If I Shake an Ink or Toner Cartridge, does it really Make It Last Longer?

With all printers, like most things, there is only so long a shelf life it can have without giving any issues. And by issues, we mean changing the ink or toner so it can keep printing for you.

Now as luck always has it, you get that indicator that the ink or toner is low on your printer at the exact wrong time! As you try to frantically get new toner or ink for that big presentation you have – you think to yourself “There HAS to be a better way!” 

As far as costs go when it comes to printing, everyone likes to keep their costs down. For the future, it’s best practice to be prepared and make sure you have toner available!

But for our sake, and the sake of your report – sometimes folks resort to quick fixes. Some “experts” would say to take out the cartridge from your printer and give it a good shake to preserve the longevity and give it one last gasp.

Is shaking your cartridge a myth?

The long answer is, it really depends. Toner cartridges are filled with black powder and while they seem to last a lot longer than ink cartridges, there is a possibility that some of that powder can get jammed and needs to be jarred loose. 

Absolutely give it a shot by taking out the cartridge, shaking it 15-20 times and see if it restores life. Much like blowing on the Mario Nintendo cartridge a quarter century ago, you just never know what could bring it back to life. By shaking the cartridge and jarring the powder loose, you can give your printer another 20-30 pages.

Word of caution however is you should be careful when you take out the cartridge to give it a shake. We recommend covering the hole where the cartridge would release the powder as it can get messy and can pose a health risk if you are not protected.

With inkjet printers, where the insides are made of liquid or a gel substance, there is less of a chance that shaking would help. However, it certainly can’t hurt – so cover the cartridge after removal, give it a shake and see what happens.

More often with inkjet printers, is the common problem that the actual ink has dried up and needs to be moisturized to perform better. As opposed to shaking the cartridge, we recommend gently opening the cartridge and applying a wet paper towel across the opening in a front-to-back motion so as to not smear the other colors. If water doesn’t take, try isopropyl alcohol and follow the same steps. With either instance, you should wait to make sure the cartridge is dry before replacing it into the printer. 

You may have salvaged your cartridge with a few more pages!

So, in the end of the day, does shaking your cartridge work? Truth be told, you can get some more life out of your cartridge by applying the steps, if the situation arises. Next time, be sure to be prepared and have a stock of toner cartridges ready to replace your current one.

At Quest4Toner, we ensure the highest quality of toner and ink cartridges and offer the best prices across Canada, so you won’t have to worry yourself with any last-minute shaking!

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