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Do canon ink cartridges expire?

Do canon ink cartridges expire?

Canon claims in most of their packages that their ink does not expire. The company claims that as long as the ink tank seals remain unbroken your dry will remain in use and will not dry out. However, other cartridge manufacturers tend to put an expiry date on the cartridge for a certain expiry date.

Cartridges do have an estimated shelf life that denotes how long it will last will sealed. The time frame on the cartridge will depend with the brand and type of materials used in its chemical composition. An original printer cartridge will have a shelf life of up to 24 months while that of a compatible cartridge will be 36 months.

What happens when ink expires?

If you do not use your ink it will dry out and settle inside the cartridge. This will cause printer clogs. If you want to prevent this it is recommended that you do some printing every couple of weeks to ensure your cartridge is primed. Toner cartridges do not dry out like ink cartridges due to the plastic nature of the toner powder.

Due to the likelihood of clogging, many printer manufacturers will put an expiry date on their printer cartridges or on the cartridge box. This is to prevent any quality issues. However, you should note that your printer cartridge can deteriorate due to other factors like how you store it, whether you have removed the seal or not and surrounding temperatures.

Note that some manufacturers will have two dates on the cartridges – expiry and warranty date. The first is when the ink becomes unusable while the warranty defines the period through which the manufacturer protects the ink from damage. It is typically one year. After, one year you may still use the cartridge put you do it at your risk.

In most cases, an opened un-packaged ink cartridge will have a lifespan of six months. If you use it after this you will notice some degradation and image quality defects. If you have opened the ink cartridge and do not have the intent of using it immediately you should store it with the nozzle facing up and in an airtight plastic container.

How to store printer cartridges

Printer cartridges should be stored in an upright position not upside down or on its side. If you do the latter the ink will shift to one side and you will experience poor quality prints.

Since the ink in the cartridges is affected by high temperatures, you should store your ink in a dry place at room temperatures. Exposure to heat or cold will cause the cartridge quality to deteriorate and become unusable. In both extreme temperatures, you will find that cold temperatures cause the ink to separate while heat will cause it to bubble up and leak.

Keep cartridges sealed

Even if your ink cartridge has a long shelf life you should not that if not used for a long time the sponge inside the cartridge will dry out and the ink inside will start to separate and turn to sludge. Once you open a cartridge the best thing to do with it is use it for printing.

For the best results only open a cartridge when you intend to use it. Most of the printer cartridges come stored in vacuum-packed bags with a tape over the vent hole. If you have an open cartridge you can extend its lifespan by placing the nozzle side up in a plastic airtight hub. You can also place a damp cloth for those cartridges that came with a protective tape or clip. Like any other cartridge store it in a dark, cool place and occasionally place a damp paper towel to ensure it is always wet.

Poor results with old cartridge

If you have an older cartridge but it is not giving you the results that you need there are some troubleshooting tips you can try out. In some printers you may have a self-cleaning function and this can be activated via a few clicks. You can also check the user manual for various print head cleaning processes. Once you are done with the procedure try printing out a few papers to see whether it is working fine if not redo the self-cleaning procedure.

You can also prime some ink cartridges with a paper towel.  To do this take a dry paper towel and damp paper towel and fold them into quarters. With the print head side down, take your cartridge and blot it onto the paper towel. The print head can be identified with the copper or gold strip located at the end of the cartridge. Once you blot it out ink should appear. Once you are done with blotting hold the cartridge onto another dry paper towel for around 30 seconds to a minute. Doing this will remove the ink that could be causing the clogging of the head. Now test your cartridge by doing some prints. If the results are not clear enough then repeat the process again. Routine cartridge maintenance will keep your ink going for long.


Most of the printer manufacturers tend to have expiration dates for their ink. This is typically two years. You will find on the cartridge the expiration dates but some brands like Canon fail to indicate when their inks expire. This means that the ink is as  good as you do not break the seals. It is important that you store your cartridges well to prevent them from being damaged by excess heat or cold.


Are expired cartridges still usable?

Yes, it is if you have stored it properly. However, note that even a sealed cartridge won’t last forever and you will need to use at some point. Most have an expiration date of up to two years. The longer it remain unused the greater the chances of it clogging your printer.

What is a remanufactured printer cartridge?

This is a cartridge that has been refilled or refurbished and made usable for printer use.

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Allen Scott
Allen Scott is a technophile and has been handling tech gadgets for over 10years. According to Allen, most people are not aware of the new technologies developed that they can adopt to boost production in their respective industries. Businesses are still using old technological equipment that are less efficient and repair intensive. The above is the reason why Allen came up with comprehensive excerpts on different types of technological gadgets. So, as we move deeper into the techworld, it is important that the developed technologies be fully utilized. The Future is tech and the earlier everyone embraces this idea, the more fulfilling and efficient their lives will be. The above goes for both the developer and equipment user. Allen is a father to one and a husband, he loves traveling and during his free time, he loves to unravel the mysteries behind the development of the various tech gadgets.