Inkjet Cartridges Tips

Read these 16 Inkjet Cartridges Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Printer Ink tips and hundreds of other topics.

Inkjet Cartridges Tips has been rated 3.2 out of 5 based on 637 ratings and 1 user reviews.
Are there things I should avoid doing with my inkjet cartridges to make sure I don’t damage them?

Five Surefire Ways To Damage Your Inkjet Cartridges

It's usually pretty easy to keep your inkjet cartridges in good shape for optimal printing. Store them in a cool, dry place and use them in a timely manner by the date recommended on the packaging. However, when you're dealing with maintenance, a few misguided steps can cause your inkjet cartridges and possibly your printer, some damage. We're giving you a list of things not to do if you want to keep your equipment in good shape.

  1. Don't use any household cleaning agents when you're maintaining your inkjet cartridges. Detergents can damage your printer finish and ruin your inkjet cartridges from proper printing.
  2. Don't go overboard when you're cleaning your inkjet cartridges. Over-cleaning will remove ink from your inkjet cartridges and leave you with less to print with.
  3. Don't touch the metal contacts on the nozzle of your inkjet cartridges. You could cause clogs, ink failure and poor electrical connections to your printer.
  4. Don't leave your inkjet cartridges exposed outside of your printer for more than half an hour. You could dry out your inkjet cartridge and cause printing problems.
  5. Don't clean your inkjet cartridge with tap water. There could be contaminants in tap water that can damage the print head.

Is there a way to manually clean the inkjet cartridge?

Manual Inkjet Cartridge Cleaning

One way to ensure you have streak-free prints is by doing a manual inkjet cartridge cleaning. Dust and debris can accumulate on nozzles, causing poor performance with your inkjet cartridge. If you want to find out how to do a manual inkjet cartridge cleaning, read on. (Always double-check with the manufacturer of your printer, as instructions may vary.)

You'll need the following:

  • Distilled water
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Paper Towels

  • Start by opening the printer door.
  • Press and hold the button that moves the cartridge head to the left side of the printer.
  • Lift up the cover of the printer head assembly.
  • Remove the inkjet cartridge and place it on the paper towel with the nozzle face up.
  • Lightly moisten the cotton swab with distilled water.
  • Use gentle strokes to wipe the nozzle of the inkjet cartridge.
  • Repeat cleaning with each inkjet cartridge until you find no more ink or dust residue.

How much does it actually cost me per page for inkjet printer cartridges?

Inkjet Printer Cartridges: What You Get For Your Money

Have you ever wondered exactly what you get for your money when you're buying inkjet printer cartridges? When you're changing out inkjet printer cartridges every few months or so, it may not seem like much. Here are some hard numbers from an article on on a variety of printers so you can get an idea of how much ink you get for your dollar. The following results are based on a printout with 5 percent coverage per sheet of paper.

Canon i850 – According to data from the Rochester Institute of Technology, the page yields of the Canon i850 inkjet printer cartridges were higher overall than those actually stated by the manufacturer. Based on the test data provided by, you pay 2.7 cents per sheet of black ink and 5.3 cents per sheet of color ink.

Dell A940 – There wasn't any data to compare what Dell states as its page yield versus what was found on the test. However, the Dell A490 came out to cost much higher per page with its inkjet printer cartridges. You pay 7.1 cents per sheet of black ink and 9.7 cents per sheet of color ink.

Epson Stylus C84 – The Epson Stylus C84 results for black ink showed that their page yields for black ink were lower than that stated by the manufacturer. However, the color ink page yields were all higher. You pay 6.4 cents per page for black ink and 4.3 cents per page for color ink.

When should I replace my inkjet printer cartridges?

When to Replace Your Inkjet Printer Cartridges

Too many people wait until they are seeing bad prints or until their computer simply won't print anymore to replace their inkjet printer cartridges. If you do not want to be in this group, there are ways that you can act to preempt such a predicament. Many inkjet printer cartridges have a meter on them that allows you to monitor the amount of ink left. Granted, you need to pull the inkjet cartridge out to see this, but it is useful if you see some errors and just want to see for yourself what is left in the tank.

Computer operating systems also can often provide you with an alert as to your inkjet printer cartridges. Whether you have single or multiple cartridges for black and white and color printing, many printers will talk to the computer to alert you when they are running low. Often, you can keep up with your ink content at any time, low or full. Don't deal with poor prints if you don't have to. When your inkjet printer cartridges are starting to run low, go ahead and switch them out to save you from unnecessary bad prints.

How should I dispose of my inkjet cartridge when it is empty?

Don't Just Toss Your Used Inkjet Cartridge

Recycling has become a standard for many offices and all but law in many areas. As aware as everyone is becoming of the needs to recycle, small things are still too often overlooked. Recycling aims to reduce the waste we create from such things as plastics and chemicals, both of which are in every inkjet cartridge on the market. Next time you have an empty inkjet cartridge you are about to toss in the trash think about a few things.

First, there are now companies that recycle inkjet cartridges. Many even will offer discounts on new cartridges in exchange for your used ones. This saves the manufacturer from the need to produce more plastics and saves you money, so everyone wins.

Recycling an inkjet cartridge doesn't need to involve a manufacturer. You can simply recycle them with the rest of your plastics in your normal recycling bin at home. As important as it is for the future, don't neglect to recycle that inkjet cartridge instead of throwing it in with the garbage.

How can I fix my inkjet printer cartridge when it prints with lines?

Repairing an Inkjet Printer Cartridge and Head

If your printer is giving you lines in each print, you may have a faulty inkjet printer cartridge or printer head. The former is an easy fix, while the latter could cause problems. First, many printers have the print head as a fixed part of the unit. This makes them only repairable by a service technician. Many Epson brand printers are made this way. Also, as opposed to inkjet printer cartridges, which can be easily cleaned or replaced, printer heads are costly to repair and often not worth the trouble.

As low priced as inkjet printers are, you are often better off simply buying a new unit. If you think you may need to repair your inkjet printer head or replace your inkjet printer cartridge, run your system troubleshooting program and see if it can tell you what is wrong. If it doesn't, bring your printer to a local Best Buy or other computer repair store and ask for their hands-on assistance.

What are 'bundles' of inkjet printer cartridges?

Buy Inkjet Printer Cartridges in Bundles and Save a Bundle

If you are shopping for inkjet printer cartridges on the Internet, you may notice lower advertised prices on ‘bundle' packages. ‘Bundles' of inkjet printer cartridges are when manufacturers package multiple cartridges together for sale. Essentially, you are buying in bulk, but not a lot of bulk.

The savings that are available from buying inkjet printer cartridges in bundles are big. Any small office or computer savvy household should save on their printer costs by looking for these offers. If you have this opportunity to save on your purchase, do it. You will need the inkjet cartridges at some point and they are not getting any cheaper.

What is the difference between recycling and remanufacturing an inkjet cartridge?

Recycling vs. Remanufacturing an Inkjet Cartridge

Many people easily confuse and lump together the terms recycling and remanufacturing when it comes to inkjet cartridges. There is a difference, a big difference, that if many people knew of, they would choose more carefully how to dispose of their inkjet cartridge.

Remanufacturing is the process that most people envision when they think of recycling an inkjet cartridge. The remanufacturing process is one where the original cartridge is broken down, cleaned, and put back together to be refilled and put back on the market. This process involves no melting and therefore no waste fumes. This is the most environmentally friendly way to dispose of your inkjet cartridge. Recycling, on the other hand, takes a very different form.

Many ‘recycling' programs offered by inkjet cartridge manufacturers are not as ‘green' as they may seem. In these processes, the plastics and other materials are melted down to their raw, malleable form. Once melted down, after releasing many harmful fumes into the atmosphere, the plastic could end up as anything from an inkjet cartridge to a kitchen utensil. If you are looking for the most environmentally-friendly way to get rid of your empty inkjet cartridge, double check to be sure that you send it to a remanufacturing program instead of a typical recycling plant.

How do inkjet printers and inkjet cartridges work?

Inkjet Cartridges and Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are pretty complex machines. They were only introduced in the mid 1980's and revolutionized home and small business printing. How do inkjet cartridges and printers work, well, there are two main makes of inkjet printers; thermal bubble and the piezoelectric.

You may recognize the first as ‘bubblejet' printers. The ‘bubblejet' or thermal bubble, uses resistors which create heat. This heat literally creates a bubble in the ink. The bubble continues to expand until it forces the ink out from the inkjet cartridge head. The bubble soon collapses drawing more ink into the inkjet cartridge. With the piezoelectric model inkjet printer, there are small crystals in the head which will vibrate under the influence of an electric current.

The current then pushes ink out of the inkjet cartridge head and draws more ink into the cartridge. Image quality on these models is far superior because of the smaller drops of ink that are released from the head. Thermal bubble method is the standard for printer manufacturers. That is all except Epson who owns the patent piezoelectric technology. You will need different inkjet cartridges depending on which model you have, so double check before you go shopping.

Why do so many inkjet printer cartridges come in packages of two?

Print A Lot? Keep an Extra Inkjet Printer Cartridge Around

If you have bought inkjet printer cartridges recently, you have probably noticed that many are now offered in multiple units as well as in singles. For a change, this is a result of the market needs being properly taken care of by the producers. If you print many jobs, you should pass by the single inkjet cartridge and go for the multiple packages. Just think, what happens when you run out of the single inkjet printer cartridge? Who knows how important the job it runs out on will be. Would you have the time to go to the store and get a new one if you needed it? Why take the chance?

If you purchase your inkjet printer cartridge in a package of two or three, you will always have that extra one there when you need it. This is a great habit to get into for any college student who prints their own work, or small business office. Don't get stuck on an empty tank. Keep an extra inkjet printer cartridge handy and you won't have to worry about your printer quitting on you halfway through an important job.

How do I clean my inkjet cartridge?

Cleaning Your Inkjet Cartridge

If you see that your printer is printing with lines or splotches, you may need to clean your inkjet cartridge. Cleaning an inkjet cartridge is easy and most computers will walk you through the process. First, load your printer properties in your control panel. The maintenance menu should have the cleaning option. If you go through the cleaning process and still can't get good prints, you may need a hand cleaning.

To clean the inkjet cartridge by hand, you will first want to remove the cartridge from the printer. It is recommended that you use a paper towel for this step. Carefully wipe the bottom of the inkjet cartridge head where the ink comes out with the paper towel. If you see a build up of ink on the head, you may have an impediment in the cartridge. If this is the case or if the cleaning by hand still does not fix the problem, you may need a new cartridge. Be sure to recycle this one where it will get a good cleaning in its remanufacturing.

How is an inkjet cartridge constructed?

The Makeup of an Inkjet Cartridge

Modern inkjet cartridges and printers are a far cry form the original printing models used by businesses with computers. While the modern inkjet cartridge draws much from its predecessors, there is an inescapable advance in their technology over time that has lead to their current states. Most current inkjet cartridges work by using a series of small electrically-heated chambers constructed with ‘photolithography'.

To create the image, the inkjet printer runs a pulse of current into the heating elements causing a steam explosion in the chamber. This forms a bubble in the inkjet cartridge which propels a drop of ink onto the paper. When the bubble condenses, surplus ink is sucked back up from the printing surface. The ink's surface tension pumps another charge of ink into the chamber through a narrow channel attached to an ink reservoir. Older inkjet cartridges directed ink through ultrasonic waves; however, this was vastly improved in modern inkjet cartridges.

Why are there so many types of inkjet cartridges for HP model printers?

Inkjet Cartridges for HP Printers

If you own an HP printer, you have no doubt noticed the vast number of inkjet cartridges that they produce for their different models. Many people wonder why there is no universal size and shape for inkjet cartridges rather than the multitude of types. There are many answers to this question and here are a few.

First, different inkjet printers are made for different purposes. Personal printers are not made for large amounts of printing, while larger units for offices are. This means that there is a different need in the inkjet cartridges for each. Larger units will require inkjet cartridges that have more ink in them, to last for longer projects. There is also a matter of printing capabilities for size and color.

Some printers can print larger sizes than others and therefore need larger inkjet cartridges. Also, there is a matter of market demand. HP, and other printer companies, are aware that the demands of the printing market make for many opportunities for brand loyalty. If HP printers will only work with HP inkjet cartridges, than they know that the consumer will have no choice but to buy their products. It is a tactic employed in many other industries, from automotive to cleaning supplies, and inkjet cartridges are no different.

How do you clean an inkjet cartridge?

Our Cleaning Inkjet Cartridge Guide

Cleaning inkjet cartridge units help keep your prints looking crisp and streak-free. It's a maintenance you can perform whenever you detect missing colors in prints or when a text document comes out looking fuzzy. For the best printing results, cleaning inkjet cartridge units on a regular basis is recommended.

The exact procedures vary by printer manufacturer, but this is a typical scenario:

  • Go to your printer control panel or printer utilities.
  • Select the clean printer head function.
  • Follow the screen instructions to clean your printer head.
  • Do a test at the end of the cleaning to make sure all the ink colors are clean.
  • For best results on cleaning inkjet cartridge units, clean the printer head several times in a row and then perform the test to check whether the cleaning is effective.

Are the inkjet cartridge yields that manufacturers give really accurate?

The Reliability Of Inkjet Cartridge Yields

With the high cost of paying for replacement inkjet cartridge parts, it's nice to know whether you can really count on the manufacturer's specifications for cartridge yields. The cost of keeping up with inkjet cartridge replacement costs can easily run you more than the cost of your printer over the course of several months. Some replacement inkjet cartridge models can run a consumer as much as $50 per ounce of ink.

However, according to ink tests done by PC World, the manufacturers are true to their word when it comes to delivering realistic cartridge yields. It's important to keep in mind that data isn't available for all inkjet cartridge yields supplied by the manufacturers. But of the data that was supplied, the PC World test found manufacturer numbers to be accurate.

Printer companies, such as Epson and Hewlett-Packard, have some printers which cease to function if the ink dips below a certain level. Therefore, not all the ink in a given inkjet cartridge will become used. According to manufacturers with printers that don't use up all the ink, the benefit is actually for the consumers because using every last drop will cause poor printing results and possible damage to the computer.

How do ink cartridges and print head motors make my printer print?

Print Head Motors & Ink Cartridges - The Inside of an Inkjet Printer

Of the many pieces that make up an inkjet printer, there are two that really make the printer print. These are the head motor and ink cartridges. Without these two integral parts, your printer would be nothing more than a box of plastic and wires. Here is a quick breakdown of the role that each plays. A print head stepper motor is first. This piece of machinery moves the print head assembly (print head and ink cartridges) back and forth across the paper to give you the final picture or document. There are some models of printers contain two separate stepper motors.

One for the print jobs, and one for a brake that prevents unwanted movement of the print assembly. Therefore, without the print head stepper motor, your printer would not move to create your print. Ink cartridges are the second important piece to your printer. These plastic cases hold and distribute the ink from your printer to the paper. Without question, your printer would be useless without ink cartridges for black ink and color. If your printer is not working correctly and you want to fix it, make sure that these two pieces are in working order. They are the most important, and unfortunately, the most common pieces that need replacing or repair.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Printer Ink Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
George Sayour