How long can a toner be stored

How long can a toner be stored

Toner is used almost every day. Many have a small warehouse where printer and multifunction device consumables are kept together. On this page you will find all the information you need to know about handling printer toner for storage and some additional information you should know.

How long can a toner be stored

Companies traditionally recommend replacing an ink cartridge when the printer’s low-ink warning light comes on. But over time, toner can also become depleted and cause your print quality to decline. So how long can a toner be stored in a safe place before it needs to be replaced? There are no clear guidelines in terms of shelf life, but you should know that the shelf life for toner is shorter than that of either ink or laser cartridges because it is chemically unstable.

Everything you need to know about the correct storage of toner

Here you will find all the important information on the subject of “Correct storage of toner” . Correctly stored, toner can be used without worry even after a long period of storage. Toner partners supplied daily countless end users and resellers with toner cartridges and printer supplies , and offers original toner and alternative cartridges compatible with the original toners are on.

Often we are asked about the correct storage of toner for the laser printer. Offices with a large volume of printing in particular are concerned when they have several of the cartridges filled with toner powder for their laser printer or multifunctional device.

The packaging of toner cartridges

Toner cartridges are delivered in climate-protected packaging . Regardless of whether it is a refill toner or a rebuilt toner, the cartridges are packed airtight. Original toner cartridges often reach the customer in a sealed box . We are not aware of any manufacturer who specifies a best-before date for their products. With some manufacturers, however, you can find a production date that provides an orientation for the shelf life of toner.

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An expiration date or expiration date can be found only on printer cartridges , as the printer ink in the cartridges can dry. Toner powder, on the other hand, consists almost entirely of resin particles, magnetizable metal oxides, color pigments, carbon and auxiliary materials such as silicon oxide as a release agent. It can only become unusable if the toner is incorrectly stored (often when the toner powder gets wet). Correct storage of toner is essential in order to be able to print well with it for years to come.

From our own experience we can say that even old toner cartridges, which had not been used for several years and were partially stored in laser printers, still delivered convincing prints and the toner powder had not become unusable; an essential reason to switch to laser toners, especially if the printer is often switched off. The ink in the printer cartridges would have dried up long ago by this time.

Reasons for climate-proof packaging of toner cartridges:

  • In order to protect the toner from air for as long as possible at the factory, because air can damage all technical devices in the long term
  • To protect the environment from the small, finest toner particles in the toner powder, which can harm the environment and human health
  • To protect the fine toner powder from moisture and extreme temperature fluctuations
  • To protect the toner in the box from long, direct sunlight

Store toner properly

Incorrect storage can cause condensation to form in the cartridge, causing the toner powder to clump and make it unusable.

Of course, you should ideally keep the toner in its original packaging. This protects against heat, moisture and air. In addition, you should keep toner out of the reach of children . We recommend storing the toner horizontally in the laser printer or multifunction device, as the toner powder slips to one side when the cartridge is stored on edge and could easily become stuck. If you have stored your toners upright, you can gently shake the sealed cartridge so that the powder can be evenly distributed in this again .

The humidity of the storage location should be between 30% and 80% and ideally around 40 – 50% relative humidity. Particularly high humidity values in the air can lead to clumped toner powder. The values can be determined safely and easily with a hydrometer. Make sure that there is sufficient air circulation in the storage room in order to avoid the formation of condensation and mold. The temperature for properly storing toner should not be above 35° Celsius or below 10° Celsius.

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Also protect the cartridges from direct sunlight and light sources with large radiation. Protected storage means that the particles in the toner powder do not change their properties and the photoconductor is not damaged. Please note the lux, lumen and candela values of your light sources. Temperatures above 35° Celsius can lead to the formation of lumps in the powder, while extreme temperature fluctuations may cause droplets to form in the toner cartridge.

An overview of the correct storage of toner

At room temperature, dry, dark, in the original packaging and shrink-wrapped, toner can be stored for around 10 years or longer and then used in a laser printer without any loss of quality. If stored incorrectly, the quality of the contained toner powder can decrease , which can lead to a poor print image and various problems.

If you have a supply, the following general points should be observed when storing toner:

The manufacturers of toner cartridges specify a relative humidity between 30 – 80% for optimal storage. Approx. 40 – 50% is ideal to avoid possible clumping of the powder in the cartridges. A too dry room climate should also be avoided. For larger amounts of laser toner, you should use a hydrometer to easily determine the humidity. This is how you create a suitable ambient climate.

Toner should be stored in the installation position (i.e. horizontally) and never on edge. If you should have stored the cartridges vertically, it is advisable to move the cartridges back and forth slightly before using them horizontally in the printer or multifunction device to loosen up the powder. By gently shaking this toner powder, at best, it is evenly distributed in the toner cartridge.

With correct toner storage, an ambient temperature of 35° Celsius should not be exceeded. Here, too, tiny lumps could form, which have a negative impact on the print image and can lead to the toner cartridge becoming unusable. On the other hand, temperatures below 10° Celsius should not be undercut when the toner cartridges are properly stored.

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The direct incidence of light sources with high radiation intensity are to be avoided as well as continuous solar radiation. This can not only attack the small resin particles contained in the toner powder, but also damage the fine coating of the photoconductor. Cartridges with a black surface absorb heat particularly well and heat up easily. So prevent direct incidence of light.

Extreme fluctuations in temperature can lead to the formation of small water droplets inside the stored toner cartridges. Water generally has negative effects on the color pigments, particles and auxiliary substances in the fine toner powder and should therefore be avoided if the toner is stored correctly. Therefore, never rinse your toner with cold water to clean it. Allow wet cartridges to dry slowly.

Make sure there is sufficient air circulation in the storage room. An unfavorable placement of radiators, window sills, curtains or blinds can adversely affect the air flow. If air at a sufficiently high temperature cannot flow through all areas of the room, moisture and mold form due to condensation. Regular ventilation and improved window insulation usually have a positive effect on the storage climate.

Toner is not a toy but a printer accessory and does not belong in the hands of children. Large quantities of toner powder can be harmful and have a negative impact on human health. Never swallow the powder from a laser toner! If in doubt, consult a doctor immediately. It is best to store the toner in a securely packaged place out of the reach of children.


Every day, people buy toner to use in their printers. Many are unaware of the shelf life of the toner, or how long it can be stored, before it expires. There are other factors to take into consideration when storing the toner as well. For example, temperature is important because temperature affects how quickly the chemical composition of the toner breaks down and changes over time. We hope that you’ve find all the information in this article helpful!

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