Common Issues With Ink Cartridges Drying and How to Resolve It

Posted by on 3/18/2020 to Blog

There is nothing more infuriating than having issues with your printer when trying to print something you need. For most of us, things always seem to go wrong exactly at the moment we need them to go right. A major issue people experience when it comes to printer problems is dealing with dried up ink cartridges. If your printer is continuously printing out blank pages or refusing to print altogether, there is a good chance that your printer ink has dried out. Dried out ink cartridges causes your ink to clot inside the cartridge which inhibits the cartridge from expelling the ink through the nozzles.


We have come up with several ways to resolve common issues with ink cartridges drying out.

Why Does Ink Become Dried?

There are several reasons that an ink cartridge can become dry that many people do not even realize.

Cartridges Have Expired

Ink cartridges have expiry dates, although many people are unaware. It is advised that storing ink cartridges for longer than a year can result in problems with printing. To avoid issues with your ink, make sure not to keep the cartridges for longer than a year.

Infrequent Printer Use

Many people only use their printers on the rare occasion. This can cause the ink to dry up quickly as it is not being used. To prevent this, perform regular head and nozzle cleanings to your printer to ensure the nozzles stay clean. Even if you don’t do an excessive amount of printing, it is recommended to print something at least once a week, even a couple of words on a sheet of paper. This ensures the ink is not becoming dried out by just sitting there.

Manually Refilling Ink Cartridges

Some people take it upon themselves to refill their old ink cartridges by themselves. This is not recommended and will lead to air flow getting into the cartridge. This will cause fast drying of the ink. Rather than manually refilling your ink cartridges, take it to an ink company that offers cartridge recycling. These companies will collect the empty cartridges, refurbish them and then fill them! Although this will still cost you, it will be a lot more inexpensive than buying a new ink cartridge from the stores!

Stored in Incorrect Temperature

If your printer is kept in a room that is quite warm, this can cause the ink cartridge to dry up. Be sure to keep your printer in a room that is cool, dry, and not in direct sunlight.

How to Resolve the Issues of Dry Ink Cartridges

Head Cleaning

The first thing to try, that is the quickest fix, is to try using your printing “head cleaning” function. Depending on your printer, the process of doing this will be different. Go to your printer’s settings on your computer and look for the maintenance section. There should be a head cleaning option that you can select. Some printers offer this option directly on the printer’s menu. If you still cannot find the setting, try to google your printers model number and find its manual.

Once you find the head cleaning option for your printer, it will take you through steps to cleaning the head of your printer which usually involves printing a test pattern, similar to when you first install a new printer. If the page that prints out is completely blank, try it again a couple of times. If it still prints out blank, you may need to take further steps to fix the dried-out ink cartridge issue. 

Soak the Ink Cartridge

If the head cleaning doesn’t work, try to soak the ink cartridge. Do this by removing the ink cartridge from your printer and soaking it in a bowl of warm water. Ensure the entire ink cartridge is submerged. Soak a cotton ball in the water and rub it across the part of the cartridge where the ink comes out. If the ink begins to flow into the water, you have fixed the blockage and can now remove the cartridge from the water.


Make sure to thoroughly dry the nozzles with a paper towel. You can then place back into the printer and continue on to your next ink cartridge, repeating the same steps. If the ink does not flow into the water, remove the cartridge from the water, dry it, and try it again. If after 3 times it does not flow into the water, you will likely need to buy new ink cartridges.

Do Not Open Sealed Ink Cartridges Until Needed

As stated before, ink cartridges have a shelf life of about a year. This shelf life is only for sealed ink cartridges still in the packaging. Make sure you keep sealed ink cartridges that you do not need to use yet in a cool and dry area. Once you open a sealed ink cartridge, air flow will slowly make its way into the cartridge, causing it to dry out. So, unless you need to use the ink cartridge right away, keep it closed.

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Keep your printer ink and cartridge needs met with our compatible and remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. All of the ink and toner brands mentioned above are sold here at Superior Ink & Toner. We offer fast and free shipping across Canada. Click here to search for your printer model to find your compatible and/or remanufactured ink and toner cartridges! You can also Check out our reviews to see what other people are saying!


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