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How Long Does An Opened And Unopened Inkjet Cartridge Last?

It is essential to educate yourself about the useful ink cartridge shelf life. It helps to make a proper buying decision, especially for businesses. Businesses that don’t use printing ink a lot may consider buying cartridges as needed, even if it creates an inconvenience at times. The majority of cartridge manufacturers include an expiry date.

Cartridge shelf life

The estimated cartridge shelf life in an unopened package varies. It depends on the brand you use. The original printer cartridge has a shelf life of two years, while a compatible one is for 3 years. The packaging material used on HP products protects the ink and enables a shelf life for a maximum of 18 months. Some printers allow users to override the expiry date and continue printing.

In this post, we shall answer the question – how long will an HP inkjet cartridge last if it is not opened? It will give you a good idea about managing your inventory accordingly.

Why expiration date exists?

It exists to prevent printer components from getting damaged. Over time the ink dries and settles within the cartridge that can cause clogging, which makes the internal component work harder and ultimately wears out. This can trigger expensive repairs. Expiration dates on ink cartridges allow the users to potentially prevent the expired cartridge from damaging the printing system.

Besides expiration date, other factors contribute to ink cartridge deterioration like storage, temperature, and package is opened or unopened.

  • Store printer cartridge in upright position every time. In case, it is stored upside down or on its sides then the ink within will shift on one side causing print quality issues, when installed in the printer.
  • The storage environment has to be dark and dry or at room temperature. Exposure to extreme cold or heat can deteriorate the print quality or the cartridge becomes unusable. A cold environment causes the ink to separate, so ensure that it regains to room temperature before printing. Extreme heat exposure can cause the ink to bubble upwards and leak.
  • If the cartridge is opened then ensure to seal it or if it is left sitting outside, it will ultimately dry. Open a cartridge only when you are prepared to print with it. Manufacturers ensure to pack printer cartridges in vacuum bags and crucial components like vent holes are taped. Proper packing prevents the nozzles from crusting and the print head is kept moist.
  • When you are not using the printer turn it off and keep the ink cartridge away from direct sunlight or heat sources to prevent evaporation.

How long will an HP inkjet cartridge last if it is not opened?

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Cartridge stored in the correct environment with proper packing allows using it even after the expiry date. A sealer ink cartridge does not last forever yet they are designed to last for a maximum of 2 years post-purchase date. You can still use them. There are chances that an expired cartridge will not clog the print head but if does then the fix is pricey, so think twice before installing.

Cartridge expiry date allows monitoring ink usable life but to keep printing longer regular printer maintenance is essential. You need to print once in two weeks and run a print cleaner occasionally to keep the performance of the printer in good shape.