Top Ten Tips To Make Your Ink Cartridges Last Longer

When you buy a printer, the initial price paid represents only a portion of the cost. You must consider both the price you pay for the printer itself as well as the expense of buying ink cartridges when the printer’s ink runs out. If you run a business that needs a lot of printing or if you print a lot of photos, you may need to frequently replace your ink cartridges. These extra costs can quickly build up, but fortunately, there are ways you can save money by making your printer cartridges last a little longer.

1. Print only what you need
Before you start printing text or graphics, decide its relevance and usefulness so that you don’t needlessly spend time printing things that may not be of much use. That is, you should only print the things that you may actually need in order to save consumption of considerable amounts of printer ink.

If there is information you can back up on a disk instead of printing a hard copy, then use CD-ROMs or DVDs to back up your files. Emails and reports should be printed only as you need them, not just for the sake of printing them. Avoid printing “just for fun” stuff (funnies).

2. Use the Print Preview
Print Preview is a useful function that shows you how the document will look after it has been printed. It can help you adjust spaces and decide which pages to print. Consider turning off the colour ink cartridges, selecting only the text you require and only the pages you need – especially that last page with the footer that comes out with each print job. This can significantly reduce your printer ink usage as well as your paper usage.

3. Print text over graphics
If you are printing documents only for later reference, print only the essential text and any related images or graphics that are required. Avoid printing images or colourful graphics if having a hard copy is not essential to the purpose of the document.

4. Print in Draft mode as often as possible
Use draft print quality whenever you can. Go to File – Print to open the box that lists the settings for your printer. Click ‘Properties’ to bring up the various options available. You’ll probably find different choices under the heading ‘Paper/Quality’ that allow you to select draft quality printing. Your document will print at a lower resolution but that may not matter for reference material that you will likely discard later. You can always switch to a higher resolution for a final version of a document.

5. Print text in black ink only
Print documents that are in black and white with a black ink cartridge. Choose black and white printing over colour whenever possible. Depending on your printer, you may have the option to select grey-scale printing using the black ink cartridge only. If you print black with a colour ink cartridge, various colours are mixed to create the black ink. This depletes your colour ink cartridge a lot faster than it would deplete a black ink cartridge. If you’re not doing presentation quality work, or if you’re printing text only, chances are you won’t need the other colours.

6. Use colour ink only when needed
If you want your refilled ink to run longer, then make use of colour printing only when it is required. Otherwise, for general and regular use, it is wiser to use black and white printing that helps in saving your money on buying additional refills.

Modern personal printers can produce high quality photographs, particularly if you use speciality photo paper. But printing high quality digital shots can use a lot of ink, so if you print a large number of photos you might want to outsource your photo printing to a local print centre. Many services allow you to order your prints online. You can also have your photos printed on calendars, mouse pads or greeting cards if you wish.

7. Keep your printer nozzles clean
Perhaps the easiest change you can make to your printing habits is to keep an eye on your printer heads. The printer ink nozzles that dispense the actual ink use a spray function to get the ink onto the paper. As such, these nozzles can experience a build-up of dried ink and become clogged. Clean the nozzle heads every few weeks or more often if you’re a heavy printer.

If a colour cartridge isn’t printing all the colours, remove the cartridge and wipe the bottom of it where the ink comes out firmly with a damp paper towel or lint-free cloth to unclog the nozzle. This will help the ink flow more freely from the cartridge.

8. Use all the ink in the cartridge
Continue to print even when your printer light comes on or you get a warning saying that your ink is low. Check the ink level in the cartridge and if it appears that there is some ink left, keep using it instead of changing the cartridge immediately. There is likely quite a bit of ink left in the cartridge; remember that the ink comes out in a spray so it doesn’t take much per page. Use it all and then shake the ink cartridge to break up any ink clogs (especially in humid climates). You may get hundreds of extra pages out of a cartridge by doing this. Keep printing until the ink is almost completely gone (but be careful that you don’t run the printer with an empty cartridge). Also, use Jet Tec ink cartridges, many of which come with up to as much as 100% Extra Life.

9. Select “Printer-Friendly” Pages when printing from the Web
You would be surprised how much ink is wasted by printing pages directly as they appear from a website. One web page can have multiple pictures or graphics…not to mention several pages worth of printing because web pages are typically much longer than a regular document. Opt for the printer-friendly option if you need to print something from the web. This eliminates all the unnecessary images, and will save your ink cartridges as well as your printing paper.

10. Use the printer regularly
If you don’t print very often, you can stretch the life of your inkjet cartridges by keeping the printer moving. Print a page or two at least once a week using both your colour and black ink cartridges. You can print something small (even a printer diagnostic test) to prevent the ink from drying up.

Another ink-saving tip is to power down your printer the right way after each use. Don’t merely switch it off or unplug it, but allow your printer to power down slowly and shut itself down. The print heads need to be in the right position while the printer is turned off to prevent the ink from drying up prematurely. The printer should also be covered when not in use.


Article by UK Ink Supplies, based in Lincoln, Lincolnshire stock an extensive range of printer ink cartridges and laser toner printer cartridges.  For more information visit UK Ink Supplies for the latest Jet Tec ink cartridges, laser toners and other digital media products for your inkjet printer. Article posted 7th March 2011.


UK Ink Supplies of Lincolnshire – official Jet Tec retailer in Lincoln.

This blog is by UK Ink Supplies of Lincoln, UK – stocking a wide range of Jet Tec printer cartridges and Jet Tec laser toner cartridges for many models of printers.  For more information please visit Jet Tec printer cartridges for the latest Jet Tec ink cartridges and Jet Tec laser cartridges for Canon, Epson, HP, Lexmark, Brother, Dell, Oki, Xerox and Kodak printer products.

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