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Ink Cartridge Handling

Here are some tips Cartridge World Pasadena recommends for handling your ink cartridge when new and when empty.

When ink cartridge is new or freshly remanufactured
When buy a new or remanufactured printer cartridge here are some things to keep in mind.
  • If you can, allow the cartridge to acclimate to it's surroundings before trying to use it.  

  • Do not expose the cartridge to extreme temperatures such as those that can result from leaving it in a hot/cold car.

  • Remove the pull-tab on a new cartridge or a clip/pull-tab combination if the cartridge if remanufactured.  Often a customer calls our store with a printer cartridge issue only to learn that they forgot to remove the blue tape covering the print head of the ink cartridge.

  • When you install a new cartridge into your printer, the printer may fail to recognize the cartridge installed.  If you get a message telling you that the cartridge cannot be recognized or telling you to re-insert the printer cartridge the contacts on the cartridge may be dirty.  If your new or remanufactured printer cartridge fails to be recognized in the printer due to dirty contacts follow Ink Cartridge Cleaning and Maintenance instructions to clean your printer cartridge.

  • Keep using the cartridge until it stops printing.  Quite often printers start to complain that the cartridge is empty while there may be as much as 1/3 ink still left in the cartridge.  Follow the instructions on your screen to bypass the empty ink indicator and keep printing until the cartridge is no longer printing.  

  • Even if your printer stops printing and demands that a new print cartridge be installed, follow the on-screen instructions to let your printer continue printing.  

  • Make sure your ink cartridges get a workout at least once every few days.  This happens quite easily if you are using your printer every day to print in color as well as in black.  However, if you are not using your printer regularly or don't print in color often the ink will dry out on the bottom of the print head and clog the printing nozzles.  This will produce a streaky print and give the appearance that the cartridge is running out of ink.  If this happens follow Ink Cartridge Cleaning and Maintenance instructions to get your printer cartridge back to printing condition.  

  • If your cartridge is remanufactured, quite often it will appear to be already empty to your computer.  This will typically occur on HP multi-function (print/copy/scan/fax) type of machines as well as some Canon printers (using PG FINE cartridges) and all Lexmark and Dell printers.  There are no current methods to reset ink cartridges.  Once they are marked as empty by the printer, they will continue to read empty.  Your computer may not immediately register the cartridge as empty as the previous owner may not have finished using it to the end in it's previous life.  If your remanufactured cartridge immediately or shortly after installing it shows that the cartridge is empty, simply follow the prompts on your computer to bypass the empty indicator and keep using the cartridge until it shows signs of being empty (see next hint).

  • Once the cartridge is showing signs of being empty such as streaking or not printing at all, do not continue to use it.  Attempting to use the cartridge after all ink has ran out will burn out the print head nozzles as the ink acts as a cooling agent to cool down the print head during operation.  At Cartridge World Pasadena we do not refill printer cartridges with burnt out nozzles or other electrical issues as they no longer produce acceptable results.

  • If you are not sure how much ink remains in your cartridge feel free to bring it by our store.  We can check the amount of ink by weighing your cartridge and comparing it's weight to our list of empty cartridge weights.  If there is ink in your cartridge, we can provide a courtesy cartridge cleaning service and restore printing capacity of your cartridge.  See handling tips below when transporting your "used" cartridge to us.

  • At Cartridge World Pasadena we are always happy to help even if you did not purchase your printer cartridge from us.  If you are experiencing any issues with your new or remanufactured printer cartridge bring it by our store.  We will expertly examine your cartridge for any damage and let you know if there is any ink left in it.  If there is ink in it, most of the time we are able to use our cleaning equipment to restore your cartridge to full printing capacity without you having to buy a new cartridge.  All the tests and cleaning are done for FREE as a courtesy to Pasadena and surrounding communities.

When ink cartridge has ran out of ink or appears to be empty
Here are some handling tips to follow after you have exhausted or believe that you have exhausted the ink in your cartridge.

  • Don't panic!  You did buy an extra cartridge that you have placed by your printer for this very occasion, right?  If so, take the empty cartridge and replace it with your new cartridge.

  • If you feel that you have barely used the cartridge or have not used the cartridge for a long time the ink on the print head of the cartridge may have dried out.  Follow the Ink Cartridge Cleaning and Maintenance instructions to see if you can clean out the cartridge.

  • If after cleaning, the cartridge is still not printing or you know that it is empty bring it by Cartridge World Pasadena.  We can test the cartridge and tell you for sure if there is any ink left in it.  If there is any ink left in the cartridge, we can clean it and restore it to full printing capacity for FREE.

  • Most people throw their cartridges in a bag or wrap them in a paper towel when transporting them to the store.  This is not a proper method of transporting cartridges.  Putting cartridges in a bag allows the print heads to touch the plastic siding.  The ink in color cartridges will smear on the side of the bag and contaminate the ink chambers in the cartridge.  Putting the cartridges in a paper towel will cause the ink to be siphoned out of the cartridge into the paper towel by the capillary action and make it appear as if the cartridge has leaked all over the paper towel.  This will also allow the colors in color cartridges to contaminate.  

    Once the ink is contaminated the colors will no longer appear as expected.  For example, cyan may become green if the yellow contamination is introduced.  When you bring your cartridge to the store, we may determine that it is not empty and may be able to recover the printing capability of the cartridge, however, the only way to get rid of contamination for sure is to completely remanufacture the cartridge.  Therefore, if you suspect that your cartridge is not empty do not transport it in a bag or wrapped in a paper towel.   

    The proper method of transporting the cartridge is by placing it in a box with a print head toward the side of the box to prevent print heads touching and hitting each other.  A properly refilled cartridge will not leak.

  • Do not attempt to place the protective clip which came with your cartridge back onto the cartridge.  Incorrect placement of the clip will severely damage the print head of the cartridge.  Once the print head is damaged the cartridge cannot be recovered if there is ink still left in the cartridge or remanufactured for later use.  Placing the clip on a color cartridge (even if replaced correctly) will definitely contaminate the colors making it impossible to get accurate colors out of the cartridge.

  • Do not leave your cartridges in a hot car.  If there is any ink left in the cartridge it will expand due to heat and the cartridge will leak.  If you are transporting your cartridges in a box, you may want to place the box into a plastic bag to prevent any accidental leakage and spilling of ink.