Printer ink cartridges, like many other goods, have expiration dates. An ink cartridge has a shelf life and cannot be stored for an indefinite period of time, whether inside or outside the printer.
Here in this post, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the useful life of this expensive inkjet printer consumable.
WHY DO INK CARTRIDGES EXPIRE?
Printer ink formulations are purposely designed to evaporate quickly. It’s because of rapid-drying that your inkjet produces smudge-free prints. (To know more, you can read our post on how printer ink works.)Over time, the ink inside a cartridge dries out. It begins to settle.
Exposure to air accelerates evaporation of ink and may also degrade its composition.
Even if the ink cartridge is intact in an airtight package, it will still continue to dry up. Over a period of time, the oxidation process will ruin the ink.
HOW LONG DOES AN INK CARTRIDGE LAST IN ITS SEALED PACKAGE?
The shelf life of an ink cartridge is the estimated timeframe it will last if kept in its sealed package. The shelf life of an ink cartridge is indicated by its expiration date.
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) inks typically have a shelf life of around two years. Compatible inks, on the other hand, generally have a shelf life up to three years.
Keep in mind that all ink cartridges sold on the Internet or at your local office supplies store may not have labeled expiration date.
So, what if there is no expiration date on your ink cartridge?
Well, as a safe measure, you should assume the shelf life to be around one to two years.
HOW LONG DOES INK USUALLY LAST INSIDE THE PRINTER?
Since the seals have been taken off, the ink cartridges installed on your inkjet printer are likely to dry up more quickly.
This is why it's important to print at least one or two pages each week or fortnight.
This way, the ink is far less likely to clog, both inside the cartridge chamber and on the printhead.
Put simply, when you regularly use your inkjet printer, the ink inside a cartridge will remain usable until its expiration date.