If you remove a cartridge from an inkjet printer for longer, cartridge nozzles will dry out so you'll need to clean them in some way or buy new cartridge. Is there something that can happen to the printer itself when there's no cartridge in it?

I've just installed a new cartridge with black ink in HP PSC 1210 printer after the old one has been removed for a couple of days. I was able to print as few as 5 pages of text and then the black ink stopped appearing on sheets (printer was trying to print as if nothing happened). I don't know if I should blame refilled cartridge provider (for poor quality of the cartridge) or myself (for leaving a cartridge slot empty for several days).


Leaving an printer cartridge slot empty does not cause any problems.

A good deal of printer manufactures ship their new printers with no cartridges in the slot, and require the user to install the cartridges (provided in a vacuum sealed bag) before using the printer.

  • So it sounds like the OP should store the cartridge in a vacuum sealed bag when not using it. Maybe a Ziplock bag would do? Feb 10 '11 at 16:37
  • Don't vacuum seal the bag - any reduced pressure in the bag may cause the ink to leech out through the nozzles or the pressure vent.
    – Linker3000
    Feb 10 '11 at 17:23
  • Edit for above ^^ When the manufacturers shrink wrap the cartidges, they leave just the right amount of air pressure in the bag to avoid leakage.
    – Linker3000
    Feb 10 '11 at 17:30
  • This advice is fine for cartridges that contain the printhead. When you remove the cartridge, it leaves an empty carriage. For printers where the cartridge is just an ink tank, this is a terrible idea. Residual ink will dry in the printhead and may be very difficult to clean out. You could end up having to replace the printhead (expensive if it is even user-replaceable).
    – fixer1234
    May 15 '16 at 19:13

When the ink cartridge is parked in the printer, it is usually capped with a rubber/synthetic stopper to prevent the nozzles from drying out. Some manufacturers used to do a cartridge station to store spare cartridges when they were not in the printer and these had a similar arrangement, but if you can't get one of these, the best option is either to store the cartridge in a zip-loc plastic bag (not vacuum sealed) or gently wrap the nozzle area in some cling film/saran wrap to prevent them from drying out.

If the heads do dry out you can sometimes flush them with distilled/deionized water. I have heard that pure alchohol (not rubbing alcohol with water in it) can be used, but not having tried it I leave this as 'at your own discretion'

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