How to Get the Most Use out of a Printer Cartridge

By Keith Evans

Many people do not know that an "Out of Ink" warning occurs long before the ink cartridge is actually full. Because inkjet printers relay on light sensors to indicate when the ink is running low, a simple trick can fool the printer into thinking there is plenty of ink. This trick will allow the printer to continue printing until the ink cartridge actually is completely empty.

Things You'll Need

  • Dark-colored stickers

Step 1

Open your printer. Depending on the type of inkjet printer you have, the printer may raise up from the front or side. Regardless of the configuration, you will need to open your printer in order to gain access to the ink cartridges. If you are unsure how to access your printer's ink cartridges, consult the owner's manual.

Step 2

Remove the ink cartridge. Because ink cartridges are designed to be replaced, they are usually simple to remove. Most printers have small plastic clips that hold the ink cartridge in place, simply pull this clip back and pull up on the ink cartridge to remove it from the printer. Leave the printer open as you will be replacing the cartridge shortly.

Step 3

Apply a sticker to the ink cartridge. For this step, you will need a dark-colored sticker. You may obtain such a sticker from any department or chain store toy section. Any sticker will do as long as it is dark in color and does not allow light to pass though. If the sticker is larger than the cartridge, trim it before applying. One side of your ink cartridge should be clear, allowing you to visually inspect how much ink is left in the cartridge. If the cartridge is completely empty, replace it.

Step 4

Locate the side of the cartridge that is clear. Apply the dark colored sticker to block the view of the ink. This action will prevent the printer's light sensors from "seeing" a lack of ink. The printer will now believe the cartridge is full.

Step 5

Replace the ink cartridge. Insert the cartridge in the same configuration as before it was removed. Press down (or in) on the cartridge until the plastic retainer clip snaps into place.

Step 6

Close the printer. Once the cartridge is in place, close the printer lid and return the printer to its normal printing configuration. The printer may attempt to clean the cartridge, but should resume printing without the "Low Ink" or "Ink Empty" warning. If the printer does not recognize the reinserted cartridge, repeat steps two and four to ensure the cartridge is properly seated.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since this method tricks the printer into thinking there is ink remaining in the cartridge, the printer may not be able to offer reliable warnings when ink is low or empty. For this reason, it is important to remain mindful of the ink cartridge's actual ink levels.