how to get extra life from a printer toner cartridge: black tape

Don’t you hate having to replace the toner cartridge, especially when the printing seems to be fine? Surely, there must be more life in the toner.

Well, here’s a workaround in the spirit of responsible consumption: use up what you have fully to reduce waste, and, in this case, save money.

The tip is from a forum topic from and focuses on Brother printers, though I suspect it would work on other printers, too. You could get another 500-1000 pages printed, as reported by some on the forum.

The printer decided it was out of toner, even though the last page printed was fine. Rather than run out for a new toner cartridge I used a small (.5 x .5 in.) piece of black electrical tape to cover the sensor hole on the non-gear side of the cartridge. By covering the hole the printer is fooled into thinking the hopper is full of toner.

Read the full forum thread for more tips, including using masking tape and a black marker, if you don’t have black electrical tape.

Of course, I continue to advocate responsible printing, which saves paper, ink/toner and energy, which translates into $, too:

This entry was posted in conservation, efficiency, energy saving, everyday, office, paper, sustainability, sustainable and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to how to get extra life from a printer toner cartridge: black tape

  1. A great helpful tip!

    Consumers will get extra life from a printer toner cartridge and will save a lot.

    Thanks for the information.

  2. andrew says:

    Good tips. I was told that if you shake the printer cartridge or even better heat it gently with a hair dryer you can melt some of the ink that has dried up in the cartridge and get a few last kicks from the printer.

    • wako says:

      I have done the shaking, but I would think the hair dryer trick depends on the type of ink/cartridge. Do you have a resource on that?

  3. andrew says:

    I’ve an Epson printer. Heating the print cartridge gently with a hair dryer works for me. I don’t have any scientific studies on this. Sorry.

  4. Sarah says:

    Hi, could some one please tell me which of the many holes is actually the sensor hole please?? Also, does it have to be black electrical tape or will sticky tape do the job too?

    • wako says:

      I assume the location of the hole is different on each cartridge. I found this post with a photo; you can see the tape over the hole in the lower photo. (Look carefully; you can see the tape scrunched up a little bit.)

      The point of the black tape is so that the light does not get through (the light getting through is the sensing mechanism); so I think the forum in the original post includes some people saying they attached regular tape and then used a black marker to cover it. I say give it a try.

  5. SuppliesGuys says:

    Wako – you are correct the location depends on each individual cartridge.

    Using the regular tape with black marker is an interesting concept. Did you have any luck with it – I smell follow-up post!

    It is important to make the most out of your ink cartridge these days. Great tips!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s