The toner in a printer provides the ink for printing pages, so you might ask yourself if this very toner comes with an expiration date. So, does printer toner expire?
Now, most manufacturers provide an expiration date, which is stamped in their product. This expiration date shows how long the product is viable to use. Printer toner is not any exception. You will find the expiration date on your printer by closely inspecting your toner.
This article explores if a printer toner expires over time, how long it lasts, how to increase its longevity, and if you can use the toner after its expiration date has passed.
Does Printer Toner Expire?
Laser toner is made up of dry plastic powder composed of carbon-melt mixed with polymer and coloring agents.
Since laser printer toner is made of dry powder instead of ink, it does not traditionally dry out, unlike traditional inkjet printers. Hence, laser printer cartridges have a longer shelf life. Does that mean a single laser printer toner will last for eternity?
The simple answer is no. Plastic is much stable than any other material. The printer toner is made of plastic components so that it does not dry out.
Why Is There an Expiration Date on Laser Printer Toner?
You will often find an expiration date marked in your cartridge. Why is that? Although technically, the printer toner does not dry out, the quality deteriorates over time. Over few years, the quality of the toner will degrade. It is because fine powder can clump or is vulnerable to change as time flies by.
Moreover, the condition of internal cartridge components can decline over an extended period. Hence, the printed papers will not carry the same quality printing as they did before.
Although you can let your printer toner sit for weeks before it dries out, but eventually, the quality will fall, and the expiration date gives you a good estimation as to when that will happen.
Typically, when you scan the cartridge with your printer, it will show you the toner’s expiration date. It serves as a warning to protect your printer because an expired toner does not pair well with a printer.
As a result, some printers will have a built-in warning system that is very tough to avoid. So, mark your calendars to save yourself from any annoyance that the warnings will inflict!
After the expiration date has passed, you may not find the quality of your printed paper to be up to the mark. Now, you might ask, how long till all chaos breaks loose?
How Long Does a Printer Toner Last?
Cartridge shelf life indicates the length of time a cartridge is suitable for use when it is sealed. Many contributing factors affect the shelf life of a cartridge. The shelf life of an original printer cartridge is 24 months, and the shelf life of a cartridge is 36 months.
Many factors can adversely affect the shelf life, including the conditions it is stored in, the temperature it is kept in, and whether it was sealed. But you can easily avoid them by making sure that the printer toner is treated well.
What Conditions Are Best for Your Printer Toner?
Many factors can contribute to harming your printer toner. Cartridges can last a long time if it is stored properly. To keep them in good condition, you should make sure that they lay flat, are at room temperature, and are sealed.
Lay the Toner in a Horizontal Position
When you are storing your laser printer toner, it has to be laid horizontally. Keeping it in a vertical or upright position can damage the toner.
Additionally, if it is laid on its side or any other powder, the powder can become concentrated in one place while leaving the other place barren. As a result, the performance of the toner can deteriorate. To increase the longevity of the toner, always lay the toner flat.
Keep the Toner in a Dust-Free and at a Standard Temperature Room
Extremely hot or cold conditions, along with dust, can negatively affect the toner life. To ensure that your toner lasts even after the expiration date has passed, store it in a clean place and ensure that it does not come in contact with a lot of dust.
Store it away from fumes, humidity, very hot temperatures, or freezing temperatures, as that will adversely affect the toner’s quality.
Moreover, storing the laser printer toner in a car or vehicle where the interior does not guarantee stable temperature can harm the printer toner too.
A safe bet is storing the laser toner cartridge in a closet with low-level humidity and a stable climate. Seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit at fifty percent humidity is the best temperature for a toner to be kept in.
Do Not Break the Seal of Cartridges
Laser printer toner comes in a sealed package, which should ideally be stored in a moisture-proof area. The tight seal bars any heat, moisture, or light from interacting with the cartridge toner. This tight seal must be maintained as heat and humidity are the two sharks that deteriorate the laser toner’s life.
A broken seal of the toner will not protect it from its environment. If the seal is broken, a laser toner that would have worked well after its expiration date may not be in a condition to be used anymore.
You can increase the life of a laser printer toner by ensuring that the seal is not broken, it is kept at a stable temperature, and it lays flat at all times.
Can You Use a Laser Printer Toner After Its Expiration Date?
Now that you know how to increase the shelf life of a laser printer toner, you might be wondering if you can use the toner after the expiration date has passed. Expiration dates are availed for a reason, it shows how long the product is viable
However, for non-perishable items, if you take good care of the product, you can use it well after its expiration date. The expiration date only serves to show how long a product is suitable for.
Laser printer toners can last longer when it is stored correctly. It can almost outlive the expiration date by being good to use for two entire years. Even after the two-year mark has passed, the cartridge will be suitable to use, so it is important to maintain your printer toner.
Although you can use it after the expiration date, it is advised to be cautious and mindful when using it after the date, as it comes with its own set of risks.
You have to be mindful about the expiration date, as an expired, bad cartridge has the potential to damage your printer. An expired printer toner not only impairs the quality of the printer but can damage your printer permanently.
Granted, the printer toner does not come cheap, but risking your printer’s life may not be the best bet. If you want to make most of your printer, store it properly.
Unfortunately, as much as we want to make the most of a product and use it for long, expiration dates come for a reason. A printer toner does expire over time, and it is viable to use only up to a certain period as mentioned in the article.
So, be mindful of the expiration date and store the toner properly, as not doing so can damage your printer in the long run.
Hopefully, the answer to the question, does printer toner expire, is clear to you now.