Storing Unopened Toner and Ink Cartridges

So you’ve stockpiled and bought your ink or toner in bulk. You are now the proud owner of an endless supply of printing and you’ve begun storing unopened toner and ink cartridges. You are now ready to print endlessly should Armageddon come and strike down upon us. In the likelihood that we aren’t thrown into the perils of doom and despair, however, the toner you now have stored will last longer than you probably think!.

Allow us to explain.

When you bought your toner and proceeded to stock them in your basement, you’ve started the clock on the life of your toner and in essence, will have to use it before time expires. Like food, toner and ink cartridges as well as printers have an expiration date, depending on a few factors:

  • Is it in its original packaging?
  • Has your printer been exposed to the sun?
  • How often do you use your printer and when you tried your new “old” toner in the printer – when was the last time you used it?

These factors come into play when you have a printer you may not have used in a while and when you go back to put in new toner or ink, it’s showing it won’t work. So what’s the deal?

 A few factors can contribute to why your toner unopened toner and ink cartridges may not work, even in its original packaging. The fresher the cartridge – like food – the better, as over time your cartridges can be exposed to air or high temperatures, it loses its vitality and can hasten a hardening process.

This process, in essence, thickens the ink components of your cartridge and can cause it to be unusable in your printer. The normal shelf life of an unused toner or ink cartridge is around two years.

Our recommendations for those that don’t do a whole lot of printing but want to make sure their stored cartridges don’t go to waste would be to make sure to keep using the printer it’s in.  Simply put, use your printer every couple of weeks just to keep it flowing and gives off positive results. Think of it like a car or a lawn mower that’s been sitting for too long in your garage and needs to be restarted after the winter months.

It needs to keep humming in order for it to be functional for when you DO need it! 

Also, make sure to keep your ink and toner cartridges away from the sun and in a cool place in its full upright position.

It is good to note though that if you have a toner cartridge, the likelihood of it “going bad” is lower than more susceptible ink cartridges – yet another reason to go toner vs ink when deciding on a printer.

Our wholehearted recommendation would be to make sure to keep fresh cartridges handy for when you need to do your printing. Leaving them stockpiled in your underground bunker may seem like a good idea – but may detrimental to your wallet and your crawl space!

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