General discussion

Are expired inkjet cartridges still safe to use?

May 25, 2007 12:24PM PDT

I own an HP 895Cse Deskjet inkjet printer which has worked flawlessly for the past nine years. The cost for replacing the cartridges every so often is high. I've always bought my replacement cartridges new from either HP or one of their resellers.

I notice now where these cartridges are also being sold by numerous people on Ebay and the first thing I check on Ebay when a cartridge is up for sale is to see what's the cartridge's expiration or install by date is. If that information isn't listed on the item's description page I'll send the seller a question and ask. If the seller doesn't reply I move on to another seller.

There are many on Ebay selling new; factory sealed HP inkjet cartridges with expiration dates going as far back as January 2003. I wouldn't buy a 2003 dated cartridge for my old printer but what about a 2005 or 2006 expiration date? Would those still be good? I put this question to in the form of an email only to get a NOT READ message back from them in response to my email.

I called HP tech support in India and they were not much help; claiming they didn't know. HP sales was not much help either except to say they wouldn't recommend it. Naturally they wouldn't because they're in the business to sell new inkjet cartridges at full retail price. What kind of problem might I run into if I purchased and installed an expired inkjet cartridge in my old HP inkjet printer?

If the ink is dried up the cartridge obviously wouldn't work. Could installing an expired cartridge into my printer damage the workings of my printer? What about purchasing a December 2006 cartridge to install today? Any chance it would still be any good or would it be best to stay away from a 2006 cartridge today?

There are some on Ebay selling 2007 and 2008 dated cartridges but those go very fast. I was bidding on a #45 black cartridge for myrinter for 3 days with a September 2008 expiration date; I was the only one bidding for 3 days but in the last 5 minutes of the auction someone sniped me and won it for 51 cents more than my highest bid price, I was a little bit ticked.

I haven't had much luck at winning an auction during the last few minutes when someone else is bidding against me at the end. The other guy's internet connection must be faster than mine. I have DSL but it doesn't seem to be fast enough. Feedback from anyone who might know if it would be considered safe to use an expired inkjet cartridge in my HP printer well past the cartridge's expiration date stamped on the box.

Big Steve

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There Are No Guarantees..
May 25, 2007 12:36PM PDT

The expiration date is there because the ink can dry up and make the cartridge unusable.. Still, I've used some really old cartridges and they worked fine but generally it's because we had purchased the cartridges in large lots and it took a long while to get the end of the batch.. But it depends on how they were stored, temperature, and lots of other things..

It's a risk and there is no perfect answer..

Hope this helps.


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Old is old, but...
May 25, 2007 1:40PM PDT

Ink is dated as it will dryout or at least settle abit and cause flow problems. As stated it does matter how the ink was stored. As for #45 ink carts, they're common so don't fret to buy when they come-up and take a win-or-lose bid as they go. Remember, on black ink, its pretty easy to refill or buy refills with no problems, haven't found any lacking in my needs for a HP820Cse model and it uses #45. When finished, I resell back to OfficeMax or credit for $3 and then get a refill as my needs aren't that much and a new refill lasts. About the only problem with an old ink cart, is it won't last long or simply not work. I try to "rap" on desk to jerk ink ahead or break it up a bit and then allow to settle on a damp towel, then re-use. If it doesn't work, get another one. I use inks from printers that people toss or won't pay for repairs and get the printer for my troubles(gee).

tada -----Willy Happy

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Re: Old is old, but...
May 25, 2007 9:02PM PDT

Talking about storing cartridges; if I purchased 4 #45's off of Ebay with good "install by" or "use by" dates; expiring in late 2007 or early 2008; I use about 2 #45's each year; if I installed one right now and stored the remaining three in my desk drawer which would be away from dust and heat does it matter how I store those extra #45's?

Just toss them in the top desk drawer lying flat or should I store them in a lower drawer standing upright like the cartridges are when they're installed in the printer? Does that matter? For example HP recommends if I do a lot of printing each month; I go through about a ream of premium inkjet paper a month; I use 24 pound paper; HP recommends that I should remove both cartridges from the printer once a month and clean them and while they're out I also clean the cradles which hold both cartridges in the printer; something HP also recommends to do.

HP also recommends that I should not leave the cartridges out of the printer for more than "30" minutes and once I have done the cleaning to immediately reinstall both cartridges; run a toolbox check to make sure everything works fine which I do and so far has but what's with that "30" minute rule of not leaving the cartridges out of the printer? Will the print heads on the cartridges begin to stop up or dry up?

For me to lift the lid on the printer while it's still powered up so both cartridges will move to the center; take the cartridges out of the cradles then power down the printer; disconnect it from it's cable; take it to my kitchen where I usually clean the cartridges and the cradles then bring it back to the room where I'm using it; reconnect everything; reinstall the cartridges; "30" minutes doesn't give me that much time.

So if I bought a 2006 cartridge off of Ebay which I will assume would have been stored properly and once I bought it and received it then inspected it when I got it I might not have any problems using a 2006 #45 in my 895Cse or should I try to stay with cartridges with expiration dates of 2007 or 2008?

Like I said previously there are sellers on Ebay selling 2003 and 2004 cartridges for as little as $0.99 but I wouldn't take a chance on installing one of those in my printer because I like using my 895Cse too much because once it stopped working I can't simply go online and buy myself another new one but I did take a chance 2 years ago and bought myself a used one off of Ebay and I was lucky because I managed to buy myself a good one.

You have to be very careful when buying used electronic items off of Ebay because if you're not you can get burned and taken very quick but it also helps if you know something about the product you're wanting to buy since you're more likely to know exactly what kind of questions to ask. I'm on my third 895Cse and if HP still made them I'd definitely buy myself another new one because they're just that good; especially for home office use. Thank you for your post.

Big Steve

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One step at a time...
May 25, 2007 11:23PM PDT

As long as the "seal" remains intact it will have a fighting chance of being usable. Think like a sack of potatoes how to store any electronics, cool and dry. You can store in plastic bag and then in drawer if you like. If possible and you access to such, use a "vacuum pack" sealer and then store. These are usually found at food outlets or hunting shops that cater to hunters, etc..

As for eBay,(don't ever assume anything), I don't even buy my particulars from them if I can help it. I have access to typical sources for my needs but many friends enjoy eBay shopping and yet to hear them complain. The caveat that's "if its too good to be true" it a warning to unwary shoppers/bidders.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Re: One step at a time...
May 26, 2007 12:46AM PDT

I have another printer; an HP Photosmart 2575 that's 16 months old now which I haven't used that much but the factory installed #98 black cartridge that came with the printer finally went out last week so I got on Ebay to take a look around.

I purchased a factory sealed #98 with an expiration date of September 2008 for less than $18.00; shipping included. The seller who I bought the item from had a 100% feedback rating and sells a lot of inkjet cartridges on Ebay. I contacted 3 of his previous buyers about purchasing inkjet cartridges and all 3 had good things to say about the guy.

My cartridge came earlier this week and it was as described; the box was still factory sealed and in excellent shape. Unlike my #45 cartridge the #98 was inside of a white plastic bag which was inside of an HP inkjet cartridge box; something I had never seen before. All of my previous cartridge purchases have been for #23's and #45's for my older 895Cse printer.

I would buy from this guy again. He had a #45 up for sale but at the last minute another buyer got it but I'm bidding on another #45 from this same guy. His starting price for a September 2008 #45 is $4.99 with shipping of $5.00 which isn't bad. There's another seller who has listed a 2001 #45 for 99 cents but he's asking $13.50 for shipping. He has no bids at the moment and his auction will probably end that way. Thanks for your post.

Big Steve

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Outdated Cartridges
Jun 1, 2007 3:22PM PDT

I have a HP PhotoSmart P1100 and have been using outdated Cartridges for over 8 years. I use about 5 black 45A and about 3 colored 78A a year. I think I have found 1 cartridge that would not work. I purchase all my Cartridges on eBay, some are outdated by three years. I will not purchase refill's I have had a couple bad experiances with this type leaking. Store them in a cool, dry, dust free place and you should not have any problems, I keep mine in a top file cabinet draw. John

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Re: Outdated Cartridges
Jun 1, 2007 4:52PM PDT


So you wouldn't use an expired inkjet cartridge in your printer if the cartridge's use by or install by date was more than 2 years old? The only information I was able to find on the HP website was this; each HP inkjet cartridge has a use by or install by date printed on the outside of the box.

HP also has another date printed on each inkjet cartridge which HP refers to as the warranty date. The warranty date and the use by or install by date are two totally different dates. HP's FAQ page on the HP website says if you know the use by date or the install by date on the cartridge go back 18 months from that date and that will give you the HP manufactured date on the cartridge in question.

If you took the warranty date into consideration you would go back 24 months instead of 18 months to determine the HP manufactured date assuming that there was no use by or install by date printed on the outside of the box. The question nobody at HP was willing to answer was this; if I had a No. 45 black inkjet cartridge in my hands recently purchased from Ebay for let's say less than $10.00 including shipping; if that No. 45 black inkjet cartridge had a use by or install by date of December 2005 on it would it still be safe to use now in June 2007.

All HP would say was they wouldn't recommend doing it. They wouldn't say why like the cartridge could leak; the cartridge could spray ink inside my printer; or the cartridge could damage any of the circuitry inside of my printer; they just said not to do it.

Naturally they'd say that because they're in the business to sell new in the box inkjet cartridges for full retail prices to customers who don't know any better. I will say this there are a lot of sellers on Ebay selling expired inkjet cartridges which they claim to still be good because they are still factory sealed in their original HP boxes which I'm sure they are because I've bought many #23 and #45 inkjet cartridges new since having purchased my first new 895Cse inkjet printer back in 1999 but many cartridges for sale on Ebay have expiration dates dating back to June 2001.

I know they're old because many of them are in the old dark blue HP inkjet cartridge boxes; boxes HP hasn't used for years. Yes they may be selling for $0.99 + $5.00 shipping but to me it's not worth $6.00 to chance running the risk of damaging my soon to be 8 year old HP Deskjet 895Cse inkjet printer which is still running flawlessly with an inkjet cartridge that old but I might consider installing one with a May 2007 use by or install by date on it but I won't be installing a June 2001 one in it. Thank you for your post.

Big Steve

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Are expired inkjet cartridges still safe to use?
Jun 1, 2007 7:07PM PDT

Although I am unable to vouch on what happens with a dried up used black cartridge, from my experience I can say that I have myself refilled a black cartridge for my Lexmark 3200 printer now at least five times, and each time it has continued to work perfectly. I refill as soon as it runs out of ink. This task can also be carried out at specialist retailers if you don't want to do it yourself. But there's trick to remember: do not insert the syringe needle more than about 10 mm into the cartridge chamber, otherwise you will risk ink leaking out at the jet end. This will make such a mess in the printer's cartridge holder that it would need to be cleaned.

I wouldn't try and refill a three colour cartridge myself as I would be likely to get the colours mixed up! However, on the few occasions when I have had one refilled at a specialist retailer, I definitely wasn't happy with its performance thereafter. However, I can only relate that comment to my own experience.

Please note that I am unable to comment on refilling other makes of cartridge, not having refilled any.

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Expired Inkjet Cartridges
Jun 1, 2007 8:02PM PDT

In my experience, buying expired HP cartridges is a gamble. I have an old HP Deskjet 540 that uses cartridges with the print head integrated with the cartridge. I opened a brand new cartridge, only about 3-6 months past its expiry date. It did not work because the copper contacts on the print head had warped and the printer would not recognize the cartridge.

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Re: Expired Inkjet Cartridges
Jun 1, 2007 8:57PM PDT

Thank you for your post.

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Re: Expired Inkjet Cartridges
Jun 2, 2007 4:35AM PDT

Let me ask you this; hypothetically speaking let's just say that I had not one but two 895Cse inkjet printers; one which was connected to a computer I use quite a lot; the other 895Cse was connected to another computer I didn't use that much. I haven't printed anything out on the other printer for at least 6 months.

If I were to remove the inkjet cartridges from the 895Cse printer which was connected to the other computer which I didn't use that much and noticed that the HP warranty dates on both cartridges installed in the other printer had expired by several months; for example both cartridges had HP warranty dates of December 2006 on them.

Would it be alright to go ahead and reinstall them in the other printer; try to print something out and if everything printed out OK I could continue to use them or should I remove them from the printer and discard them and not replace them with newer cartridges unless I had plans to begin using the other printer again?

Basically what I'd like to know is would it be OK to just leave the expired cartridges in the other printer; try to use them later; if they were too old or the ink was to dry up would I receive some kind of an error message from HP telling me the cartridges were no longer good; that I needed to replace them?

Big Steve

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I use very "expired" HP inks all the time, never a problem.
Jun 2, 2007 4:56AM PDT

Unless your printer has a permanent printhead, and the "cartridges" are just a vial of ink, there is absolutely no way that any cartridge could damage the printer, unless it was to leak. Of course a factory-sealed genuine HP cartridge that was never refilled is not going to leak, no matter how old it is. The worst that could happen is that the ink would have dried up or separated out, so when you try to print nothing comes out on the paper, or the output is streaked and unreadable.

Now if your printer is an Epson, or one of the new "revenue enhancing" HP Photosmart's with the non-removable printheads and smart-chipped ink tanks, then you're right--using expired, refilled, or "non-genuine" ink isn't worth the risk.

For your printer, that is NOT a problem, as the #45 black and #23 tri-color cartridges that you use each contain an integrated printhead.

I know that for the HP printers I own, I use ink that is way out of date--as in 2002 expiration dates--and it still works fine. I got a huge stockpile of this ink from a store that was going out of business, which is why I bought so much. The printers I have are the Officejet G85xi and Officejet 570. The G85xi uses the #45 black and #78 color, and the 570 uses the #29 black and #49 color. These cartridges are VERY resistant to drying out, as long as they're factory-sealed, and the ink used does not separate out or deteriorate due to the passage of time.

As long as you are buying genuine HP cartridges that have never been refilled or "refurbished", you should NOT have any problem, regardless of HP's self-serving "install-by" date.

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Re: I use "expired" HP inks all the time, never a problem.
Jun 2, 2007 5:53AM PDT

So about my other 895Cse printer which I don't use that much; as long as the cartridges are installed in that printer and I turn it on and print about 20 pages a month I should be good to go to continue using those inkjet printer cartridges installed in that other printer well after their expiration date? What's the saying; it's better to use them than lose them?

I wish the #23 cartridges had a low ink indicator on the outside of the cartridge's case like the #45's do because I have no way of knowing if the #23's are about to run out until they run out. I also have an HP Photosmart 2575 which I've had for about 14 months and everytime I print an indicator pops up on the screen showing approximately how much ink is left in each cartridge.

HP is quick to say that their on screen indicator should not be relied on for an accurate reading; it's just an estimate. I agree with that statement. Last week I had to replace the #98 black cartridge in that printer; the on screen indicater displayed full soon after the new cartridge was installed.

After printing about 20 pages of black text documents later that indicator level had dropped about 1/8" which couldn't have been right; I only printed 20 pages but then again since I have not had much experience in using an HP 2575 Photosmart printer; who knows; it could be right. Thank you for your post.

Big Steve

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