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How to Keep Your Ink From Drying Out

Mar 23rd 2021

This happens to everyone at some point. You try to print something and despite having lots of ink, the document comes out with streaky lines, unclear text, and distorted colors. And of course, this happens when you need to print an important document quickly. 

What’s more puzzling is you know that your printer shouldn't be out of ink. Since buying ink, you haven’t printed that much. There is good and bad news. The good news is your ink cartridge isn't empty; the ink might be dry. And the bad news? A dry ink cartridge is as good as an empty one. In case you haven't figured it out yet, ink can dry out, especially if you don’t print regularly. And if you're not careful about storing yours, you'll be left with a page of striped faded lines instead of clear print on paper. Don’t worry, it can be prevented and we’ll go over what to do. 

How Inkjet Printers Work 

Inkjet printers are great! They offer vibrant colors and can print high-resolution images. To understand why printer ink cartridges dry out, you'll need to know how an inkjet printer works. Inkjet printers have a print head with many tiny openings. These holes then release tiny droplets of ink onto the paper through heat or vibration. Interestingly, inkjet printers use liquid ink, and as with every liquid, they can dry out when exposed to external factors. However, its printing abilities will not matter much if your ink always drying up. 

Why do Ink Cartridges Dry Out? 

  1. The most common reason is infrequent printer use. If you don't use your printer often, the ink can dry out. 
  2. Cartridges can also dry out if you keep them close to heat sources such as a heater or in direct sunlight. 
  3. Refilling your ink cartridges can cause drying if not refilled correctly. Air can get into the cartridge and clog print heads. 

No More Dry Printer Ink: Here’s How to Save Them

Several factors can dry out your printer's ink. Thankfully, there are reliable ways to prevent the ink from drying out again. Here are a few tips to help you: 


If you print infrequently, meaning once every few weeks, it is best to remove the cartridges and store them in a zippered plastic bag or container. Remove the air from the zippered bag as air exposure can dry out the cartridges.

What's more, placing a small moist cloth in the bag will help keep the environment moist. However, make sure the cloth doesn't touch the nozzles of the cartridge because damp clothes can draw the ink out. 

Maintain the Perfect Frequency 

What's the perfect printing frequency to maintain? Too much printing can finish your ink, and too little can clog your nozzles. Printing every week is a perfect balance between both frequencies. It ensures that you print enough to keep your ink flowing and enough to maximize ink use.

Dampen the Cartridge 

This sounds weird, but it is effective. Dampening can potentially prolong your cartridge's lifespan and safely keep up a steady flow of ink during printing. 

This comes in handy when you hardly use the cartridges but still want to save them from drying out. 

To do this, remove the cartridges from your printer. Get a towel and moisten it. Next, clean the top of your cartridge to remove any residual ink. Do not forget to dry the cartridges before putting them back. 

Switch off Your Printer 

If you want to keep your ink fresh start the habit of turning off your printer whenever you are done printing by pressing the power button. It ensures the heat from the printer does not dry out the ink and cartridges return to their off position and are capped. 

The Solution for Thirsty Printers 

Granted, inkjet cartridges do not last forever but if they are stored in a cool dry place can last for years. For those who do not print often, it can be quite frustrating, especially when you want to do a quick print job. 

If you do need ink, Supplies Outlet can help. We stock a large selection of inkjet cartridges and inkjet refill kits so that you can have quality ink when you need it. With free shipping over $50 and delivery within 2 days for most of the US, Supplies Outlet should be your first choice for replacement printer ink.