If you run an office or your own business and you’ve discovered the benefits of bulk buying your stationery and supplies, then a great deal on ink cartridges will put a warm glow in your heart! However, if you have a large number of new cartridges all waiting for their turn, you need to look after them properly so that when you come to use them, they actually work.
If you know how to store your cartridges properly, you can keep them on ice (not literally, it’s not recommended…) for longer and also use them for longer once they’re out of the wrapper. Here’s five golden tips to get the best out of your bargain bulk buy!
Store your cartridges upright
It doesn’t matter whether they’re loose or still in their boxes, you should store your ink cartridges upright at all times. Many manufacturers recommend that you keep them with their printheads facing upwards, especially if they contain several colours. Storing them lying down could cause inks to leak and mix.
Store them somewhere cool
Keep them in a cool, ventilated place and make sure it doesn’t go over room temperature there, as the ink could start to foam up and these bubbles can eventually cause leaks.
Keep the cartridge sealed until you need it
This helps to maintain the ink in its factory-fresh state and also keeps the printhead moist. No air gets into the cartridge and so no inner parts or liquids can be affected.
Keep the cartridge bag sealed
Moisture is your enemy when you’re storing cartridges, so keep the bag sealed with the cartridge inside. If it’s been opened or damaged, reseal the bag with an elastic band or another bag.
Store your cartridges in a dark room
Storing your cartridges in a dark room helps to protect the ink quality. Direct sunlight can affect the ink, causing it to heat up repeatedly and so degrade. If a cartridge has already been opened, you can store it safely for six months using the above tips and if it’s still in the bag, it can last for two years.
If you’re about to use a cartridge that’s been in storage for a while, don’t just insert it into the printer and hope for the best, as this could damage either the cartridge or, even worse, your printer.
Play it safe and follow these steps:
- Unseal the cartridge and check for ink spillages, wiping away any leaked ink or dust;
- examine the printhead and make sure it’s still moist by wiping a dry, clean tissue against it;
- look at the cartridge’s contact terminals to make sure they look like they should do, then
- insert the cartridge into the printer and print out a test page.
If you store your cartridges carefully you’ll increase the lifespan of the inks and this also helps to keep your printer in good condition. You need to look after your printer too, because cartridges can still leak when in place, so if it’s unused for a while, print out a test page once a week or so to make sure all’s well.