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Can Printer Ink Dry Out Overtime? – Learn Here

The shorter answer to the question Can Printer Ink Dry Out Overtime is: Yes, they can dry out overtime and there are several factors that contribute to ink drying out.

Printer’s cartridges have a limited lifespan. Even if you are not using the printer and it is sitting in your printer, it will dry out with time and may clog your system.

In this article, we will discuss all about your printer’s ink expiry and how it can dry out with time.

We will also suggest how to keep it from drying by taking care of your ink cartridges.

First, let’s look at what is ink shelf life to understand better how to keep it from drying.

The shelf life of a printer ink is the time it can stay useful in the sealed package. Usually, the shelf life of the original ink cartridge is 24 months, and the shelf life of a replacement compatible printer cartridge is 36 months.

Related: Original Vs Compatible Vs Remanufactured Ink Cartridges

The life of ink cartridges also depends on its quality. Often high-quality printing inks are expensive, but they will last longer than their cheaper versions.

Even the most expensive ink has its life and will dry with time if left in the device.

Mostly ink cartridges come with an expiry date that is written on your package. However, different factors, other than your ink’s quality, can cause the ink to dry with time. Using the printer weekly is one way to prevent early drying and to get more ink out of the cartridge

ink expiry date

What Are the Factors That Contribute to Ink Drying Out?

Here are few factors that can make your ink dry out soon.

1. Printer not in use for a long time

Ink usually dries out if your printer is not in use for a long time. The open ink cartridges in the printer can dry out with air and may clog the printer’s nozzles.

2. Ink has expired

Ink can dry out even if it is not in the printer and resting in  the sealed package. Printing ink comes with an expiry date and may dry out beyond that limited time.

3. Refilled ink cartridges dry out sooner

If you have remanufactured ink cartridges instead of new ones, they may become problematic. Refilling process may cause the air to get in the cartridges that can make them dry out soon.

4. Excessive hot or cold weather

Exposing the ink cartridges to excessive hot or cold weather can also cause them to dry out soon.

How Can I Prevent the Ink from Drying Out?

Ink cartridges are expensive. Dried ink can be a nuisance, especially if you open your printer for an important job and find out it’s not working.

It can even clog the nozzles of your printer, affecting its efficiency and performance. Here are a few ways you can save your ink from drying, or can enhance its lifespan.

1. Keep your cartridges active

A very basic tip for preserving your cartridges for long is to keep your cartridges active. Even if you don’t need a printer on a regular base, it’s good to run a few pages a week. You can test a few pages in a week and discard it.

Regular use of ink prevents it from drying with time. It will also prepare you beforehand if your printer is causing trouble and you can fix it before it runs out in the middle of an important job.

2. Moisten your cartridges

Moistening your cartridges now and then keeps it from drying, especially if they are not used often.

For moistening, you can put on the gloves and carefully remove the ink cartridges form the printer. Gently wipe each cartridge with a clean and damp cloth.

Make sure to remove any ink from its surface. This will prevent the ink from clogging your system. Make sure the ink cartridges are dried before you put them back in the printer.

3. Temperature control

Adjust the temperature where cartridges are placed. Extreme hot and cold weather conditions may cause your ink cartridges to dry out soon. Maintaining a mild temperature at your office, or where the printer is placed can expand the lifespan of your ink cartridges.

4. Storing them properly

If you are not using the printer regularly, you can take out the ink cartridges from the printer and store them separately. Placing the ink cartridges in a damp cloth or paper towel can prevent them from drying.


5. Turn off the computer when not using

Leaving your computer on when you are not using it can also make your ink dry out fast. Turning off the computer when you are not using it can also help to save the ink for long.

6. Clean your printer regularly

How to Clean the Printer?

Cleaning your printer regularly can expand its life and also preserve your ink for long.

For cleaning the printer, you need to pull out the ink cartridge or the printing head of the printer.

Gently clean the contacts of the print head with a gentle swab dipped in alcohol.

You can brush the contacts for cleaning them properly and removing the dry ink.

Also, wipe the excess ink from the cartridges. Put back the printing head and start the printer to test if it is working properly.

Ink cartridges are expensive and by taking their maximum care, you can expand their lifespan. Taking basic care of your printer, turning it off properly, and cleaning it regularly can save your ink for long.

Buying good quality ink cartridges can also save you from future trouble. Still, printer’s ink dries out with time, and after a certain period, you need to replace them.

Finally, the next important question is, can printer ink dry out if after you take good care?

Can Printer Ink Dry Out If I Take Good Care?

If you take really good care of your printer cartridge, you can certainly enhance the longevity of your ink, but eventually if not used over a long time, it will most certainly dry out.

Does Toner Dry Out Too?

Toners are a dry powder that laser printer use for printing.

An inkjet printer uses ink that dries out with time. Toners too can dry out, but when comparing toner to ink it last longer and is more durable.

But toners can also dry if left unused for some time.


Simply put, the answer to the question, can printer ink dry out over time is Yes! it can.

However, if you take good care and employ the best practices, you can enhance the longevity of your ink cartridge.

The sample applies for toners used in laser-jet printers.