Best Way to Store Ink and Toner Cartridges at Home

It’s important for us to know the best way to store ink and toner cartridges in our home office environment.

Home offices are a way of life for many people. We rely on our home offices to be a place where we can do our daily activities that are required to maintain our income. When we conduct business at home we need to do it in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. We must avoid the mistakes that cost us money.

This article focuses on a small, but important part of our home office operation, Our printers, and best practices. It’s important for us to know the best way to store ink and toner cartridges in our home office. This article explains ink storage methods that can save resources, time, and money.

Best Way to Store Ink and Toner Cartridges to Prevent Damage

Ink refills are expensive whether they are branded (OEM) ink cartridge refills or non-OEM ink cartridge refills. To ensure that expensive cartridges don’t go to waste we must know the best way to store ink and toner cartridges.

In most business environments it is necessary to always have a set of replacement ink cartridges available on site. That means that they will have to be stored somewhere, in some fashion.

What is the best way to store ink and toner cartridges? Ink cartridges and toner cartridges do have a shelf life. These products are expensive and it’s important to get the most out of your ink and toner cartridges. Here are some recommendations for the best way to store ink and toner cartridges.

Best way to store ink and toner cartridges

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  1. Keep Cartridges in Factory Packaging — That means keep them sealed. It does not make sense to open the packaging until its time to install the ink cartridges in the printer. Original packaging is designed to protect the ink cartridge from being exposed to air. Air can dry out ink cartridges.
  2. Always Store Ink Cartridges in the Upright Position — By storing ink cartridges upright it helps to avoid any leakage that could occur. Some manufacturers recommend storing their ink cartridges with the print head facing up. Multi-colored ink cartridges should never be stored on their sides. Refer to manufacturer directions for specifics.
  3. Always Store Ink Cartridges in a Dark and Cool Space — The more precautions you take the longer the ink cartridges will last. The longer the better because it allows you to buy ink cartridges in higher quantities resulting in a lower price per cartridge. An air-conditioned office is cool enough and a drawer or a cabinet will keep the ink cartridges from being exposed to sunlight.

What if you need to store an opened printer ink cartridge?

There are times when you will need to store opened ink cartridges. Perhaps you only use the printer on rare occasions. In some situations, leaving the ink cartridge in a printer for extended periods of non-use can result in damage to the cartridge and perhaps the printer.

The ink cartridge can be stored in a heavy-duty Zip-lock type bag and stored on the top shelf of your refrigerator. I have store ink cartridges this way for periods of more than a year successfully.

How long can you store opened ink and toner cartridges?

If kept in the right conditions like a cool, dark, and dry place they can be stored up to six months (longer in the frig). A general rule of thumb when storing unopened cartridges is to assume a two-year shelf life.

  1. Pay Attention to Shelf Life — Most toner cartridges have a recommended shelf life. It’s a good idea to store toner cartridges no longer than one year as a general guideline. Remember, the high volume toner cartridges can last under normal usage situations for over a year once installed in the printer.
  2. Store Toner Cartridges in a Cool, Dark, and Dry Space — Similiar to ink cartridges, toner cartridges should be stored at around 75 degrees or less. They should be stored in a dry location that is not exposed to sunlight. A cabinet, or in a drawer is a suitable location. Avoid storage locations like janitorial closets.
  3. Store Toner Cartridges in Original Packaging — Original toner cartridge packaging is sealed and protects the cartridge from humidity and dry air. It protects the toner cartridge from dust and light also.

How to Store a Printer When Not in Use

There are times when you may need to store an inkjet printer. Perhaps you have purchased a new printer and want to keep the old one for a backup, or perhaps just store it until you find a new home for it. If you want to store a printer when not in use here are some general guidelines to use. When storing an inkjet printer:

  • Don’t Remove The Ink Cartridges — leave the ink cartridges in the printer. There are exceptions. For example, if you are not storing the printer in an upright position, then remove the cartridges. NOTE: When storing a laser printer the toner cartridge should be removed.
  • Remove Paper and Secure Doors and Panels — Remove paper and use small pieces of masking tape to secure doors and panels to keep them from opening and getting damaged.
  • Put the Printer in a Large Bag — Use the original packaging bag if possible or use a large trash bag. This will protect the printer from dust and moisture in the air.
  • Box Up the Printer and Accessories — When boxing up the printer be sure to include the manual, cables, and other accessories. Store in a cool place, avoid hot areas like attics or outdoor sheds.
best way to store inkjet cartridges that are opened

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If you do not want to store a printer when not in use ensure that it remains plugged in so it can perform the occasional head cleaning routines. If you do store the printer when not in use be sure to perform a head cleaning before storing.

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Ink and Toner Cartridges

Now we know the best way to store ink and toner cartridges in our home office environment. We also need to know how to avoid costly mistakes when buying and using ink and toner cartridges. Following are 5 mistakes to avoid:

  1. Make Sure Your Printer Meets Your Needs — This is mentioned first because your printing habits should dictate the type of printer you use. For instance, if you only print occasionally photos, text, and color images an inkjet printer will probably suit your needs. If you print documents in color in high volumes then a laser printer that uses a toner cartridge may be a better choice.
  2. Don’t Overpay for Your Cartridges — Replacing ink and toner cartridges is something that becomes a regular recurring purchase. The money spent on these supplies can add up. One way to save is to always buy high-yield cartridges. These cartridges can print more pages, lowering your cost per printed page. If your printer will use cartridges other than branded (OEM) cartridges use those instead. There are many sources for replacement cartridges that are a lot less expensive than branded OEM cartridges.
  3. Buying and Installing the Wrong Cartridge — Printer ink and toner cartridges often share identical physical characteristics. This means that it is possible to install an incorrect ink or toner cartridge into your printer. It will fit in, but it won’t work. Once the cartridge is open you probably won’t be able to return it for a refund. Costly mistake. To avoid this take your old cartridges with you to the store to match them with the proper ones. If buying online double-check printer model and printer cartridge numbers. It’s easy to misread part numbers.

When shopping for a printer match your selection with your printing needs. Be aware of the best way to store ink and toner cartridges so that you can buy in volume. Always consider the maintenance costs including the price of ink refills when considering a printer for purchase.

Read more: Best Security Practices When Working From Home

Featured image by Upklyak

Updated 02/15/2021 by Kirby Allen