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How to Keep Ink Cartridges from Drying Up

Keep Ink Cartridges from Drying Out

Printers have become an indispensable tool in both our personal and professional lives. Whether you're printing photos, reports, or crucial documents, you want to ensure your printer is always ready for action.

One common annoyance for printer users is the drying up of ink cartridges, leading to poor print quality and wasted money. It’s important to note that in reality, the problem is the ink at the print head drying out.  In addition, air bubbles can form in the print head, blocking the flow of ink.This guide will delve into strategies to keep your ink cartridges and print head from drying up.

Understanding the Ink Cartridge Drying Dilemma

Ink cartridges dry up for a variety of reasons. Ink is prone to drying when exposed to air for extended periods. When a cartridge dries up, it can lead to streaky prints, missing colors, or an entirely unresponsive printer. The same can happen at the print head if you do not print for a while.

Fortunately, with a little care and proactive ink and printer maintenance, you can minimize the risk of your cartridges drying up.

Tips That Can Stop Your Ink Cartridges from Drying Out and Last Longer

Store Ink Cartridges Properly

  • Keep in Original Packaging: If you've bought extra cartridges, it's tempting to remove them from their packaging. Resist this urge. The original packaging is designed to protect the cartridge from light and air exposure.
  • Climate Control: Store ink cartridges in a climate controlled location. Avoid extremes of temperature and humidity. 

Related Read: Dye-Based vs Pigment Ink

Print Regularly

One of the best ways to keep your cartridges and print head from drying up is to use your printer regularly. If you print at least once a week, it keeps the ink flowing and prevents it from drying on the cartridge's nozzles. 

A convenient and quick way to accomplish this is to print a nozzle check pattern. This keeps ink flowing and shows you if you have any blocked print head nozzles. Consider setting a reminder to print a nozzle check if you don't have any other printing needs that week.

Keep the Cartridge Installed

Only remove a cartridge from the printer if you're replacing it. Even if you're not using the printer frequently, it's better to leave the cartridge inside. Modern printers often have a sealing mechanism that protects installed cartridges from air exposure.

Pay Attention to the Printer's Location

Avoid Sunlight: Direct sunlight can harm both the printer and the cartridges. Always place your printer in a location away from direct sunlight.

Stable Environment: Avoid placing your printer near windows, air vents, or any location where it might be exposed to large  temperature and humidity fluctuations.

Perform Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Regular Cleaning: If you notice streaky prints, it might be due to blocked nozzles on the print head. Use the printer's built-in cleaning function to correct the problem. Refer to your printer's manual for detailed steps.

Sealing Unused Cartridges: If you've opened a cartridge but don't plan to use it immediately, place it in an airtight plastic bag. If possible, squeeze out as much air as you can before sealing.

Purchase Quality Cartridges

It's tempting to opt for third-party cartridges due to their lower prices. However, be wary. Not all third-party cartridges are made equal. Some might dry out faster due to inferior quality materials or lack of proper sealing mechanisms. Always research and opt for reputable brands.


A little care goes a long way in ensuring the longevity of your ink cartridges. By following the steps outlined above, you can get the most out of your printer's cartridges, saving both money and frustration in the long run. After all, in the world of printing, prevention is certainly better than cure!

Last updated: January 26, 2024