How To Keep Printer Ink From Drying Out

by Karen Jones

Being able to print out whatever documents, images, or other data you have in the comfort of your own home is a great, liberating feeling that can make you feel like you have the power to materialize words onto pages with ease whenever you want.

Now, while this is perfectly true, what’s also true is that the apparatus that makes this possible needs to be taken good care of.

Whether it’s a faulty cable, or an annoying paper jam, just like any other machines, printers too can break down, so it’s up to you to keep them up-and-running at all times.

Possibly the most annoying thing that can befall you when it comes to ‘dealing’ with your printer would be having the ink necessary to print the thing you want, but the ink is so old and stale that it just cannot be used for the aforementioned purpose.

How To Keep Printer Ink From Drying Out
How To Keep Printer Ink From Drying Out

If something like this happens, you not only need to clear out the old ink (which is an annoying procedure in itself, since it’s stuck), but you will have to buy new ink – which is often not that inexpensive.

In this article, we’re going to propose to you some solutions geared toward preventing this, so that your printer ink will remain fresh for as long as it can be. As you will see, these steps are fairly easy to follow, so you can apply them right away.

Without further ado, here’s the deal.

Why Do The Cartridges Dry Out in The First Place?

Dry Ink Cartridges
Dry Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges, while sold in liquid form, are made out of colored powder.

So, the reason why they end up drying out after a while are typically the following:

  • Either they are exposed to heat, which makes the moisture in them evaporate fast, or
  • If the printer is not used for a while, this evaporation will be slower but it will still happen nevertheless.

Now, if a cartridge dries up, you will no longer be able to use it for printing and you will have to buy a new set to replace the old one.

How to Prevent This From Happening to Your Printer (Or, Its Cartridges)?

Turn the Printer off When it’s Not in Use

Even when properly placed within a printer, a cartridge can still dry out more quickly than you thought if it’s exposed to air – especially if the surrounding temperature is quite hot.

Now, to prevent such a miserable turn of events, there are a couple of options at your disposal.

The first option would be the easiest one of them all to go with, as all you need to do is press the power button to turn the printer off when it’s not in use.

The reason why this may do the trick (at least for the time being) is because most manufacturers of modern-day printers build in special features in their devices that set the cartridges inside them in the optimal position when the printer is off – precisely so that the cartridges can retain most of their humidity for the next time you desire to use the printer.

Now, an important thing to remember here is that this will only work if you power off the printer by using its ON/OFF button. This way, the inbuilt system that regulates this feature we explained in the paragraph above can kick in at the shutoff to set the cartridge in the optimal anti-drying position, so to speak.

If you power off the printer by simply unplugging the power cord, this feature cannot save the cartridges inside as a sudden loss of power would prevent this inbuilt mechanism from working.

Use the Printer More Often

The thing about printers with liquid ink cartridges is that they are designed for optimal performance at high-frequency printing.

What this means is that you get the most out of your money and out of the printer’s functionality if you use it as often as you can.

Not so often, of course, that it overheats all the time, but printing out a couple of pages at least every day can be a great way to both print a lot of stuff you want and use up your cartridges in their entirety.

To be fair, not all people have volumes upon volumes of written materials they want to print. That said, if you don’t need to print stuff every day, then using the printer at least once a week can still be enough to postpone or even eliminate the possibility of your ink cartridges drying out.

An important thing to remember if you want to use this approach to keep your cartridges moist and still printin’ would be to print test pages (or whatever pages you want) that need all of the colors offered by the different cartridges you have, so you can test them all in one go.

By the way, using the ‘test pages’ for printing can be a great idea because these test pages contain all of the colors necessary to test all of your cartridges, thus keeping them all running, even if you’re not using them all that frequently.

Adjust the Temperature Around the Printer

As we already mentioned above, lack of humidity is by far the worst enemy of an ink cartridge.

So, to prevent your ink cartridge from drying out way too quickly, what you can do is simply make sure your printer is at the right temperature. That is, that the temperature in the room or area you leave your printer when you’re not using it is ink cartridge-friendly, so to speak.

The temperature at which your printer is likely to last the longest would be around 68 degrees, so if you have a room in your house or your office when you can set this temperature for prolonged periods, your ink cartridges will likely survive in their liquid state for more than if the temperature was higher than that.

It is at this point where we might as well mentioned that low temperatures also can cause the ink to lose its moisture prematurely, so you should avoid storing your printer in cold rooms, too.

Last but not least, it is also quite important to monitor the humidity levels in the room the printer’s in, as dry air will slowly but surely end up ‘sucking’ out the moisture from the cartridges – especially if they go unused for prolonged periods.

Probably the easiest way to add some humidity to a room filled with dry air is to get one of those micro-spray humidifiers. These contraptions will help get the moisture levels in the air to an acceptable value. As a result, the ink cartridges in your printer will last much longer, and the room will be more pleasant to be in for you, too.


All things considered, if you happen to own a printer with some cartridges in it, and you don’t much fancy them drying out before you’ve used them up completely, simply printing more pages, and minding the surroundings of the printer itself, so to speak, can have a tremendous effect on the result regarding the life cycle of your printer’s ink cartridges. We hope you found this article helpful and we wish you the best of luck with your printing ventures.

About Karen Jones

Karen Jones has always been a writer at heart. As a freelance writer and social media marketing consultant for the last decade, she's honed her skills in crafting catchy and interesting articles that reel in readers. She also enjoys traveling, which is where she gets most of her ideas for her writing. In fact, if you can't find Karen around her friends and family, it's likely because she's holed up in her home office working on refining her writing composition and printing press!

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