To print an ID card you’ll need a card printer, blank card, and printer ribbon. It may be tempting to stock up on these consumable printing supplies when you spot a good deal, but do you know how long ribbons and other supplies last before they expire?

Do My Printer Supplies Expire?

Yes, your supplies can expire! Most manufacturers have a one year recommendation on supplies like ribbons and cleaning kits. This is because as they age to products become more fragile (ribbons especially can tear more easily when they get old) or dry out (like the alcohol pens and wipes in cleaning kits).

So while you may want to have an extra ribbon and cleaning kit on hand when printing cards, maybe don’t buy an estimated 10 years of ribbons.

How Should I Store Printer Supplies?

Supplies like ribbons and cleaning kits should be stored, sealed, in their original packaging. Keep supplies in a temperature and humidity controlled environment (like an office) and out of direct sunlight, since extreme changes in temperature can damage products.

You’ll want to take additional care with your blank cards, especially when handling them. Touching the cards with your bare hands can transfer dirt and oils onto the surface of the cards that impacts the print quality, so handle the cards by their edges only or wear gloves when handling cards.

You can learn more about how to properly store and handle printing supplies at the AlphaCard Technical Support site.

Shop Ribbons, Cleaning Kits, and Supplies

The Ribbons & Supplies category on the AlphaCard website has been redesigned to make it easier to find the supplies you need. Shop by manufacturer and printer model, so you’ll always see the compatible supplies for your specific printer: