Storage Guidelines for HP Inkjet Cartridges

by Brad Maddy

Inkjet cartridges will typically last for a long time if they are properly stored. HP ink cartridges have a long shelf-life, and guarantee that the cartridges will work until the end-of-warranty date, printed on the bottom of the cartridge. By properly storing and maintaining your HP ink cartridges, you can make sure that your cartridge will be good when you go to use it.

Sealed Cartridges

If your ink cartridge is still sealed in the original packaging, it can be stored and will work for a longer time period than opened ink cartridges. If the packaging has been opened, ink can evaporate through the nozzles and the plastic casing. If it remains sealed, the ink cartridge will store long past the “Install-before date” printed on the box. Store the cartridges in a dark area at room temperature. Cartridges do not need to be refrigerated. Store them in an area where the temperature remains below 35 degrees Celsius and above -15 degrees Celsius. Keep them in the box in an upright position. Do not store a cartridge upside down or on its side.

Opened Ink Cartridges

Once the ink cartridge has been opened, store the ink cartridge in the printer. When the printer carriage is in the home position, the cartridges are secured in an area where they are protected from drying out. The cartridges are also capped, which prevents contamination from dust and other particles. Make sure that your cartridges are protected by using the power button to power down the printer. The printer goes through a shut-down process which includes capping the ink cartridges. HP recommends printing at least once per month to keep the cartridges from drying out. A head cleaning can be performed to improve print quality if the printer has not been used in over a month.

Removing a Cartridge

If you need to remove an HP ink cartridge from the printer after opening it, you need to protect it from contamination and from drying out. Place the ink cartridge in a rigid, air-tight container. Some printers come with a hard plastic container for cartridge storage. Do not use a resealable plastic baggie to store your ink cartridges. You need to keep the nozzles from touching the container, as this could lead to color cross-contamination. Do not re-tape the cartridge. Store black ink cartridges upside down, so that the nozzles are pointing up. Store color ink cartridges right side up, so that the nozzles are pointing down. Keep the cartridges in a dark, dry storage area at room temperature.

About the Author

Brad Maddy graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy. Maddy previously worked as a computer/printer technician for 10 years. His interests include health and wellness, traveling and electronics. He currently works as a physical therapist.