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How to Keep Printer ink from Drying Out & Last Longer

Do you have an inkjet printer? If you do, then you know that you need to keep the printer ink from drying out.

Printer ink is expensive, and it’s no fun when it dries up and you have to buy more. So, how can you prevent your printer ink from drying out? Read on to find out.

Why Do Printer Ink Cartridges Dry Out? 

To prevent ink from drying out, it’s important to understand why this happens. The most common reason is that you don’t use your printer often enough. Infrequent use causes the ink to dry out and cause clogged nozzles. Cartridges can dry out if they are expired or if they are too left in direct sunlight.

How can I make my printer ink last longer?

Refilling your own ink cartridges incorrectly can cause problems too. Air could get inside the cartridge and cause the ink to dry out and clog the print heads. You should buy ink cartridges from a reputable seller instead.

Tip 1: Use your Printer Regularly

To keep nozzles unclogged, use your printer at least once a week. When you print something, it helps to keep everything flowing so that there is less chance of clogging.

When you are printing, make sure that your document uses all of the colors in your cartridges. Your printer should have an option to print a test page. This will test all of the colors to make sure they are working. Inkjet printers are designed to be used regularly, and doing so can cause the ink to dry out. Making an effort to use your printer more frequently is one of the best things you can do to keep your printer running smoothly long term.

Tip 2: Keeping Cartridges Moist

Moistening can help your printer cartridges last longer. Put on gloves to protect your hands and remove the cartridges from the printer. Clean by wiping the top of them with a damp cloth or paper towel. This will help protect the cartridges from becoming clogged and make sure they flow smoothly when printing.

Tip 3: Configure the Room Temperature

When ink cartridges are exposed to certain temperatures, they can dry out quickly. Ink may also dry out more quickly in places that are too dry. If the air in your office feels very dry, you might want to turn on a humidifier so that the air will be moist and your ink won’t dry out so quickly. A humidifier can also make you feel better because it is a very comfortable way to keep yourself cool.

Tip 4: Store Your Cartridges Properly During Extended Periods of Non-Use

When you will not use your printer for a long time, it is sometimes recommended to store the ink cartridges outside of the device. If you don’t have the protective cap, put your cartridge in a plastic zippered bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible.  You can also place a damp cloth or paper towel inside the bag to keep moisture to prevent the ink from drying. But make sure that this cloth or towel does not come into contact with any part of the cartridge.

Store cartridges in a cool, dry place. Keep cartridges upright and store them somewhere that is not too hot or cold and avoid placing them in direct sunlight. 

If you are not sure about the best way to store your inkjet cartridges, look in your device’s manual. Some manufacturers recommend leaving their cartridges inside the device rather than removing them.

Tip 5: Switch off your printer when not in use

If you will not be using your printer for a while, turn it off by pressing its power button. When you do this, the print head moves into a position that protects it from drying out.

If you want to turn your device off, press the power button first. If you just unplug it or switch off a power strip, the heads will remain where they are when the power is cut. This will make them dry out more quickly.

What to Do if Your Printer Ink Dries Out

Maybe you had a long vacation and your printer was not used for a while. You might have been sick or unable to take care of the printer. Maybe you did not store the ink cartridges well or closed the seal when you were done with it. When someone is busy at home and work, they often forget things like this. 

Fortunately, there are ways to fix these dried-out ink cartridges before buying new ones.

Try Your Printer’s Print Head Cleaning Routine

Most inkjet printers have a tool to clean the print heads. You can access it from your printer dialogue or from a touchscreen if you have one. Some models even have a button that is designed for this purpose. If you can’t find the tool, right-click on the printer icon. On the menu that pops up, click “Utility,” “Settings,” “Properties,” or “Toolbox.” Look for a troubleshooting or maintenance option.

If you can’t find it, search for the printer’s model number and “print head cleaning”. You should be able to find some easy instructions that show you how to locate and run the utility that cleans the printer heads. To print a test page, you may need to do it a few times. If you do not see any improvement after a couple of tries, try the next option.

Clean with water

Many inks are water-soluble. They can be washed away if the print head cleaning routine does not work. You can try washing it with hot water to clean the nozzles. Fill a bowl or cup with hot water, submerge your cartridge, and then wait for 5-10 minutes. Put the cartridge on damp paper towels with the nozzles facing down. When it is dry, put it back in your printer and do a self-cleaning process again.

To clean your ink nozzles, take the cartridge off of the printer. Use rubbing alcohol on a cloth or cotton swab to gently rub the nozzles. This might need to be done a few times. Then put it back in the printer and try the printer’s self-cleaning setting again. If this does not work, you may need to replace the cartridge.


Does printer ink dry out if not used?

Cartridges last longer if they are stored correctly and will dry up if they are not used properly. Make sure that your cartridge is sealed and stored upright in a cool, dark space like a desk cupboard to get the most use out of it.

How do you save on HP and Epson ink?

1. Know your printer

How many pages will your printer cartridge last? It depends on what you want to print. You can find how many pages you can print by reading the description for the cartridge that works with your printer. Some printers will use more ink than others.

2. Buy your in bulk

Buying more than one or two ink cartridges at a time can save you money. Some come in XL-size, which is cheaper than buying two smaller ones. Ink sometimes comes in packs of three, five, ten, etc. You can get them cheaper if you buy more than one or two at a time.

3. Go Instant with Ink Subscription

If you want to never worry about buying printer ink, then sign up for the HP Instant Ink subscription program. This will automatically ship new cartridges to your home or office before you run out. It is cheaper than paying for each cartridge because HP charges a flat monthly fee for a predetermined number of pages, instead of charging per cartridge. There is also no commitment so if you don’t print much one month, your unused pages will roll over to the next month’s allotment.

4. Optimize print settings

Your printer might set some settings to what they think is best for you, even if it isn’t. You should check your quality settings for the printer and choose the one that best fits what you usually print. If you usually print things that don’t need high quality, then this will save ink and money long term. 

5. Choose grayscale

Many black-and-white print jobs use more than just black ink, especially if you are doing something that does not require color. To avoid this, turn off these cartridges when printing.

6. Single color cartridges

Having a printer that has three small cartridges for each color is better than a printer with one cartridge. This way, you can replace one cartridge when it is empty and not waste the other ink at the same time.

7. Print with care

When you print something, take a moment to see how many of your latest print jobs were unnecessary and figure out if there is a pattern. You can save files on your computer or read documents on an e-reader instead of printing them out.

How long does it take for printer ink to dry up?

When a photo is an inkjet printed, it can be touched right after printing. But wait 24 hours for the paper to dry and fully cure.

Why does my printer run out of ink so fast?

Every printer cartridge has a number of pages it can print. People should know this before they buy the cartridge. If you print many images or text without spacing between them, you will use up more ink and the cartridge will not last as long.

How long can a printer sit unused?

After 3 months of non-use, about 9 out of 10 inkjets are not able to work. Just remember to do print head cleaning and print test page before printing again.

Does printing GREY save ink?

When printing black and white, you use both black ink and color ink. Some printers only have one kind of ink. If your printer does this, you can save some money by just using black ink.

Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean printer heads?

The sponge part of a blocked printer head can be cleaned with only one liquid other than water. This liquid is isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol can be used to dissolve the ink inside the blocked printer head.

Why does my printer say it’s out of ink when it’s not?

If the cartridge in your printer is not firmly in its slot, then this error message will show up. You can fix it by putting in a new cartridge. If you put in a new cartridge before the driver resets, then the printer might think that there’s still an empty one inside, even when really there is not.

Will a printer work after sitting for years?

The ink in your printer can dry out if it is not used for a long time. You can avoid this by priming the cartridges a couple of times a year. Another solution is to run your printhead cleaning cycle until you get the best results.

Can you put all black ink in a color printer?

If your printer uses two different types of black ink, you can only install two black ink cartridges. If you try to install a black ink cartridge in a color cartridge slot, the printer will not work and you could damage the printer.

Is it better to print in color or black and white?

Even though black and color cartridges have the same physical impact on the environment, black and white printing is better for the environment because it uses less ink and results in less cartridges ending up in landfills.

What saves more ink grayscale or black and white?

If you have a black ink cartridge and it is low and you also have color cartridges that are not used, this is how to save the black ink. You can use grayscale to use less black ink.


In this blog post, we have learned about all of the ways to keep ink from drying out. We hope you found our tips useful and that they will help you save money in the future. If there is anything else you need assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out.