How to properly care for your printer cartridges

01 Oct, 2020


We understand that taking care of printer cartridges is probably not your top business priority, but it should at least be on the list. It’s no secret that printer ink is not cheap, in fact, it’s one of the most expensive liquids per litre in the world! Taking proper care of your printer cartridges will prevent a lot of expensive cartridge failures.

1. Storing printer cartridges

Printer cartridges are sensitive to heat, and should never be stored at temperatures above 40°C. This means not keeping them in hot cars or hot cupboards over the summer. Your printer cartridges are at risk of leaking and, in some cases, exploding, when exposed to excessive heat. New Zealand’s sun can be intense, so just make sure that wherever you keep your cartridges doesn’t become an oven in the heat. You don’t want to keep them too cold either, as below about -20°C, they will begin to fail.

Another important thing to note is that printer cartridges do not like to be stored in direct sunlight or humidity. They should be stored on level surfaces and remain in their packaging until right before being inserted into the printer.

2. Installing printer cartridges

The best thing to do before inserting your printer cartridges is to read the instructions. We know that no one likes to do that, but each printer is unique, and it is the best way to ensure that your printer doesn’t have any quirks that you aren’t used to.

When the time comes to replace your printer cartridges, be aware that when your printer indicates that printer ink is low, this generally means you have about 20% ink remaining. Really this is a reminder to be stocked up with cartridges for when the one in the printer runs out, but you are not hurting the printer at all by printing down to the last drop of ink. Replace the cartridge only when you can no longer print.

3. Printer Cartridges drying up

Did you know that printer cartridges can dry up if they are not used regularly? The easiest solution to this is to use your printer! If you feel like you haven’t been giving your printer the love it deserves, do a test print to keep the ink flowing.

There is an easy fix if your printer cartridges have already dried up. Grab a damp paper towel and a dry paper towel and blot the cartridge on the damp paper towel print-head side down. Then hold the cartridge against your dry paper towel for 30 seconds. This should get any dry ink out of the head of the cartridge and unclog it. This process will not work with every type of printer cartridge. It only works with integrated cartridge heads, and not with the type that utilises cartridges that pop into a print-head built into the printer.

4. Prolong your printer cartridges

Get the most out of your printer cartridges by employing just a few easy tricks:

a) Print notes, emails, and other internal-only documents in draft mode.

b) Print in colour only for creative documents like graphics or marketing materials. Printing in colour typically costs five to seven times more than printing in monochrome.

c) Always keep your printer updated with the latest software, which will help your printer stay in good condition and reduce strain on printer cartridges.

d) Leave your printer on all the time. Shutting your printer off between uses triggers a maintenance process when it turns back on, which pushes printer ink through the pipes. This uses up ink and will only be performed when necessary if the printer remains on.

5. Dispose of your printer cartridges properly

One million printer cartridges everyday end up in landfill, and because they are mostly plastic, they take up to 1000 years to decompose. They can have a seriously detrimental effect on the environment, but there are ways to lessen this impact significantly.

One of the best ways is to reuse your cartridges by having them refilled. All you need to do is visit one of over 30 stores across New Zealand and bring your empty cartridges to be swapped with previously refilled cartridges. Be aware that not every store has the capability to do every kind of cartridge refill, so it is always a good idea to call your local store and ask the question in advance.

It really is not that hard to ensure that your printer cartridges remain in the best condition possible, and the results of doing so are huge. You’ll find yourself replacing cartridges less frequently, which results in big savings.


Printer ink is expensive. Taking good care of your inks & toners can help you increase their life, saving you lots of money.