For those that like to stock up on office supplies, having a pile of unused ink cartridges may not be unheard of. But how long do ink cartridges last? And how do you store them when they are unused?
New ink cartridges have a shelf life of approximately two years. This may seem like a long time, but for those that may not use their printer very often, they may be wasting money by stocking up on cartridges. People tend to stock up on cartridges if they are on sale, but you must first determine whether you will use the ink before it expires. Note the date that you install a new cartridge. Your color cartridges and black and white cartridges will most likely not be installed at the same time. Depending on whether you print more in black and white or in color will determine which cartridges needs to be replaced sooner. When your printer ink needs to be replaced you will know how long it lasted based on the date it was installed. Use this time period to as an indicator of how many cartridges you can have on hand before they dry out and become unusable. A note of caution, if you ever purchase a dried out ink cartridge, then return it right away. Stores do not routinely return opened cartridges, but should make an exception if it is dried out. That is why it is important to return it timely.
Store new ink cartridges in a cool dry place away from any sun exposure. A good place would be a desk or a file cabinet that is not near any air vents or windows. Sun and air reap havoc on ink cartridges and will cause them to dry out prematurely.
Remanufactured ink cartridges have a shelf life of approximately one year. The same care should go into storing remanufactured ink cartridges as with storing new cartridges, the only difference being that depending on the brand and place of purchase, remanufactured cartridges may not come in original packaging. If you buy a remanufactured cartridge oftentimes it will come in a box or a bag that is not air tight. When you get home you can transfer the cartridge to a re-sealable sandwich bag, making sure that it is air tight. This will keep the ink from drying out.
If you do not use your printer daily it is possible that the ink inside the printer will dry out. One way to prevent this is by printing a page or two each week whether needed or not. Printing a test page is a great option if you need something quick and easy to print. This keeps the ink from settling for too long in the cartridge and drying out inside the machine. If your ink is not in its original packaging and you opt to store it in a re-sealable bag, a good tip to keep it from drying out is to seal it with a small damp sponge. The moisture from the sponge will keep the ink moist inside the cartridge. This has been known to increase the shelf life of ink, but of course there is no guarantee.
If you are in the market for a new printer or printing supplies, such as ink or toner cartridges, contact Lasertek today. You can find all of your printing needs in one place at a great price.