lifespan of a printer ink cartridge, be sure to store it correctly, keep it away from extreme temperatures, and refrain from taking it out of the packaging until necessary.

Printer Ink Shelf Life

When it comes to a printer ink cartridge that is still in its original packaging, you can expect an overall shelf life of anywhere from 24 to 36 months. The packaging should feature an expiration date for your perusal.

If the packaging has been opened, however, that window shrinks considerably. Once a printer ink cartridge has been exposed to the environment, it will begin to dry out in just three to four weeks. Once it has been dried out, you will need to purchase a replacement cartridge.

Insider Tip

When it comes to a printer ink cartridge that is still in its original packaging, you can expect an overall shelf life of anywhere from 24 to 36 months.

Tips to Extend Printer Ink Lifespan

Here are some tips and guidelines to help you extend the overall lifespan of your printer ink cartridges.

Do Not Open Cartridges Until You are Ready

If you have purchased an ink cartridge, keep it in the original packaging until you ready to make some print reproductions. As previously mentioned, an opened ink cartridge will start to dry out in three to four weeks while an unopened cartridge will feature a shelf life of up to 36 months. If you are looking to maximize the lifespan of your newly purchased cartridge, do not install it into your printer until you are ready to crank out a ton of print jobs. If you are using a laser printer, you need to learn more about the toner lifetime.

Insider Tip

An opened ink cartridge will start to dry out in three to four weeks while an unopened cartridge will feature a shelf life of up to 36 months.

Store the Cartridges Correctly

Printer ink cartridges are finicky and must be stored properly in order to maximize their shelf life. Generally speaking, store ink cartridges in their original packaging in a cool and dry part of the home. You will also want to ensure that the printer ink cartridge is standing upright, as any other position can cause the ink to pool on one side and lead to eventual malfunction during print jobs. Additionally, try to keep the cartridge away from direct sunlight and inclement weather, as extreme temperatures can cause damage.

Perform Regular Printer Maintenance

If you have an ink cartridge installed in your printer, you should take care to perform routine maintenance tasks. Most printers feature an auto-clean function of some kind that can be accessed with the push of a button. Make sure of this process to flush out the ink cartridge and your print head. This will make your ink cartridges last longer before needing to be replaced. Maintenance should not be done on only the ink cartridge, for your printer to last long, proper care and maintenance must be done often.

Warning

Once a printer ink cartridge has been exposed to the environment, it will begin to dry out in just three to four weeks.

F.A.Q.

Do Canon ink cartridges expire?

Canon purports to manufacture ink cartridges that never expire, though research is still forthcoming.


Ink VS toner cartridges: how are they different?

An ink cartridge is filled with liquified ink. A toner cartridge, on the other hand, is filled with toner dust, which is not liquid. Additionally, toner cartridges tend to be much more efficient than ink cartridges when it comes to the number of prints that can be completed per cartridge.


How to preserve toner cartridges?

Be sure to store toner cartridges properly in their original packaging in a cool and dark area of the home. Follow the guidelines above.



STAT: The facts suggest that 8 out of 10 people chuck their empty printer ink cartridges and their printer toner cartridges in the garbage. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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