Can Printer Ink Dry Out Over Time? 2023

Has it ever happened that as you were to print an essential document and found that the printer ink has dried out? That time you may have thought: how can printer ink dry out over time? Yes, it happens at times that the printer ink dries out due to some reasons. 

It is a bitter reality that ink cartridges’ life is very limited. Despite the fact that you haven’t used the ink still it dries out sometimes. So, if the ink cartridges are placed in the printer but not in use, they may dry out or clog the cartridges. 

We will explore the reasons for drying out of ink in this article. Not only this but we’ll also discuss some of the ways that can save the printer ink from drying out. It is also true that if you take care of your ink cartridges but don’t use the ink for an extended duration, the ink will dry out automatically. But we can do our best to get the maximum out of the ink cartridges

Ink cartridge’s shelf life: 

The ink cartridges have a maximum shelf life of 24 months from the date of manufacturing. The replacement compatible cartridges’ shelf life is 36 months. Some ink cartridges come with an expiry date and when that date comes, the printer might shut down or wouldn’t accept cartridges to avoid any sort of damage to it.  

Another factor that is important regarding the ink cartridges’ life is the quality of the ink. The high-quality ink cartridges are pricey and last more than the cheaper ones. But there are other factors responsible for the drying of ink other than expiry date and shelf life. So let’s have a look at them also.

Factors responsible for drying the printer ink:

Now, we will discuss the factors that can dry out the printer ink over time: 

1- When the printer is not in use:

It is a common factor that may cause the printer ink to dry out. When the printer is not in use for a longer duration, the ink may flee away. You may later think that I didn’t print any page for a long time then how did the ink dry out? But that issue occurs because the ink cartridges are open and exposed to air which ultimately dries them. Consequently, the dried ink clogs the nozzles of the printer.

2- When ink is not stored properly:

Sometimes the ink dries because you haven’t stored it properly. If you want the printer ink not to dry out rapidly then keep ink cartridges straight. When the cartridges are standing upright, ink settles down in them. The ink when present at the bottom goes smoothly towards the sponge for printing. But if the cartridges are sideward. then they can dry out more fastly. 

3- Expired ink:

Another issue regarding printer ink is that if it is not placed in the printer, still it can dry out. Even if you haven’t opened the seal but the expiry date has reached, the ink will dry out. So, don’t think that only ink being exposed to open air can run out.  

4- Intense weather:

The ink cartridges also dry out during extreme hot or cold weather. So, take care of your ink cartridges in summer and winter. Especially the unused or less used ink can evaporate out of the cartridges in intense weather. You can control this issue by keeping the room temperature normal. 

5- Refilled ink cartridges:

Most people find it less costly to refill the cartridges instead of buying new ones. But the refilled cartridges are more likely to dry out because the air gets in the cartridges during the refilling process. Ultimately, it causes the ink to dry out.  

Ways to save printer ink from drying out over time:

Sometimes the printer is not that expensive but its ink is pricey and overall ink is a huge burden on the user’s budget. What if you have to print some special document and are happy that you’ll get done with this task instantly but get to know that ink is dried out? So, you can save your expensive ink cartridges by keeping the following points in mind.

1- Keep using the ink cartridges:

An easy tip to keep the cartridges active is to print a few pages even when you don’t need any printed documents. It’s an effective way to save ink cartridges from drying out. Moreover, it is also beneficial in this manner that you’ll be having information that the ink is about to finish. 

2- Normal temperature:

As we discussed before, extreme temperatures are not good for printer ink as it can dry out in hot and cold seasons easily. So, to prevent your ink cartridges from drying out, keep your office or room temperature normal. Otherwise, you’ll be having this issue most of the time of the year.

3- Keep the printer clean:

If you take care of your printer and clean it regularly, the ink’s life span can increase. Clean the printhead gently and remove the excess ink from the cartridges. Then keep the cartridges back in their place and start printing. By cleaning the ink cartridges after every few days, you ought to get more out of your ink cartridges.

4- Proper storage:

A better way to save your printer ink from drying out is to store them when not in use. Just take the cartridges out of the printer and keep them safe somewhere else where the temperature is normal. If you can wrap them in a damp cloth that would be better. 

5- Shutdown the printer when not in use: 

It’s a very simple thing, but sometimes we don’t give much consideration to this issue. Whenever you are not using the printer, turn it off. That will help the printer ink not to dry out rapidly.


We briefly discussed here the issue: can printer ink dry out over time and came up with valuable information regarding this question. Because the answer to this question is yes, thus, we tried to tell you about those simple ways which can save printer ink from drying out. Take care of the printer and its ink cartridges and give importance to their maintenance, no doubt the printer ink’s lifespan will definitely increase.

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