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Shake and Replace: Can It Extend Ink Lifespan?

Shake and Replace: Can It Extend Ink Lifespan?

Sep 23rd 2021

You have a very important paper to print, but when it comes out of the printer, you find a mostly white page with a few inky smudges. Is there any way to fix the printer cartridge so that you can get your document right now?

You may have heard that shaking your printer cartridge can extend the lifespan of your ink. In some cases, shaking the cartridge can give you some extra printed pages, but you can use other tactics to extend the life of your cartridges, too.

The Average Lifespans of Ink and Toner Cartridges

You may have noticed that your ink cartridge includes an expiration date. It's not a hard-and-fast guideline, but after the expiration date, you may find the ink beginning to dry up. You can often still use the ink after the expiration date, but you may have better results if you can use it before then.

Original print cartridges generally last up to two years, while a compatible cartridge could be good for up to three years. As the ink dries, it becomes settled in the cartridge, which can lead to printer clogs. If you notice a problem when you print, stop using the cartridge immediately so that it doesn't become a bigger, more expensive issue.

What about toner cartridges? They don't dry out, but you could still experience poor performance and potential damage to your printer if you use them after the expiration date.

Does Shaking the Ink or Toner Cartridge Really Extend Lifespan?

You want to extend the life of your ink or toner cartridge, so does shaking the ink or toner cartridge help? The answer depends on what type of cartridge you have.

Toner cartridges rely on a mixture of zinc and iron, coloring and plastic bits that make up toner powder. The drum unit moves that toner onto the paper, where it becomes fused by heated rollers. Unlike ink, it won't stain your paper, but the cartridge can be fussy.

Because toner cartridges contain powder, the substance can get stuck or stop moving around in the cartridge correctly. If you suspect you still have sufficient toner to print, but it isn't working, you can try shaking the toner to get it moving. Follow these tips for the best results:

  • Be careful when removing the cartridge to avoid damage.
  • Shake the cartridge 15 to 20 times.
  • Put your finger over the toner release hole to prevent powder from leaking out.

When you finish shaking the toner cartridge, reinstall it in your printer and try printing again. You might be able to get up to 30 more pages out of a shaken toner cartridge, which makes the simple fix-it remedy worth the time. But keep in mind that if the cartridge is low on toner, no amount of shaking will change that. If the shaking method doesn't work, you likely have an empty cartridge and not one where the powder has become stuck.

When Not to Shake and Alternatives to Shaking

For an ink cartridge, shaking won't get results. The most likely problem with an ink cartridge is that it has dried out, and no amount of shaking will get the ink moist. Instead, you can wet the ink in the cartridge to get it working again:

  • Open the cartridge gently and run a wet paper towel from front to back of the cartridge opening. Be careful not to rub the ink colors together.
  • Wait until the cartridge is dry, then reinstall it and print something out.
  • If the trick didn't work, try using isopropyl alcohol on the paper towel instead of water.
  • Reinstall the cartridge once it is dry and try printing.

You can use other strategies to extend the life of your printer cartridge as well to avoid shaking it. Run your printer at least once every two weeks to keep the ink from drying out. Store unused printer cartridges upright and in a dry location. Avoid keeping the cartridge in hot or cold places, which can impact the quality of the ink. It may bubble in the heat or separate in the cold.

Find What You Need at Supplies Outlet

Changing your printer ink or toner is often the only way to get your printer working again. While you can extend the life of a toner cartridge by shaking it or get a few more pages out of an ink cartridge by applying moisture, these solutions will only last a few print cycles.

You can find the compatible ink and toner you need at Supplies Outlet. We offer quality products at an average price of 60% less than the name brands, and we sell ink and toner that's compatible with brands like BrotherCanonDellLexmarkHP and more brands. Shop our ink and toner cartridges today and get in touch with any questions.