Storing Printer Toner & Ink: Essential Dos & Don’ts

focus on cartridge in printer

Whether you are a business owner, a student, a parent, or a teacher, stocking up on extra toner and ink cartridges is always a smart idea. Doing so ensures that you won’t run out at a time when you are unable to go to the store or when you are trying to complete a project at the last minute. It also means that you won’t have to worry about the ink or toner you need being out of stock at your favorite store or where you prefer to order your printing supplies from online.

If you buy ahead, though, you need to take steps to store your toner or ink properly. These products are relatively stable and long-lasting, but if you fail to store them as you should, they could break down prematurely. If this happens, they may not work when you are ready to use them. Improper storage of cartridges can also result in leaks or damage to your printer when you try to use them. At Ink Jet Super Store, we want your cartridges to last as long as possible. This is why we’ve put together this list of essential dos and don’ts for storing printer toner and ink.

DO: Pay Attention to Shelf Life

You may not have ever noticed this before, but inkjet and toner cartridges come with expiration dates. You don’t necessarily have to throw your cartridges away if they are past the date, but older ones may not work as well as newer ones. In fact, they might not work at all when you put them in your printer. For this reason, you shouldn’t stock up on more ink or toner than you can reasonably use prior to the expiration date. On average, toner and ink cartridges have shelf lives of about two years.

DON’T: Store in the Wrong Environment

Both ink and toner cartridges should be stored in cool, dry areas. Moisture is a huge enemy of these cartridges, so storing them in an unfinished basement or garage is a recipe for disaster. They also should not be kept in attics or any other areas where the temperature is not controlled. Extreme hot and cold can damage cartridges and cause leaks.

DO: Store in an Upright Position

If you’re thinking about haphazardly throwing your ink or toner cartridges in a drawer, think again. They need to be kept in an upright position. This prevents leaks in inkjet cartridges and helps keep the powder inside toner cartridges evenly distributed. Storing cartridges in the wrong position won’t necessarily destroy them right away, but why take the chance when you can just position them better?

recycling printer cartridge

DON’T: Remove Them from Their Packaging

Toner and ink cartridges tend to come in bulky boxes, and they would be much easier to store without their outer packaging. We get it. That packaging is there for a reason, though. While replacement cartridges are typically wrapped in plastic to protect them from moisture, the outer cardboard helps keep them safe, too. This extra layer acts as a shock absorber and as an additional barrier against moisture and oxygen.

In addition, that opaque box blocks out sunlight, which can cause the ink inside unprotected cartridges to fade or dry out. The bottom line: Those boxes do more than just take up space. They help protect your ink or toner cartridges, so don’t remove them until you need to replace your ink or toner.

DO: Be Smart When Storing Ink or Toner That Has Been Opened

Sometimes, you need to store ink or toner that has already been opened. This may be the case if you use your printer infrequently or if you are moving. Opened ink cartridges should always be stored outside of the device in a plastic container with the nozzles facing upward. If you have the cap that you had to twist off when installing the cartridge, replace it. Place a damp paper towel or cloth in the container, and seal tightly. Never use plastic bags.

Storing laser toner is a bit easier. It can be kept inside your printer for up to six months. If you need to store opened toner outside of your printer, place it in its original packaging and store horizontally with the correct side up. If the original packaging is no longer available, use paper to cover the top opening and store in a dark place.

inkjet printer cartridges closeup


Storing ink and printer toner is relatively easy. Just follow the dos and don’ts listed above, and you should be good to go. And if you ever have any questions, contact one of our friendly customer service representatives at Inkjet.