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What To Do When Printer Ink Begins To Dry Out

2010-07-23

If you have not used your printer for six months or more and then begin to use it again, you may find it printing blank pages. This can be a sign that the ink has dried out. Like water that you leave exposed to the air for a long time, printer ink will eventually dry out too. To prevent this, you will want to print something at least once a week. Even if you don't need to print anything, at least print a test page if only for the sake of keeping the ink flowing. Also, while you are at the store to buy new ink cartridges, check the expiration date on the box. If the ink will expire very soon, you will want to find one that expires at a much later date than when you purchase it.

However, if it is too late and your printer ink has already begun to dry out, first, refresh the ink cartridge head by rubbing alcohol on it with a cotton swab. There may just be a thin layer of dried out ink that can be loosened to let the ink flow again. If this does not work, then you may need to buy an ink refill kit. With an ink refill kit, you may be able to use the new ink as a sort of solvent to break up and mix with the old ink restoring ink flow. However, because ink refill kits can be tricky to use, this may not be the best solution. In the end, it may be best just to buy new ink cartridges.

Another solution to this problem may rest with your choice of printer. Ink jet printers use liquid ink, while laser printers use a powdered toner. The powder in laser toner will not dry out. At worst it may become a little firm and require a shake or two. Thus, if you do not print all that often, to save you expenses in the long run, it may be best to invest in a laser printer. Since their cost has fallen dramatically since their introduction, laser printers don't require as significant an investment as they used to.

If you do not want to change printers though, the best thing will be to make sure you print something at least once a week. And if your ink begins to dry up, try breaking up the thin layer of dried out ink first. Lastly, if that does not work, it is best to just buy new printer ink cartridges, but remember to check the expiration dates on the boxes and buy ones that expire much later than when you purchased them.

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