Answering Bulk Order Questions: Can Printer Ink Go Bad?

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Printer ink is a vital supply for school, office and home use, especially if you frequently handle hard copies of documents. If your office has multiple printers, one or more of them might go unused for a few weeks, but you still need printer ink on hand for fast printing.

Many organizations and families have concerns about printer ink expiring. Although printer ink formulations have improved considerably, they will still expire even if you store them properly. If you’ve wondered, “Can printer ink go bad?” take advantage of these tips for storing printer ink to prolong its shelf life and avoiding problems with your printer.

Quality and Damage Concerns

Dye-based and pigment-based inkjet cartridges can dry up within a few years and usually have an expiration date printed on their box. This is true across all inkjet printer brands because they all use similar properties in their inks, so even quality brands like Brother ink can still dry out over time.

Your printer ink may continue to function even after your ink’s quality has degraded or after the expiration date, which can cause the print quality to drop dramatically. Printed pages may come out with streaks, blotches or colors missing.

If your print quality suffers significantly before you realize it, you may need to take advantage of tips on how to remove ink from paper to salvage your prints. For cheap and quick print jobs, just wait until the printer cartridge is replaced and re-print the document.

There is also a serious risk of damaging the print heads if the ink is dry and expired. Printer heads are precise and delicate. If the system tries to push dried-up ink through them, it can cause enough damage to require extensive repairs.

It’s always safest to replace the cartridges rather than risk the chance of damage. Remove the cartridges and recycle them, taking care to avoid any drips or smudges from the remaining ink.

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Contributing Factors

HP ink and other brands have built-in monitors on their printers to estimate when your printer ink has expired or is about to. However, your ink can dry up before the expiration date if environmental conditions are less than optimal.

Printer ink is designed to operate at average room temperatures — typically around 68°F–75°F. It’s specifically engineered for this temperature range to avoid leaks and other problems associated with the ink being too runny.

Colder temperatures cause the ink to solidify, although it may warm back up and return to normal. Warmer temperatures may make the ink dry up completely within a few months.

Unopened ink lasts much longer than opened ink because of the special packaging manufacturers use. Avoid opening printer ink packaging until you’re ready to replace your cartridge, or the aging process will accelerate earlier than necessary.

How to Store Properly

The long- and short-term storage locations of your ink make a huge difference to its lifespan. Start by checking the temperature in any area of your office or home where a printer is located. If this area is vulnerable to drafts or is in direct sunlight, consider moving the printer to a location where the temperature is normal and consistent.  

Storage closets and cabinets are potentially a problem for long-term storage if they are not properly cooled or heated. Consider moving a small cabinet close to your desk or another area where temperatures are more consistently regulated.

If you have a printer that won’t be used for several months, remove the cartridges and store them in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Ensure the paper towel doesn’t touch the nozzles directly since it can make the nozzles leak.

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Can Printer Ink Go Bad? Is Ordering in Bulk a Good Idea?

Many people think of bulk ordering as only good for wholesalers or large companies, but anyone can take advantage of a bulk discount. Although the exact definition of a bulk order varies between retailers, some offer discounts for orders of three or more of the same cartridge. 

The discount adds up fast when you are buying multiple ink colors, especially if you are buying for multiple printers. Add toner for your laser printer into the same order to get everything delivered to your door for the lowest price possible.

This means bulk ordering is a smart option for you, whether you print photos at home regularly or you’re ordering for an entire corporate headquarters. You can even customize the number of cartridges you get in each color to match your current needs.

As long as you take good care of your printer ink, buying bulk ink can help you save money and avoid suddenly running out of ink. 

Your Best Source for Bulk Ink

With these tips for printer ink storage, you’ll be set to make the most of your purchases from InkJetSuperStore. We offer bulk discounts for a huge range of printers, ranging from popular brands like Epson and Canon to lesser-known brands common in older printers.