How to Fix a Dried Ink Cartridge

Printers are essential for office life, business, and school needs. They allow us to quickly and easily print out documents, photos, and other files. However, like any other electronic device, printers can experience issues from time to time. Printer ink drying out is the most commonly faced problem in offices, causing errors in printing or poor quality of print.

So to help you learn how to fix a dried ink cartridge, we've discussed exactly what to do in this post. We hope this detailed blog post will help you resolve any dry ink cartridge issues you may be experiencing!

Can Printer Ink Dry Up? - Top 5 Reasons

Do ink cartridges dry out? Ink cartridges typically begin to dry out if you stop printing for a long time. This is because the ink is no longer kept in the cartridge and is stuck in the nozzles. If printer ink gets too dry, it clogs up the print head, preventing it from producing accurate prints. Why does printer ink dry out? Here are a few reasons:

1. Improper Storage

The most common reason for dry printer ink is the extremely high or low temperature in the storage area. This is especially true for rarely-used ink cartridges, as the ink inside doesn't move around for temperature regulation.

Also, if you don't properly store the cartridges, they can dry quickly. This mainly happens if you store them in a downright position, so the ink settles at the top of the cartridge, leading to unclear, dried-out and streaky prints.

2. Clogged Printhead

Not cleaning the print heads properly on ink cartridges can lead to printer ink drying out at the top side, which leads to unclear prints. Although many modern printers have auto head-cleaning functions, old printer owners have to take a manual approach. You have the option of cleaning the printheads automatically or manually. Do this to maintain the ink quality and prevent a dry ink cartridge.

3. Printing Occasionally

Can ink cartridges dry out if I don't print often? The short answer is yes! Infrequent usage is another leading cause of printer ink drying out. If you don't use the printer regularly or do so after weeks of gaps, the ink can dry up quickly.

4. Sun Exposure

If you store your cartridges in direct sunlight, you'll get dry printer ink quickly. This is because of the ultraviolet rays from the sun that can cause the ink to evaporate. This will eventually lead to the ink cartridge not working properly. When buying cartridges, make sure you don't leave them in your car or in a sunny area to avoid getting printer ink dried up.

5. Expired Cartridge

How long does printer ink last before it dries up? Many people don't even realize that printer cartridges have an expiration date. And that they might be past that due date, and that's why you have a dry ink cartridge. Although many major cartridge makers don't print expiry dates on them, they last for 2-3 years at best. Plus, storing the cartridges for 12 months without any use can lead to them drying out.

How to Fix a Dried Ink Cartridge? – 2 Ways

What to do if ink cartridge dries up? If you find yourself in the middle of a printer ink dry-out situation, don't just take out the cartridges and throw them away. You may experience poor print quality but there's still a remedy. There is one very crucial thing you can do first, which involves cleaning and testing the cartridges. As mentioned, you can either clean the printhead automatically or manually to fix dried ink cartridge.

Our cleaning a printhead guide has easy to follow instructions for automatic and manual cleaning. Plus, you'll get information on how to know if your print heads need cleaning. You can also watch an instructional video on how to fix a dried ink cartridge for a quick and easy solution.

How to Keep Printer Ink From Drying Out? – 6 Tips

While ink does dry out, there are ways you can prevent it from happening. You'll be able to save time and money when you know how to take care of your cartridges. In this part, we'll give you 6 helpful tips on how to keep printer ink from drying out.

1. Print Often

Can ink dry up in a printer? The main culprits of printer ink dried out are clogged nozzles, and this happens when the printer is not used for a long time. The residual ink in the nozzles dries up and clogs them as a result. So to ensure this doesn't happen and you don't waste ink on cleaning the print head later on, try to print something at least once a week. This helps keep the ink flowing from the nozzles, not letting it sit inside long enough to dry up.

2. Store Cartridges Properly

Will printer ink dry up if not used? Yes, but with proper storage, you'll be able to avoid this problem. If you regularly print, having some extra ink doesn't hurt. If the ones in the printer are depleted, you don't have to stop your printing operations, just grab one from the storage and resume printing. However, the ink can dry up if you do not store it in the right place and in the right manner. Proper storage is vital on how to prevent printer ink from drying out. Here's what to do:

How to Store?
Make sure to always store the ink cartridges in an upright position. If you put the cartridges upside down or sideways, the ink will go towards one side and cause problems when you print right after installing the cartridge.
Where to Store?
If you want to ensure your cartridges stay nice and liquid and do not cause print quality issues, make sure to store them someplace dry and dark. Whether you put them inside a box or on a shelf, make sure they are at room temperature. If the ink cartridges are near high heat or cold, you can expect poor print quality, rendering the cartridges useless. To avoid a dried ink cartridge, it should be stored in a room with a temperature of 15 to 35 degrees Celsius (5 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit).

3. Keep Your Cartridges Sealed

If you leave the cartridges open, the ink inside will dry up. It's just like if you keep a water bottle open for too long, it will dry out eventually. So the best way to approach this is to keep the cartridges sealed and only open them when you need to use them. If you don't have a sealed cartridge, you can do the following to ensure its safety:

  1. Take a sealed plastic tub and put the cartridge inside with its nozzle side facing up.
  2. Place a damp paper towel or cloth inside, beside the cartridge.
  3. Seal the plastic tub and put it somewhere dark and cool.
  4. Check the damp towel or paper every now and then to ensure it's still wet. This way, you can know whether or not the sealed container is sealing the moisture in.

4. Place the Printer at a Normal Temperature

If you're following proper carriage storage but still wondering why does printer ink dry out, it may be because of the placement of your printer. You do not just have to worry about the cartridges that are outside the printer. You need to ensure the ones being used are also protected. This means not keeping your printer in a place that has varying temperatures. Do not put it directly under the sun, the air conditioner, or heaters.

5. Use Good Quality Cartridges

Whether you're using original or genuine cartridges, ensure that you're buying high-quality. Research and read reviews first before making a purchase. Make sure that you read the company policy as well for remanufactured and compatible ink cartridges. Low quality cartridges can lead to printer ink drying up problems.

6. Opt for a Laser Printer

This one is for those who do not print as much and only use their printers occasionally. Since infrequent use can clog up the inkjet printer's ink cartridges or nozzles, you can opt for a laser printer. The laser printer's toner cartridges use powder to print; the good thing about powder is that it doesn't dry out

Do Ink Tank Printers Dry Up?

Ink tank printers can also dry up since they use the same kind of printer ink as inkjets. If you're using ink bottles, improper storage, occasional printing, sun exposure, and expiry dates can also lead to dry printer ink. What you can do is perform an automatic cleaning cycle on your printer. It's the same process with inkjets. The tips above on how to stop printer ink drying up, such as proper storage and printing, often apply to ink tanks as well.

Parting Words:

There you have it – everything about why does printer ink dry out and how to fix a dried ink cartridge. The reason for the ink drying up is simple — the cartridges aren't well maintained. You will notice that when your cartridge gets dry, there is a decrease in print quality.

Not only does this make printing difficult, but it may also lead to unusable documents if left untreated for too long. To keep your ink from drying out, just make sure to follow the steps above regularly so that you can keep your cartridges in good shape!

Our customer service staff is ready to help you, whether you need good cartridges for your printer or help with your printing jobs. You can call CompAndSave's toll-free number: 1-833-465-6888 from Monday to Friday, 6am-4pm PT for further assistance.