Does Printer Ink Expire?

How serious is the ink cartridge expiration date? As with many simple questions, the answer is a bit more complex.

The currently leading printer manufacturer, Hewlett Packard, currently guarantees ink cartridges 6 months beyond the expiry date. In our experience, the expiry date of ink cartridges is typically 1 – 2 years in the future, at least in the mail order business. If you buy from the corner shop around the corner, it may be worth checking the expiry date of the ink cartridges before you buy them.

We see some refill producers guaranteeing their refill products for 3 years or more. We’re a bit skeptical because we doubt that the ink quality is comparable to the original.

In our experience, most ink cartridges work perfectly well for a year or two past the expiry date. If the expiry date is even longer, then I think you should differentiate whether it is worth using the ink cartridges.

With all-in-one ink cartridges, typical for HP and Lexmark, we would say: try it! It doesn’t matter how long the expiration date is. These ink cartridges are completely self-contained and even if they no longer work properly, damage to the printer is completely impossible.

With Canon printers with replaceable printheads, you might still be able to risk trying the ink cartridges up to two years after the expiry date. A print head damage would be rare, but not completely ruled out. At least you can still replace the print head for a reasonable price or try to bring it back to life in warm water.

For Epson printers without a replaceable print head, we would advise not to exceed the expiry date of the ink cartridges by more than six months, to be on the safe side. If a print head is ruined here, then the printer is ripe for hazardous waste.

For toner cartridges, the expiration date, if any, is irrelevant for practical purposes, in our view. Toner cartridges are filled with a dry powder and as long as they are stored in a dark and cool place we reckon they’re safe to pass on to your grandkids (even if you’ve only just turned 20). Of course we didn’t try it due to the long test time, but we can’t see any technical reasons to the contrary and haven’t found any literature to the contrary.

Why do ink cartridges even have an expiration date?

Basically, inks – like printer toners – should last forever – if they ONLY consisted of dyes or pigments, that would be the case. But due to the high complexity of the composition, printer ink also contains components that are subject to a process of deterioration over time, in particular the added organic components (e.g. proteins) that are used as binding agents. In order to keep these stable, preservatives and bio-/fungicides (to prevent mold growth or bacterial infestation) must be added. In addition, drying out is of course always a problem, the liquid can also evaporate through the plastic over several years. As you can see, the ink expiry date is not just a ruse or invention by printer manufacturers to sell more ink.

When changing the printer cartridge or refilling ink, you just didn’t pay attention and it happened! Skin (usually hands and fingers), furniture, clothing or textiles are full of printer ink. On the one hand, there is economic damage, because printer ink is expensive. On the other hand, an aesthetic problem – because ink stains are not pretty to look at.

The question that now arises is “How do you get printer ink off your skin or clothes?”. Are home remedies still sufficient (and especially which ones) or do you have to resort to the chemical club in this case? In this post you will get the answer! And of course the instructions for how to get ink out of printer cartridges again.

If printer ink gets on the skin, it is difficult to remove. The pores and indentations of the human skin offer the perfect conditions for the color particles to settle really well. The first commandment is therefore to act quickly – if you have it at hand, dab the ink off immediately with absorbent paper or a cloth. And then immediately set about washing off the ink.

 The best way to do this is to go through the methods we have suggested step-by-step until you have removed the ink stains from your body. That means you start with method 1 (the gentlest method) and then work your way up to the inevitable amputation of the affected body part.

No, joking aside – this is usually not necessary. Sometimes, however, the use of rather aggressive cleaning agents that are just as skin-intolerant – if it should be necessary for you to remove the stains immediately.

But in principle it isn’t, unless you don’t mind flawless hands, because printer ink on the skin is not dangerous. After all, it essentially consists of water and color pigments, as well as various chemicals to ensure the requirements for drying time and lightfastness. Of course not the product of choice for daily skin care, but not directly dangerous either. At least not with occasional contact.

First try to wash off the printer ink with standard dishwashing liquid. If this should be extra fat-dissolving, all the better. Rub the ink stains well with the washing-up liquid and then leave it on for two to three minutes. Then wash it off with lukewarm water while rubbing vigorously.

  • Smooth walls and woodchip wallpaper: Here it is advisable to paint over the stains directly. For white walls, e.g. B. Tipp-Ex or matt white nail polish excellent. And of course the wall paint originally used, if you still have it in stock. With colorful walls, of course, only these.
  • Colored and patterned wallpaper: Of course, you cannot use cleaning agents or water here. Either way, you can tape over the stains with a piece of spare wallpaper, tearing the edges rather than cutting them. In this way, the transitions are smoother and less noticeable. Or you can become artistically active and paint over the affected area, if you dare.

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