What Does the Date on an Ink Cartridge Mean?

You may have seen a date on the box or stamped on the cartridge that appears to be an expiration date.

Some ink manufacturers add two dates on their packaging:

  • Ink Cartridge Warranty Date: This date means the manufacturer will not guarantee the ink beyond that date.
  • Ink Cartridge Expiration Date: Typically set to 2 years from the warranty date

Carefully read the small letters above the date to see which date it is.

Ink manufacturers include dates on ink packaging to indicate to consumers when the cartridge will be out of warranty by the manufacturer.  This, however does not mean the ink cartridge has an expiration date or is unusable after that date.  

When you purchase from Ink Genie, you don’t need to worry about either date due to our Ink Genie Guarantee, which goes beyond the manufacturer’s warranty period.


Do ink cartridges expire?

The date on the packaging does not mean that the ink is expired. On the contrary, older cartridges can still be used and are usually found at a discounted price, offering you a low-cost alternative.

If there is an expiration date, it is usually up to two years after the warranty date or about four years after the manufacturing date.


When do HP ink cartridges expire?

HP ink cartridges come with a warranty date and an expiration date printed directly on the ink cartridge in YYYYY/MM/DD format.  This second date is the expiration date and is usually 2 years from the warranty date.  HP prints this date to encourage people to use their ink cartridges before this date.


When do Epson ink cartridges expire?

Epson ink cartridges have a "Best If Used By" date, approximately two years after the manufacturing date.


When do Canon ink cartridges expire?

Canon always claims that its ink does not expire, so no date is stamped on its cartridges, not even the manufacturing date.

The company recommends not removing cartridges from their packaging for any reason before use to maintain the quality of the ink.


When do Brother ink cartridges expire?

Brother sets its ink's expiration date two years after the cartridge’s manufacturing date.

Brother  recommends cartridges are changed every six months, saying the ink expires six months after the cartridge is removed from its packaging.


What happens if I use an expired ink cartridge?

Many ink cartridges work well past their expiration date, which is typically 2 years after the manufacturing date. Using an expired cartridge usually works perfectly fine.  On occasion, it may have partially dried ink that can clog your printer if it was not carefully stored.

To prevent the ink from drying, be sure to store your ink cartridges properly.


How do I store my ink cartridges to make them last longer?

Ink cartridges suffer internal damage even in their original packaging if they are not appropriately stored while not in use.

Ambient temperature, humidity, and exposure to sunlight and dust can contribute to damage to the ink inside the cartridge.

Ink cartridges should always be placed in an upright position; if placed upside down, the ink inside the cartridge will shift to one side and potentially cause print quality issues.


Where to store your ink cartridges?

Cartridges should be stored in a dark, dry place at room temperature.  Exposure to extreme heat or cold will deteriorate the ink.

  • Heat can cause the ink to bubble up and leak. 
  • Cold conditions can cause the ink to separate.  


What happens if I store an ink cartridge without its packaging?

Ink cartridges come in a plastic bag inside the cartridge box. The inner packaging that covers the cartridge must be perfectly sealed, just as it came from the manufacturer so that the ink or toner will keep properly.

A cartridge without its packaging is twice as likely to dry out and become damaged and may even be completely damaged within a few months after purchase.

For best results, only open a printer cartridge when you are ready to use it. All printer cartridges are stored in a vacuum-sealed bag. Most include tape over crucial components, like the vent hole, to keep them in factory condition.  


Can I still use the cartridge after the expiration date?

With proper storage of your ink cartridges, you can still use them after the expiration date.


Ink Genie’s Commitment to Customers 

At Ink Genie, we ensure that our customers are 100% satisfied.  That means that regardless of whether the cartridge is past its warranty or expiration date, we will guarantee that you will be able to use the cartridge.  And if not, you can contact our customer service to resolve any issues with the cartridge.  

Because of our distinct buying and selling process, which enables us to offer the lowest prices on the market, we have cheaper prices and provide discounts for all our ink cartridges and toners than most major retailers.

Ink Genie is one of the leading ink and toner suppliers to businesses, government institutions, schools, and homes in the country. We have thousands of customers that we consider part of our family and always offer them our best service, satisfaction, and savings!

Discover more about Ink Genie and browse our selection of name-brand ink and toner cartridges today.