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What is the process of refilling ink cartridges and does it save you enough money to bother?

Updated on March 5, 2008

Yes refilling ink cartridges can save money

Perfect timing on your request. I just refilled a printer cartridge yesterday.

When you buy a cartridge kit, it may come with bottles of ink, a small hand drill, a syringe with a blunt needle and some plastic gloves.

The cartridge I refilled yesterday was easy. I only had to peel the label on top of the cartridge back slightly to expose two holes. Read the directions to find out where to fill. Some cartridges you must pull off the top of the cartridge. Other cartridges you would use the hand drill to drill a hole in the top of the cartridge. Some kits come with rubber plugs to close the hole after you have filled the cartridge or you can cover the holes with a piece of tape.

Read the directions to determine the capacity of the cartridge. Put on the plastic gloves, spread layers of newspaper over your work surface, attach the needle to the syringe and pierce the foil cap on the bottle with the needle. Tip the bottle slightly so the needle is immersed in the ink. Gently draw back the plunger to draw ink into the syringe. Fill to less than the capacity of the cartridge. Then insert the needle into the filler hole(s) on top of the cartridge. You will feel resistance as the needle contacts the sponge inside. Push the needle firmly into the sponge and then draw it back slightly. Slowly!! depress the plunger to inject the ink. If you do this quickly, the ink may overflow and create a mess. I find slowly withdrawing the needle as I inject the ink works well.

When you see ink appear at the filler hole - Stop. Any ink remaining in the syringe may be injected back into the bottle. Replace the cap on the bottle tightly. Take the syringe to the sink and flush it with water. Some syringes will allow you to remove the plunger from the body and place it under running water to flush. Moisten a paper towel or facial tissue with water, do Not use alcohol, and gently wipe the bottom of the cartridge. You will be wiping the ink jets so be gentle. You should see ink appear on your paper when you do this.

Do not install the cartirdge back into the printer at this time. Leave the cartridge sitting on your newspapers to allow any excess ink to drain in case you overfilled. Let it sit for 20 - 30 minutes to be sure you do not have an ink spill in your printer. Blot the bottom of the cartridge again before installing it into your printer.

On most printer you can run a print check to be sure everthing is working properly. Some printers may require you to reset the cartridge to a new cartridge to let the printer know it is full. Please refer to your owner's manual.

I believe the refill kit cost $19.95 and will refill about six cartridges. A new cartridge is about $30 so there are substantial cost savings.

One key point is not to let your cartridge run dry. It is possible for the ink to dry in the nozzle and when you refill, you will have a streak where the nozzle is plugged.

Good luck!

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