You may want to know how to keep printer ink from drying out if the machine often gets idle. Most cartridges (ink or toner) are costly, so you really want to use them to the last drop. There are several tips and ways to deal with this issue.
How to Keep Printer Ink from Drying out: The Facts
1. Clogged Nozzles
This is basically one of the main reasons why ink waste can happen. Clogged nozzles happen for two reasons:
• You don’t use the printer quite often
• You don’t clean the nozzles or cartridge heads
You see, when you print and then stop for a certain period of time, the remaining ink on the nozzles would dry up from making contact with the air. Even if the cartridges are new, don’t be surprised if you find the ink dries up within five or six months from now.
The same thing also happens to super busy printers. When you constantly use your printer, the remaining ink would build up. Not to mention if it is then mixed up with dust, dirt, and debris.
So, what should you do? First of all, make sure that you have regular cleaning – not only for the nozzles, but also the entire parts of the machine. A well-kept device can last for good, right?
And if you don’t really use the printer too often, it’s advisable to use the printer. Do it once a week, at least, so ink build up can be prevented. Using the machine once a week will keep the ink flowing and open. Try to incorporate it as a part of your maintenance.
2. Proper Storage
If you have busy printing job, especially on a daily basis, you must have kept several extra cartridges, right? You don’t want to run out ink in the middle of the busy work and not be able to resume it because you don’t have any extra cartridges. Having the extra cartridges would be a good idea, but you should also pay attention to the proper storage method.
So, what are the best storage tips?
• Keep the cartridges in the upright position; not upside down or sideways. If you do that, ink moves towards that one side only, which may cause printing quality issue once the cartridges are installed.
• The place where you store the cartridges should be in a room temperature. It should also dry, dark, and safe – not humid or excessively bright. You can keep the cartridges in the box and then put it in the shelf, on the back area where it’s dark.
One thing to remember is that ink is basically liquid mix. When it is exposed to much cold or heat too much, it can be ‘damaged’ and you will have poor printing quality. Don’t be surprised if some of the cartridges become useless completely. The cold can lead to clots form, while heat can cause it to evaporate and even leak.
3. Keep the Cartridges Sealed
Have you ever noticed that when a vase is filled with water, it would dry out eventually? It’s because liquid evaporates. The same principle also applies to ink cartridges when you leave them open and yet you don’t use them. That’s why you should never break the seal open if you aren’t going to use it. Keep them sealed and safe in the box until you want to use them.
What if your cartridge doesn’t come with a seal? Or someone may have broken the seal and leave it exposed? Do these:
• You want to place the cartridge in a (sealed) plastic tub. The nozzle side should be facing upward. If you can find the protective clip or tape, use it on the nozzle before placing the cartridge inside the plastic. If you can be creative and find other alternatives, feel free to do it.
• Place a damp and clean cloth (paper towel will do) inside the plastic tub, right next to the cartridge.
• Then store this plastic tub is dark and cool place. You want to check the damp cloth regularly to ensure that it remains wet. If it starts drying up, moisten it again.
4. Set the Room Temperature
Not many people realize that setting up the temperature while printing can help preventing faster ink drying up. Where most of them believe that room temperature should be set only during storage, that’s not really true.
As it was mentioned before, too cold or too hot temperature can affect the quality of the ink, including making it dry faster. That’s why you should have an ideal room temperature so the ink can last longer. The ideal temperature would be 68 degree Fahrenheit, which is ideal not only for the printer, but also for the people.
With this temperature, the ink will stay in its good condition. Not to mention that the people can also enjoy a pleasant and comfortable working condition. If you haven’t set your office’s temperature, it’s now the right time to do it.
5. Moisten the Cartridges
If you don’t really use the printer often, try moistening the cartridges. If you do this, you won’t have to deal with the test print on a weekly basis, which helps you save up ink.
• Remove the cartridges from the printer.
• Clean the top surface of the cartridges with a damp and clean cloth. You should remove any ink remain that can lead to clogging
• Wipe the (excess) moisture with a dry cloth (preferably the lint free type) before installing the cartridges to the printer. Remember, they should be completely dry; not wet or even humid.
What If the Cartridge Dries up?
First of all, you need to check whether it is completely dried out or it’s simply clogged. In most cases, the nozzles are clogged so the ink won’t come out. You can try cleaning the nozzles first. Check the internet for information and videos to do this.
If the ink still doesn’t come out despite your efforts, it’s most likely that it has dried out. All you can do is to buy a new cartridge. Don’t forget about how to keep printer ink from drying out next time!