How to Refill an Ink Cartridge for a Lexmark Printer

By Chris Moore

  • Overview

    Most Lexmark printers use the same box-style ink cartridges that store black ink by itself or all three color shades together. But a few printers use a different type of cartridge: a rectangular one that contains a Mylar bag and stores only one shade, be it black, cyan, yellow or magenta. When you are refilling an ink cartridge for a Lexmark printer, how you insert the refilling syringe varies depending on whether the cartridge is a standard black, standard color or Mylar-bag cartridge.
  • Basic Cartridges

    • Step 1

      Pry open the plastic lid on a color cartridge, using a flat-bladed tool like a utility knife. Open it from the front, to avoid damaging the sensors in the back. Leave the lid on a black cartridge and instead widen the fill hole near the back of the lid with an eyelet screw.


    • Step 2

      Fill a clean plastic syringe bottle with the color of ink you are replacing. For a color cartridge, you shouldn't need more than 8ml of one shade. Black cartridges hold up to 20ml, meaning that you may need more than one fill of the syringe.
    • Step 3

      Insert the needle into the fill hole. For a black cartridge, this is the hole you widened. On a color cartridge, the three color chambers are visible beneath a transparent lid, with a hole going down into each chamber. The color order is usually cyan, yellow and magenta, but testing each chamber with a pin or toothpick is a good idea.
    • Step 4

      Inject the ink into the chamber until it is full. Don't overfill the chamber, especially with the color cartridges. The sponge inside the chamber must always stay white on the outside; it is overfilled when it takes on the color of the ink. Stop injecting when the ink begins to seep out of the sponge around the needle.
    • Step 5

      Replace the lid on a color cartridge once you're finished refilling and tape it shut near the front. Sealing the fill hole on a black cartridge isn't necessary.
  • Mylar-Bag Cartridges

    • Step 1

      Insert the needle of the syringe (filled with ink) into the cartridge's access port hole. Don't insert the needle further than 1/2 inch, or you could damage the bag inside.
    • Step 2

      Inject up to 25ml of ink into the cartridge. There is a waste hole off the side of the access port. If ink starts seeping out of this hole, stop filling.
    • Step 3

      Pull back the syringe plunger to remove any air from the bag. This works best if the syringe is empty and the cartridge is standing with the access port on top.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Ink
    • Syringe needle
    • Flat-bladed tool
    • Eyelet screw
    • Warning:
    • Wash out the syringe once you are done filling one shade of ink. You don't need to do this between two injections of black ink, but do it after the cartridge is full. If you're about to refill another shade, dry the syringe after washing, to avoid diluting the ink.

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