How Long Does Printer Ink Last? Do Cartridges Expire?

If you're in the printing business, ink is one of the supplies you'll need to restock more often as it is the "fuel" that keeps your printer going. Knowing how long your ink lasts and whether printer ink cartridges do expire is important to help you plan well in advance and ensure you don't stock excess ink or feed expired ink to your printer; this can potentially damage your printer!

We have researched a lot about printer ink shelf life and found some helpful facts that we have shared with you in the following guide. You'll discover how long a printer ink's shelf life is and the factors that influence its longevity. You'll also learn additional info like how you can improve your ink lifespan, how long it lasts on paper, and so much more.

How long does printer ink last? Do cartridges expire?

Ink cartridges can usually last around one to two years when kept in their original packaging. However, you may come across a long lasting ink that goes up to 36 months. Manufacturers usually include the expiry dates on the ink, usually on the side of the cartridge itself or on the cartridge's packaging box.

However, you shouldn't religiously follow the indicated expiry date. A handful of factors can affect how long your ink lasts. In other words, your ink can last faster or longer than the expiry date, depending on how good you take care of it.

Cartridges Expire

The main factors affecting your printer ink longevity include:

  • Exposure to air: The ink inside your printer cartridges can degrade pretty quickly if you expose it to air. This is based on the fact that the ink is intentionally formulated to evaporate quickly. This allows quick drying and enables the ink to stay on your page while preventing smudging issues.
  • Storage environment: The environment you store your ink in can also determine how long it lasts. For instance, string in an area where it sees direct sunlight exposure will cause the heat from the sun to speed up the drying process for the ink. You may be surprised to find your cartridge is already dried up by the time you open the sink.
  • Overtime deterioration: No matter how well you take care of your ink, a sealed ink cartridge won't last forever and will eventually degrade and dry up with time. Even when you put it in a completely airtight seal, you can't escape the oxidation process that degrades the ink in a period of 1-2 years.

We DON'T recommend using expired ink cartridges because they can easily damage your Canon, HP, Brother, Epson printer, and any other printer. They tend to clog or corrode your print head. And they can affect the device's ink delivery systems.

How long does printer ink last

If you're also asking yourself, "does toner last longer than ink?" the answer is YES. Toners are in powder form, making them less susceptible to drying than inks, granting them a longer shelf life.

How to extend the life of your printer ink

Below, we have outlined some helpful tips on how to take care of your printer ink to ensure it lasts for an extended period of time and continues giving you quality prints.

How to extend the life of your printer ink

Store it in its original packaging

One proven method of preserving your ink cartridges for an extended lifespan is not taking them from their original packaging. It's that simple! The packaging is usually airtight, making it a safe haven for the ink that prevents unnecessary air from seeping and causing the ink inside the cartridges to dry up.

Store it in a safe environment

Another way to ensure your ink lasts for a long time is to store it in an environment with the perfect conditions. Avoid storing it in a room with direct sunlight that can speed up the drying process. Also, avoid humidity-prone rooms. The heat separates the ink dye from the cartridge, leaving you with poor ink that makes poor-quality prints.

Still on the proper storage issue, ensure you store it in a room with an ambient temperature of about 72 degrees to prevent degradation due to fluctuating temperatures. You may want to leave your ink in a drawer near your printer, keeping in mind that the temperature in your printer room is controlled.

Store it in a safe environment

TIP: The basement presents an ideal storage room for your ink cartridges. But we don't recommend it since the dust and debris inside can affect how the printer ink cartridge functions. If you install a dusty cartridge into your Canon or HP printer, or any other printer, it can cause clog print heads and paper jams.

How long does printer ink last on paper?

Printer ink can last for 100plus years on paper, so you don't have to worry about your prints fading out with time. However, you'll need to ensure you use original cartridges for your printer and print on high-quality papers to enjoy the long-lasting prints. You also want to ensure your documents are correctly stored in drawers, folders, or file cabinets where they don't see direct light exposure. Above all, keep your documents in an environment with room temperature.

How long does printer ink last on paper

How long does ink last on skin?

Printing ink that accidentally spills on your skin can be hard to remove, and there's no predefined period when it stays on the skin. The ink usually features dyes and glycol in its formulation, which can be challenging to remove. Thankfully, many products are available to help you easily get it off your skin. These include the hairspray, lava soap, a dilute bleach solution, etc. However, keep in mind that these products are harsh and require a lot of scrubbing to help get the ink out.

How many pages can an ink cartridge print canon?

A standard printer ink cartridge (11ml ink) can print around 220 pages on a Canon printer. However, if you're using a higher capacity (up to 16ml), it can print about 350 pages. Just like inks from other brands, you should also observe the Canon ink expiration date to ensure you get quality printers and don't run into clogging issues with your Canon printer.

How many pages can an ink cartridge print canon

Final Words

Printer ink doesn't last forever and will expire after around 1-2 years, though some brands can go up to 36 months.

How long your ink lasts will mostly depend on how good you take care of it. We have already discussed the various factors that affect how long your printer ink lasts. By understanding these factors, you'll be in a position to avoid shortening your ink lifespan unknowingly.

Follow the tips we have discussed in this guide on how to properly store and take care of your printer ink to ensure it lasts for a long period of time and gives you quality prints.

Remember not to use expired ink cartridges as they can lead to clogging issues, give you poor quality prints, and even damage your printer!

Inksaver Editor

We're a group of people who love printers and scanners. We want to share our knowledge with you, so you can spend less time researching and more time printing and scanning!

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