Essential Tips on How to Store Your Ink Cartridges : Inks & Toners

Ink cartridges play a pivotal role in the functionality of inkjet printers. These cartridges contain liquid ink, distributed through a series of tiny nozzles onto the paper during the printing process. They come in various types, including original equipment manufacturer (OEM), compatible, and re-manufactured cartridges. OEM cartridges are produced by the printer manufacturer and tend to have higher quality and price. Compatible cartridges are new cartridges made by third-party manufacturers, offering cost-effective alternatives, while re-manufactured cartridges are recycled and refilled OEM cartridges, making them an environmentally friendly choice. Proper care and storage of ink cartridges can significantly extend their lifespan, thereby ensuring optimal printer performance and print quality.

The Reasons Behind Printer Ink Drying Out

printer cartridges
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Printer ink can dry out for several reasons, primarily due to exposure to air. When an ink cartridge is left unused for an extended period, the volatile components of the ink can gradually evaporate. This process is accelerated if the brother ink cartridge is not stored properly, such as in a hot, dry environment or if the protective tape that covers the nozzles is removed prematurely.

  1. Infrequent Use: If the printer isn’t used regularly, the ink in the cartridges can dry out. The nozzles can get blocked, leading to poor print quality or even rendering the cartridge unusable. With minimal usage, ink remains stationary in the cartridge, leading to the formation of a crust that eventually causes the nozzle to clog.
  2. Improper Storage: Storing Canon ink cartridges in places with high temperature or low humidity can cause the ink to dry out. The optimal storage environment is a cool, dry place.
  3. Cartridge Design: Some cartridges have a design that allows more air to come into contact with the ink, which can lead to faster drying.
  4. Outdated Cartridges: Over time, even unopened ink cartridges can dry out. It’s always recommended to use the ink cartridges before their expiration date.
  5. Incomplete Cap Sealing: If the cartridges are not properly sealed after use, it exposes the ink to air, causing it to dry faster.
  6. Extended Printer Downtime: When a printer is left idle for a long period, the ink remaining in the cartridge nozzles can dry and harden, causing blockages.
  7. Incompatible ink : Finally, using low-quality or incompatible ink can also cause it to dry out quickly. These inks may not have been formulated to have the correct consistency and may dry out faster than higher-quality, compatible inks. Therefore, it’s essential to choose high-quality ink and store it properly to prevent it from drying out.

Essential Tips on How to Store Your Ink Cartridges

Now that you understand the main causes of ink drying out, let’s look at a few practical tips to help you maximize your printer cartridge life:

  • Keep Ink Cartridges in Their Original Packaging: Many cartridges come with protective packaging that helps to keep them safe from external factors such as dust and sunlight. Always store the cartridges in their original packaging in a cool, dry place.
  • Original Packaging: Always keep new ink cartridges in their original packaging until their use is required. The packaging is designed to keep the cartridge sealed and protect it from drying out.
  • Upright Storage: Store your ink cartridges upright. This will ensure the distribution of ink remains consistent and the print head does not dry out.
  • Cool and Dry Environment: Keep the cartridges in a cool and dry place. Extreme temperatures can either cause the ink to dry or become too runny, both of which affect print quality.
  • Avoid Sunlight: Direct sunlight can cause the cartridge casing to degrade and the ink to dry out. Always store in a location away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid Air Exposure: Minimize the cartridges’ exposure to air. When changing cartridges, replace them swiftly to prevent the ink from drying.
  • Regular Usage: Regularly use your printer to prevent the ink from drying out in the cartridges.
  • Seal After Use: If you have to remove a cartridge, ensure you seal it properly after use. You can use a piece of tape over the top to prevent air exposure.
  • Use Before Expiry: Always use the ink cartridges before their expiration date. Even unopened, ink can dry out after the expiry date.
  • Proper Handling: Handle the cartridges gently. Rough handling can cause leaks and may lead to print quality issues.
  • Avoid Shaking: Shaking a cartridge can cause air bubbles, which can lead to poor print quality or even damage to your printer.
  • Match Cartridge and Printer: Always use cartridges from the same brand as your printer or those recommended by the manufacturer. This ensures a good fit and proper functioning.
  • Buying Schedule: Don’t stock up on cartridges for too long. Buy new ones only when needed to ensure they don’t dry out on the shelf.
  • Cartridge Cleaning: If your cartridge is blocked due to dried ink, clean it properly. Use warm water to clean the print head gently. Avoid touching the copper area of the cartridge.
  • Cartridge Recovery: If the ink has dried out, you can place the cartridge in warm water to recover it. This can loosen the dried ink and make it usable again.
  • Ink Level Checks: Regularly check the ink levels of your cartridges to ensure they are not left empty for too long. An empty cartridge can dry out quickly.


In conclusion, ink cartridges are a vital component of your printer that require careful handling and storage to maintain their functionality and prolong their lifespan. By following the comprehensive tips provided in this blog, you can prevent premature drying of your printer ink and ensure high-quality prints every time. Remember, while cost-effectiveness is important, investing in high-quality ink and proper storage can save you a significant amount of time, effort, and money in the long run. Moreover, regular usage and routine checks of your cartridges can help in keeping them in optimal condition. Thus, taking care of your cartridges is indeed a form of taking care of your printer—and by extension, your productivity.

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