It is always best to refill a fresh cartridge. One which has been in a drawer for weeks probably won't start up again. Refill your cartridge as soon as it begins to streak.
Ink cartridges should be used at least once a week. Print the test page or part of the color bar test page, just print something to keep the ink flowing
Here is a COLOR BAR TEST PAGE to check out your cartridge. The three color bars on this page should print without white streaks and should appear; Yellow, Magenta and Cyan, not brown or green or maroon or other mixed color.
Compared to some other things around your house, an ink-jet printer has a lot going for it; for example, it's cheaper to feed than a new puppy, and a lot neater too. Still, an ink-jet can be a hassle if you don't know what you're doing. Following are some tips to help you get the most out of your ink-jet printer.
First and Foremost ! Read the Printer Manual from cover to cover !
There are many valuable short cuts to be found there. The information in your manual will save you hours of diagnostics and confusion! There are a few of your printer's built-in tests and printout commands listed in this link: PRINTER COMMANDS
Check out your printer manufacturer's web site and look for your printer. Know the limitations and "Duty Cycle".
1. Save time with draft or Econo mode. The biggest mistake most people make with an ink-jet printer is to set the software on its highest resolution and leave it there. This can be a big waste of time, because higher-resolution printouts take longer than lower-resolution ones. Use high resolution only for the final version of a document; use draft mode for everything else.
2. Print in Grey Scale. Another big money saver most people overlook is printing with "Grey Scale". Use the full color setting only for the final version of a document.
3. Save money with plain paper. When you print photographic images with an ink-jet, you get the best results if you use glossy paper. The drawback is that such paper can cost a $1 or more per sheet. That's why it pays to output a test print of a photographic image on plain paper -- it lets you make your final adjustments before you commit the image to the expensive stuff.
4. Purchase the right connecting cables. Don't buy the cheapest parallel or USB cable you can find. If your new printer supports a bidirectional parallel connection so that the printer can inform your computer when it is out of ink or paper, be sure you buy a bidirectional parallel cable. You're asking for trouble using a cheap cable, and don't try to put the printer in another room with a longer cable, just more problems.
5. Keep the cables out of harms way. Don't let the cables get closed in drawers and cut by the drawer slide. Bundle up the excess cables and protect them. A small cut from closing in a drawer or a puppy's teeth can cause printer errors which are practically impossible to find.
6. Power down correctly. Don't switch off your ink-jet printer with an On-Off switch or multi-plug strip. When you correctly power down an ink-jet printer, the print head is moved to a location where the ink nozzles won't dry out and cause them to clog. If you shut off power using an external power strip, or by pulling the plug, the printer won't be able to park the print head. This causes the print head to dry out and will later produce bad print which possibly can't be corrected. But use the power strip when everything is powered down - it saves residual for power supplie$.
7. Protect the print head. Don't leave the cartridge out of the printer to dry. If your printer is not to be used for more than a week, use the protective box or print head clip provided with your cartridge for long periods of storage. But, best yet, PRINT SOMETHING daily
8. Beware of cheap inks and fly-by-night "ink companies" and "universal inks". NLIJCS and AtLasta have been satisfying customer needs since 1987. Not all ink-jet inks are alike; in fact, they're all different. To ensure best results in an emergency and anytime you need consistency, use only the replacement ink cartridges from NLIJCS or those recommended by your printer's manufacturer.