Everything You Need To Know About Ink Cartridges & Expiration Dates

Important reasons why you should stick to your cartridges expiration dates.

Expired Ink | Ink Technologies

Just like many other liquid products, such as ink pens or gasoline, your printer cartridges and toner cartridges have a shelf life. In fact, usage guidelines and the timeline of expiration of ink cartridges are very similar to that of an ink pen. At the tail end of a pen’s life, you may notice that your lines begin to fade in and out or stop all together. Even when you can see ink inside the pen, you may find that no ink comes out, leading to dozens of unusable pens that have probably built up in your desk drawer.

These familiar signs of ink blockage, in both pens and in ink cartridges, are most often due to an expired product.

When an ink cartridge expires and dries up, the ink tends to dry in the head of the cartridge, clogging the ink from getting through or even causing the ink to leak out in uneven patterns. Not only can an expired cartridge dry up and make the ink or toner unusable, but it can also cause a blockage or even possible damage to your printer, resulting in more serious damage if not caught right away.

Therefore, it is important to know and understand the different expiration and warranty durations of ink cartridges before you buy them. Here are just a few things you should know about ink expiration dates, as well as the important reasons why you should always follow them:

Finding Expiration Dates

When you purchase a new ink cartridge, whether it’s HP printer ink or any number of other popular inkjet brands, the expiration date (or sometimes called “use before” or “install by” date) is typically stamped on the bottom or top flap of the box so that you can know the date before purchasing. Many ink manufacturers may also include a warranty date with their ink cartridges, which refers to the date that they will guarantee their ink until. However, it is important to understand that these two dates are not the same. Expiration dates are typically one to two years after a warranty date.

Other Reasons For Ink Expiration

While the expiration of your ink cartridge is the most common reason for an ink cartridge drying up, there are also several other reasons why this may occur:

  • Not Using Your Printer: Cartridges can begin to go bad even sooner than their expiration dates if your printer is not used regularly. Therefore, even if you don’t use your printer very often, try to print at least one page every few weeks to keep your cartridges active.
  • Not Properly Refilling Your Cartridge: Many people will often opt to have their old ink cartridges refilled in order to save money on printing. However, if you fail to reseal your container once it is filled, your ink can go bad very quickly and even evaporate over time.

The Problem Of Using Expired Ink

Ink cartridge expiration dates are created because, after that point in time, the ink cartridge no longer performs in the way that it was designed. For instance, air can work its way into the cartridge and can eventually dissolve the ink carrier. Even worse, the ink becomes sludgy over time, which not only clogs up your printer and print head, but also can mess up any important things that you are printing.

If you have ordered from us before you can visit our Ink Technologies reordering page today to set up a reordering schedule that fits your printing needs in order to ensure that you are never stuck with expired ink and always have new refills on hand when you need them.

Greg Gladman
Greg Gladman has two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and prides himself on managing the operations and customer service at Ink Technologies. With a mind like a vault, he is full of useful and useless information, making him an asset to the company and to his Tuesday night trivia team. When he is not working, he spends his time bowling and playing golf. Greg dedicates much of his free time to raising money and awareness in support of the fight against blood cancers.

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