Use it up, wear it out: get the most from your laser toner cartridge

When the toner in your HP laserjet printer shows signs of running out, you may get an alert from your printer’s software, or you may just notice vertical white streaks on the printed page, depending on the printer model you’re using.

Don’t be in a hurry to replace the cartridge. You can get a lot more use from it if you take out the cartridge and gently shake it from side to side to redistribute the toner, and replace it in the printer. Keep doing this every time it shows signs of running out, and you should be able to get a lot more pages. I finally, today, replaced the cartridge that’s been giving me alerts for at least two weeks. (This may or may not work with other manufacturers’ printers, but it’s worth a try.)

And of course you do have the printer’s properties set to default to economy/toner-saving mode, don’t you?

When you do install a new cartridge, remember to recycle the old one. If it’s an HP, you can use the box from the new cartridge to ship the old one to a recycling facility — there’s a prepaid shipping label in the box.  Just put the old cartridge into the box, seal it, slap on the label, and take it to a UPS shipper.


6 responses to “Use it up, wear it out: get the most from your laser toner cartridge

  1. I do the SAME thing with my toner cartridges! Of course, I eventually learned to NOT shake it when I had something white on…and immediately washed my hands, and then even got smart enough to shake it over a trash can…(it’s marvelous exercise as well!)


  2. I just read that there is a little window in the side of the cartridge and that is how the printer “reads” the level of ink. If you place a piece of tape (maybe vinyl or electrical) over that window you will get more from the cartridge and that may even eliminate the need for shaking.


    • That is very interesting! I’ll check for the window the next time I have the cartridge out.

      Got any more thoughts on making the most of a laser cartridge? I hope you’ll share them with us!


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