Save Money On Printer Ink! Refill Ink Cartridges Yourself – Here’s How

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Ink cartridges can cost hundreds of dollars every year, if you print often. You might not realize that you can refill ink cartridges yourself!

refill ink cartridge

Whether you have an old printer or just want to save some money, you can refill printer ink at a much cheaper price than buying a new cartridge.

Ink refill kits are typically cheaper than buying new printer cartridges. Instead of getting the cartridge case and ink, you just get the ink and the supplies needed to fill your existing cartridge.

Here’s how to refill ink cartridges yourself…


If you’re mostly printing things for your own personal use, then it’s a great way to save some money!

Follow these 4 easy steps:


#1 – Remove The Ink Cartridge From The Printer

Most printers have a black and one or more color cartridges. You’ll need to buy ink refill kits that include each of the colors you want to refill.

If you’re short on cash, you can usually get by with just refilling the black cartridge.

ink cartridges


#2 – Prepare The Cartridge From The Manufacturer

Find the holes where your ink is filled by the manufacturer. These holes are either on the top or the side of the cartridge.

The manufacturer usually covers the holes with a label.

ink cartridge holes

Lift the label off of the cartridge to see the holes. If you can’t remove the label, use a sharp object — such as a pencil or paper clip — to poke holes in the refill spots.

The goal is to poke a hole where the ink needs to be inserted.


#3 – Fill The Cartridge With Ink From A Refill Kit

The printer ink refill kit comes with black ink and a syringe that you use to inject the ink into the cartridge. Fill the syringe with ink from the bottle.

Helpful tips to refill the ink:

  • Ensure that you have no air in the syringe, because you don’t want to inject air pockets into the cartridge.
  • After you fill the syringe, insert it into the refill holes.
  • Insert the syringe until the tip of the syringe hits the back of the cartridge

You’ll notice that the cartridge is filled with foam. It’s this foam that becomes saturated with ink.

  • Squeeze the syringe until the cartridge is filled with ink, but make sure you don’t overfill it and lose ink through the top of the holes.
  • Wipe the top of the cartridge with a cloth napkin or paper towel. (Any excess ink on the cartridge can drip onto your paper and ruin the document.)
  • Cover the refill holes with scotch tape to avoid leaking.

Repeat these steps for the color cartridge as well. Color cartridges are actually a mix of red, yellow and blue, so you’ll need to refill each of these colors individually.


#4 – Return The Cartridge To The Printer

To confirm that you’ve filled the ink cartridges properly, print a test document. Most printers have test pages you can print in the printer’s property settings.

If you’re using a Windows computer, right-click the printer icon in the Control Panel and select “Properties.” In the main window, click “Print Test Page” to print using black and white and color.


Are There Drawbacks To Refilling Your Own Ink Cartridges?

As with most tips and tricks, you should weigh the pros and cons of this DIY project.

It can be very messy and there is a risk of staining your hands and your work area when you refill printer ink cartridges.

ink on hands

You can wear gloves to avoid staining of your skin. Spread some old rags out and refill the cartridges in your garage or on an old table. 

Sometimes, the ink is not as good as normal ink. If you’re just printing off pages for personal reading or forms, you’re probably fine. 

If you’re printing photographs or items you want to put on display, the color difference is sometimes noticeable. 


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