When it comes to food, we are especially careful. We don’t eat old food. Many people decline to eat something from the morning leave alone the previous day. We do this because if we eat the wrong thing then the machine that is our body starts suffering.
After all, food is fuel for our bodies. Most people never realise it but ink plays the same role in printers. Put wrong ink in your printer and your printer will get damaged just the way wrong food can damage our bodies. Because of such parallels, the shelf life of printer ink cartridges becomes important.
In fact, this is probably why you’ve been wondering about the shelf life of printer ink cartridges in the first place. Fortunately, it isn’t that difficult to be aware of the shelf life of printer ink cartridges or even to prolong it.
The shelf life of printer ink cartridges that have been opened and installed varies from cartridges that are still packed. Here, we’ll explain how things work for each of those situations one by one.
Shelf Life of Printer Ink Cartridges That Have Been Installed
The shelf life of any item depends on what it comprises of. In one of our earlier posts, we delved into the composition of ink and found that more than 90 percent of it is water. Effectively, it’s natural for the shelf life of printer ink cartridges to be dependent on water.
Liquids can transform itself into two forms – gas or solid. In the case of installed ink cartridges, both happen. When you install your ink cartridge in your printer, you are basically exposing it to the environment.
This means air and heat combine to cause the water in it to slowly evaporate. When water evaporates from ink, it gets more viscous. As a result, if left untouched, ink inside installed ink cartridges will gradually solidify as it loses all its water.
This usually happens when the installed cartridge is left installed in the printer for an extended period of time.
How to Prolong Shelf Life of Printer Ink Cartridges That Are Installed
If a user tries to use highly viscous ink, the best thing that can happen is that the print quality will be bad. Faded print is, in fact, one of the most common problems related to printers.
The worst thing, however, is that the printer components get damaged as highly viscous ink solidifies in critical areas.
This is a problem that infrequent users especially face. So, what can you do to prevent this from happening?
The first thing to remember is that if you use your printer once every week or every other week, then you will be increasing the shelf life of printer ink cartridges in your printer. This happens because the ink inside your installed cartridges gets moved.
So, if you have nothing to print, then just print a test page. Another good idea to increase the shelf life of printer ink cartridges in your printer is to simply turn your printer off when it’s not in use.
Every time your printer turns on, it runs a test run which keeps the ink moving. While you will consume more ink this way, it makes sense to do this because the ink would dry up and die in any case.
Finally, heat is the number one enemy of the shelf life of printer ink cartridges in your printer. If your printer is located in an area that is hot, whether from sunlight or unnaturally, then the shelf life of printer ink cartridges will be particularly low. Keeping printers in cold and dark places can help extend the shelf life of cartridges as well as the printer components.
In terms of actual shelf life of printer ink cartridges in your printer, it all depends on how often you use your printer.
Shelf Life of Printer Ink Cartridges That Are Still In Their Package
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as well as third party manufacturers can specify anything between 12 months and 24 months to be the life of their ink cartridges. However, they phrase it different.
Typically, it’s phrased as the expiry date or install by date.
This is a conservative estimate and ink cartridges have been known to last longer, if they are kept in the right conditions.
Basically, as explained above, the biggest threats to your ink cartridges are air and heat. Exposure to air promotes water loss from the cartridges. Thus, this reduces the shelf life of printer ink cartridges that are still packed. In other words, the packaging prevents air from affecting your ink cartridges.
How to Prolong Shelf Life of Printer Ink Cartridges That Are Still Unopened
There are many users who claim to use their printer ink cartridges after even three to four years. This is only possible if the ink cartridges are kept in the right conditions. If you want to prolong the shelf life of printer ink cartridges in package, then you need to ensure that you keep them in cold, dark places in the upright position.
Moreover, when you decide to use your stored ink cartridges, you need to shake them a little and then wipe their contacts before installation. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some OEMs have inbuilt failsafe of stopping expired ink cartridges from working. Some printers have the override expiry option while others don’t.
However, they can usually be bypassed by blocking off the microchip with an electrical tape or piece of paper. This is usually done to keep printer components from bad ink. Unless your ink cartridges are really old or were kept in really adverse conditions, you don’t have to worry about overriding risks.
What’s Your Strategy for Buying Cartridges?
The varied shelf life of printer ink cartridges poses an interesting dilemma. Do you buy individual cartridges every time you need replacement or do you buy them in bulk?
If you buy singles, then there’s less risk of backup cartridges going bad and you’re free from the tension of keeping them in the right conditions. If you buy them in bulk, then you stand to save loads of money but will have to be careful how you store them.
Since the storage conditions needed to prolong the shelf life of printer ink cartridges are fairly simple to create, our suggestion to all our customers is to buy them in bulk. After all, if you buy bulk from Inkjet Wholesale, you can save up to 70 percent and that’s not small change.
Our experience of more than four decades in the printing industry has given us a keen understanding of the shelf life of printer ink cartridges. What this means is that you will never get old ink cartridges from us.
We have a special system in place designed to keep printer ink cartridges from getting old while waiting to be shipped out. Our system allows us to send out fresh cartridges, which means that the shelf life of printer ink cartridges doesn’t get eaten up in storage and distribution.
Our aim is to simply give you the full shelf life of printer ink cartridges to work with and we work hard to make that happen!