Best Time to Refill
The best time to refill your cartridge is before it is completely out of ink. Look out for signs that the ink is running low, such as light prints or white streaking. Don't let the cartridge become completely empty before you refill because printing with and empty cartridge will burn out the nozzles and make the cartridge unrefillable.
For color cartridges (tri-color cartridges) it is best to refill your cartridge when you notice one color is running low. If you continue to print with one empty color you will damage the cartridge.
Bringing in Black Cartridges for Refill
When bringing in cartridges to be refilled by a retail location, bring in the cartridges in an air tight plastic bag. Do NOT use tape to preserve the cartridge because you run the risk of damaging the cartridge. If you cannot bring the cartridge in right away, wrap it in a plastic bag with a moist paper towel (to keep the nozzles from drying out) and store it away from direct heat. Excessive heat can cause the ink to expand and leak.
Bringing in Color Cartridges for Refill
It is recommended, especially in color cartridges, not to use the original tape (or any tape) when bringing in a cartridge. It is best to bring in a color cartridge in the original cardboard box, not a plastic bag. If the nozzle is exposed to the plastic, it can cause the colors to mix. If you must use a plastic bag, wrap the cartridge in a paper towel to keep the nozzle from touching the plastic.
Be careful when handling inkjet cartridges, because the cartridge's circuit board is sensitive and can damaged. When inserting or removing an inkjet cartridge, from a printer, be patient. Forcing a cartridge will damage the circuit board.
touch the metal print head with your hands.
The Number of Refills
You can usually refill your cartridge between 4 and 10 times. It all depends on the brand, model, and use time. How you care for a cartridge can also determine the refill life of your cartridge.
Burned Out Nozzles
Inkjet cartridges have electrical resistors that control the current to each outlet. When you continue to print when the cartridge is empty, it causes the cartridge to overheat. In time, the resistors will produce low output, either color distortion or weak printing or both. Every time you print without ink, you reduce the refill life of the cartridge.
If you don't use your printer often, the cartridge needs to be cleaned to keep it in good working order. Periodically run the print head cleaning program to keep the nozzle working. Instructions should be included in the operations manual.
Keeping Cartridges in Refillable Conditions
Store your cartridges with the print head down to keep the print head moist and in proper working condition. Keep filled color cartridges upright because if left on its side can cause the colors to mix.
After removing the cartridge from the printer, bring in the cartridges as soon as possible. Less exposure to air will help prevent the ink from drying and damaging the cartridge.
When is a Cartridge Not Refillable?
Not all cartridges can be refilled. Some are designed not to be refilled and others can become unusable due to damage, misuse, neglect, or excess wear and tear.
Lexmark cartridges will dry out within a couple of days but an HP cartridge will begin to dry out within two weeks. To receive the best results the cartridges should be refilled and stored properly as soon as possible.
If the cartridge has been exposed to direct sunlight or the cartridge shows physical damage, it should not be refilled.
You should use your refilled cartridge within two months to ensure the cartridge will work properly.
Run test pages every week or every other week to keep the cartridge from drying out.
If you are not going to use the cartridge for a long time, wrap it in a moist paper towel and put it in an air tight plastic bag to prevent the nozzle from drying out.