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How to Make Your Ink Cartridge Last

It's no secret that replacing ink cartridges is expensive. These cartridges include proprietary technology and high quality ink that results in an, unfortunately, higher price. It is inevitable that you will have to purchase more ink and toner cartridges throughout the life of your printer. However, by following a few simple tips and practices, you can discover how to make your ink cartridge last longer.

Making your ink or toner cartridge last longer not only saves money, it helps mitigate the impact on the environment. According to the Georgia Cartridge Recycling Initiative, over 375 million cartridges find their way into landfills every year. They have also found that many of these cartridges still have usable ink and are replaced prematurely. By fully exhausting all ink in a cartridge, it causes less damage to the environment.

Printing Settings

The experts at Frugal Living suggest that there are several settings involved in printing that can be adjusted to use less ink per page, while maintaining a high quality.

  • Avoid Bold and Thick Fonts – Some fonts simply require more ink to print. For example, Gill Sans makes every character thicker and wider, which requires more ink. Using bolded fonts has the same effect:  it drains ink. Try to only use bold when absolutely necessary. Opt for fonts that require less ink, such as New Courier and Arial, whenever possible.
  • Update Print Setting – By default, printers are set for quality and not efficiency. Depending on your operating system, there will be different options available. These will usually be available in the “Printers” area of your operating system. Some settings may also be through your word processor. Update the following settings:
  • Set “Document Options” to print multiple pages per sheet. – This will conserve ink and paper by printing as much as possible on one sheet.
  • Under “Print Quality” select “Draft.” – This lessens the quality to a point that will save ink, yet is not noticeable or relevant to most printing jobs.
  • Select “Print in Grayscale.” –This will avoid draining your ink when it’s not required and conserve color ink.
  • Employ Smaller Font Sizes – By using a large size of font, you are also using more ink per character to complete the printing task. Using a smaller font will accomplish the same task and use far less ink. Only employ large fonts when you absolutely have to.

How to Treat Your Ink

Ink is a liquid stored in a reservoir within the cartridge. By taking care of the cartridge, you can ensure a longer life. Follow these two simple tips to properly treat and store your ink cartridges:

1. Clean the Cartridge Head – When the quality of prints begins to diminish and become splotchy, many people assume the cartridge has run out and needs to be replaced. While sometimes true, it can also simply be a clogged or dirty cartridge head. This causes the cartridge to be unable to fully deliver all ink required to produce a quality document. Gently dab the cartridge head with a damp paper towel to remove dust and clogged ink.

2. Consider a Cartridge Case – Companies have created cartridge cases for printer owners who do not print regularly. These cases store cartridges in a controlled environment that protects them from gathering dust or drying out.

Frugal Practices

There are many practices leading experts recommend to help get the most out of your ink cartridge.

  • Proofread Before Printing – Reprinting an entire document simply because a word was misspelled or left out can be a massive drain on your ink cartridges. Read your document out loud to yourself, have a friend or family member read it over and run it through proofreading software before you commit to a print.
  • Ignore Out of Ink Warnings – A lab test done by PC World found that printer software begins to warn users that the cartridge is out of ink when there is up to 45 percent ink left in the cartridge. Ignore these warnings; you’ll know when the cartridge is truly out of ink.
  • Print Preview – This setting allows for a preview of what the printed document will look like. If you are printing from a web page or another unusual source, it will allow you to avoid having the content print in a way that you do not prefer. Print preview also allows you to catch any formatting issues with standard word documents that may not appear in work mode.

Your Ink Cartridge Can Have a Long Life

It’s easy to get the most out of your ink cartridge; you can ensure a long life from your ink or toner cartridges by following the above frugal practices, adjusting a few printer settings and maintaining the ink cartridge properly.