Brother INKvestment ink cartridges are popular among many printer owners due to their affordability and high page yields. However, a common concern with any ink cartridge is the possibility of ink drying out, especially if the printer is not used frequently.
How ink dries in cartridges
Ink dries out due to evaporation – the water and other liquid components in the ink formulation slowly evaporate over time if the cartridge is not properly sealed. The rate of evaporation depends on several factors:
- Environmental conditions – ink dries out faster in hot, dry environments compared to cool, humid ones.
- Frequency of printer use – infrequently used cartridges are more prone to drying out.
- Cartridge seal – an improperly installed or damaged cartridge can allow ink to evaporate.
- Ink formulation – some ink formulations are more prone to drying out than others.
As the ink solvents evaporate, the dye concentrates and becomes thicker, eventually reaching a point where it will no longer flow through the printhead nozzles as intended. This leads to poor print quality and flow issues.
Do Brother INKvestment tanks have special technology to prevent drying out?
Brother does utilize some helpful technologies in the INKvestment line to reduce the risk of ink drying out:
- Innovative cartridge design – the plastic reservoir tanks have a specialized shape and inner seals to minimize air exposure.
- Auto seal features – valves automatically close when the cartridge is removed to prevent evaporation.
- Anti-drying coatings – the ink formulation and cartridge interiors utilize protective polymer layers.
However, despite these features, Brother does still recommend regular printer use to ensure ink does not eventually dry up.
Typical drying out timeframes
With average use, most Brother INKvestment cartridges should remain moist and usable within these timeframes when stored correctly:
|Unopened Shelf Life
|Opened Tanks in Printer
|Up to 1 year
|Up to 6 months
|Up to 6 months
|Up to 6 months
Note that unopened cartridges stored correctly can last about 2 years before drying up. However, once installed, ink life is reduced – especially for color cartridges. Proper printer care and regular printing is recommended.
Tips to prevent Brother INKvestment ink drying out
To maximize ink life and prevent drying out issues, consider these handy tips:
- Print a few pages at least once a week – regular use maintains good ink flow.
- Always turn off the printer properly – don’t just unplug it to ensure seals close.
- Check ink levels routinely – top off tanks before they get very low.
- Store unused cartridges correctly – keep spares sealed in a cool, dark place.
- Check for clogs – clean printhead if you see missing lines or dots.
- Don’t expose to extremes – keep printer and ink away from very hot or cold areas.
- Consider refilling – use reputable ink to refill tanks instead of replacing.
What to do if ink has dried out
If you notice symptoms of dried ink such as streaking, missing colors, or flow issues, don’t panic. Try these remedies:
- Run several cleaning cycles and nozzle checks – this may clear minor clogs.
- Gently clean the printhead manually if cleanings don’t help.
- Leave cartridges to soak in warm distilled water to rehydrate slightly dried ink.
- As a last resort, replace dried out tanks with new Brother INKvestment cartridges.
Brother INKvestment ink tanks are reasonably resistant to drying out thanks to protective design features. However, infrequent printing can still allow evaporation over time. Getting into the habit of regular prints, even just a few pages weekly, can go a long way towards preventing annoying dryout issues.
Additionally, monitoring ink levels, storing cartridges properly, and avoiding extreme environmental conditions helps safeguard your INKvestment. But even with the most diligent printer care, sometimes dried ink happens. A few simple cleaning and soaking techniques can often get you back up and printing again.
With a quality Brother printer and INKvestment tanks, a few good maintenance practices will keep your ink moist and usable for many months of carefree printing.