How To Store Ink Cartridges (Home & Office)
By Simon Williams - 30th Oct 2023

Storing printer ink cartridges is likely a task that many of us avid printer users or even small business owners have had to tackle in the past. It’s common sense to bulk buy ink cartridges for your printer if you stumble across a cartridge sale. After all, printer cartridges can get rather pricey, and it does pay to stock up. 

Sadly, however, ink cartridges that aren’t stored correctly can result in a waste of your hard-earned printing budget, as damage to the cartridges or leaks can render those printing supplies totally unusable.

So what are the best methods for storing printer ink cartridges when they’re not being used? How long can ink cartridges be stored? And how should printer users go about making sure their ink cartridges don’t dry out in storage? We’ll answer these questions below, as well as providing you with a plethora of cartridge storage tips and tricks that you can use both at home, in the classroom, and in the office.

How to store ink cartridges at home or classroom

When storing your home printer’s ink cartridges and other printing supplies, it’s always best to ensure that your storage location is firmly out of reach of children and pets too! You don’t want any little hands or sharp teeth or claws getting into these delicate supplies and causing ink spills all across your home or classroom environment.

You can keep the extra ink cartridges for your home printer safe by storing them in an enclosed cabinet or a drawer that preferably comes fitted with a lock. You can store your cartridges in a tall cabinet or in overhead closet storage so long as there are no chances of the cartridges falling and becoming damaged, resulting in costly ink leakages.

How to store ink cartridges in the office

Naturally, as most offices are highly controlled and orderly environments, storing your supply of excess cartridges may be fairly simple here. All you really need to do is ensure that your intended storage location will be able to keep your cartridge supply level, cool, and dry.

Although it may be tempting to store your ink cartridges right by your printer, the heat that emanates from your office printer when it’s being used may not make this location the most ideal when it comes to cartridge storage. An upright cabinet that’s fully enclosed is the ideal storage solution for offices looking to store extra printer ink and toner cartridges.

How to keep printer ink cartridges from drying out 

Your ink cartridge supply literally running dry can be just as catastrophic as leakages. Although there’s less clean-up in cases where cartridges dry prior to being used over cartridges leaking in storage, there’s still no denying that resources have been wasted. Thankfully, there are some methods for ink storage that you can practice to minimise risks of your printer ink cartridges drying prematurely.

1. Store in a cool and dry location

Printer ink cartridges, toners, and ink bottle refills tend to be rather sensitive to heat, so it’s always best to avoid overly warm or moisture-rich environments when storing ink cartridges that are yet to be used. A cool, dry location that’s maintained at room temperature is always preferable when it comes to storing your printer’s ink supply, as minimal exposure to harsh temperatures will keep the ink in your unused cartridges at a regular consistency.

It’s a good rule of thumb to factor solar orientation into the equation when selecting an ideal location for ink cartridge storage as well. For instance, a fixed storage cabinet that receives full sun exposure in the afternoon may not be the most ideal location.

2. Minimise air exposure

Exposure to air can also cause unused ink cartridges to dry up prematurely, which is precisely why printer ink storage solutions tend to be completely covered cabinetry rather than open shelving. Always

Alongside this, it’s also recommended that you keep your unused cartridges unopened and in their original packaging to further minimise risks of air exposure. As tempting as it is to unbox your cartridges and line them all up neatly, doing so may very well cause your cartridges to partly dry out, causing ink clots or streaking on paper when you finally place those cartridges into your printer.

3. Keep ink cartridges upright rather than horizontal

You should also ensure that your printer ink cartridges stay upright in storage to minimise risks of ink dispersing awkwardly and drying prematurely in a horizontal state. This means no stacking cartridges one on top of the other, even if they’re kept in their original packaging.

So long as you take the time to assess all your prospective storage options, you’ll be likely to find the ideal storage solution to keep your cartridges from drying.

How long can ink cartridges be stored?

Contrary to popular belief, ink cartridges can’t be stored indefinitely and do possess a well-defined shelf life. Keeping your cartridges past their expiration date, can result in streaking and ink clots on your paper when those cartridges are finally being used, as well as potentially causing lasting damage to your printer’s ink reservoirs and printheads. 

It’s in your best interests to calculate your printing costs prior to bulk buying ink cartridges, so that you can get a fair understanding of how long it may take you to deplete a single set of ink cartridges. With that knowledge in mind, you can then purchase a reasonable amount of ink cartridges that will be likely to last you the length of that supply’s total shelf life. In doing so, you’ll be able to minimise your risks of purchasing an excess amount of ink cartridges that can only result in that supply eventually expiring before it’s able to be used. 

Naturally, the shelf life of Epson ink cartridges tends to differ from the shelf life of HP cartridges or cartridges produced by other manufacturers, so it’s always worth checking the expiry dates on cartridges as soon as you buy them and factoring these dates into your printing cost calculations to ensure that you’re never overstocking when taking full advantage of printing supply sales.

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