How to Refill Canon Ink Cartridges

By Robert Vaux

  • Overview

    Canon offers a number of different printer modules that use a number of different ink cartridges. In most cases, however, you can easily refill the cartridges yourself, rather than going out and purchasing new ones. Not only does this save money (new ink cartridges can cost as much as $25 or more), but it prevents excessive waste with comparatively little effort. Ink-refill kits are available at most major office-supply stores, and using them is extremely easy, regardless of what kind of Canon printer you have.
    • Step 1

      Check the empty cartridge for the kind of ink it carries. Printer ink comes in one of four colors--black, cyan, magenta and yellow--which are combined to make any hue that is required. Some Canon printers use individual ink cartridges for each color, while others combine the non-black colors into a single unit holding three different inkwells.
    • Step 2

      Lay down some newspaper, then detach the empty cartridge from the printer and set it in the center. The newspaper will prevent stains in case you accidentally spill any ink.


    • Step 3

      Check the cartridge for any air vents or sponge-filled openings in the inkwell. You can use them to add more ink. If the cartridge doesn't have any opening, you can make one by drilling a hole in the top of the inkwell with a drill and a 3mm bit. (Some replacement-ink kits will have their own tools for creating your own hole, in which case you can discard the drill.)
    • Step 4

      Insert the needle of the replacement-ink bottle into the hole and gently squeeze it to start refilling the ink. Monitor the ink carefully as it goes into the well: Canon ink cartridges vary widely in size, from 5ml to up to 25ml or more. You want the ink to flow at a rate of about 1ml per second, and avoid topping it off if you can (it will prevent spills).
    • Step 5

      Remove the needle when the inkwell is filled and cover it with a cap or plug as necessary. In cases where you have drilled your own hole, you can seal it with a piece of Scotch tape. (Test it once the tape is in place to make sure the seal is secure.)
    • Step 6

      Replace the ink cartridge in the Canon printer and run the head-cleaning program to make sure it is functioning properly. Then print out a few copies to make sure the ink is printing normally. Be sure to run color copies if the yellow, cyan or magenta ink was replaced.
    • Skill: Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Ink-cartridge refill kit
    • Used cartridge
    • Drill and 3mm bit
    • Newspapers
    • Scotch tape
    • Tip: Always make sure you have determined the precise color of the ink before attempting to refill it, especially in the case of Canon ink cartridges that combine different inkwells in a single unit. The wrong ink in the wrong well will not produce the right color balance.
    • Warning:
    • Printer-ink stains are hard to get out. When refilling ink cartridges, it's probably a good idea to wear old clothes or to cover your business clothes with something disposable.

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