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Refilling Ink Cartridges

Refilling Ink Cartridges

In this guide we will be showing you how to refill the majority of HP, Dell, Lexmark and Canon inkjet cartridges. Before following these instructions please take a moment to locate the relevant sub article from the gallery below so you know how much ink and where to inject it for your cartridge:

Unfortunately if you do not see your cartridge above then this guide is not applicable but we should still be able to help here.

With this done make sure you have a syringe, the relevant colours of refill ink and plenty of tissue paper (kitchen paper recommended) before moving onto the instructions below:

1. Place the cartridge in question on some tissue paper somewhere that will be easy to clean if you should spill any ink.

2. Remove any labels from the top of the cartridge.

3. Use a syringe to suck up appropriate amount of ink for the cartridge in question.

4. Poke the needle the into relevant hole and roughly half deep into the sponge. Where possible use the hole closest to the printhead for best results, especially with black only ink cartridges.5. Slowly inject ink into every chamber until the sponge is saturated. A small amount of ink may overflow when full, so be sure to protect the other filling holes on a tri-colour cartridge.

6. With this done do not reattach the label from step 2 as the filling holes help the flow of air into the cartridge.

7. Install the cartridge into your printer again then run a few cleaning cycles from your printer software to pull the ink through. Please check your manual if you are unsure how to do this. Alternatively place the head of the cartridge on a damp spot of some folded kitchen tissue for a minute or so to draw ink out.

You should now be all set to start printing again with your refilled cartridge. If your cartridge does not print correctly we recommend leaving it for a few hours or even overnight to give the ink chance to settle.

With the majority of refilled cartridge the unit will still warn that it is low on ink. With the exception of Lexmark cartridges marked “Return Programme Cartridge” this will not stop you printing however and any warning can simply be ignored until your ink runs out again.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you have any questions or anything to add please let us know below.

About the author

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

Refresh Cartridges


  1. Geoffrey Geier

    In spite of many attempts, I have never been able to successfuly refill my Genuine B/W HP301 as used in HP Deskjet 3050. The message I always get is that the cartridge is 'counterfeit or used'

    My question is – Does HP somehow block a refilled HP301 from being used in a Deskjet 3050 or am I doing something wrong?

    I have no problems in refilling cartridges for my HP Photosmart C4280.


    1. Matthew Stevenson

      There is nothing in place to stop you using these cartridges once they are refilled. It is pretty normal for the cartridge to warn it has been used as it keeps a record of how many pages it has printed. Normally the message would ask for a prompt for you for it to continue printing. If at all possible could you please either let me know exactly what the message says in its entirity? Alternatively please feel free to email me a screenshot to matt@refreshcartridges.co.uk

  2. Quin

    I've refilled my ink cartirdges (HP 301), yet the print quality is severely reduced (like there is not ink).

    I managed to get the black to work after refilling it again and leaving it for the night, but now I've come back to it it doesn't want to print.

    Also the colour is the same (and found that it had leaked on the strip).

    Any advice?

    1. Matthew Stevenson

      If a cartridge doesn’t print correctly after being refilled by hand this is normally a result of the ink not being distributed evenly in the sponge or not pulled into the printhead completely. This is pretty common and unfortunately and tricky to avoid when the cartridge has not been filled in a vacuum.

      First of all I would recommend running the cleaning cycle from your printer software as this will pull the ink through. However if this doesn’t help you can normally bridge the gap between ink and printhead by simply following the steps below:
      -Fold a piece of kitchen tissue over several times
      -Put a few drops of water on the tissue
      -Place the point that the ink leaves the cartridge on the tissue and leave for a minute or two
      -Reinstall and run one more head cleaning cycle which should hopefully resolve your problem.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Trix

    Hey there ,

    I have a pg37 cartridge with a cannon ip1900 and i have been refilling it for a while . A few days ago i bought some more ink from a store but pg40 couse they said that pg40 ink is perfectly compatible with pg 37 however i have a problem the ink keeps flowing out till none remains . Is this an incompatibility problem pg40 ink doesent work with pg37 cartridge or its something else ? P.S. the cartridge worked fine with the pg 37 ink and after it ran out i bought the other one like 3 days after so i cant blame the sponge inside either.

    Some help would be apreciated if posssible.

    Many thx,


    1. Matthew Stevenson

      Any ink that is compatible with a PG-40 ink cartridge should be fine to use in both the low capacity PG-37 and the high capacity PH-50 that is compatible with some machines. As far as I am aware the printhead is exactly the same in all of these cartridges and they just differ electronically.

      I can only imagine that the ink sold to you as compatible is either a little bit thinner or that the printhead has simply reached the end of its life and can no longer control the flow of the ink (although I feel I must add I have never experienced such a thing personally).

  4. Dan

    Help me on how to refill a all in one lexmark 300 as it always say replace ink cartridges after refilling them

    1. Matthew Stevenson

      I would not advise refilling these cartridges at all really. They have a stealthily hidden chip that count how many pages the cartridge has printed in its lifetime and estimates an ink level based on this. Sadly once the cartridge believes it is empty it will refuse to function so refilling it is a waste of time. Sadly I am not aware of any chip resetter for them either.

      As such I would recommend compatible cartridges like the ones found here

  5. David


    Great site. I have refilled a cartridge however when it prints photos theres like light grey horizontial lines across the photo even after trying another set of cartridges and running cleaning tools. Its a HP photosmart c4485 black cartridge 350 colour 351.

    Any ideas?


    1. Matthew Stevenson

      How strange. Ink comes directly from the cartridge so print quality problems should be resolved by changing the offending cartridge. Please feel free to post a picture on our Facebook wall <a href="http:// (http://on.fb.me/J4Fi6g)” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://(http://on.fb.me/J4Fi6g)” target=”_blank”>(http://on.fb.me/J4Fi6g) or tweet us @RefreshCarts and this should hopefully give us a better idea as to what has caused this issue.

  6. val

    hi Matthew, you have a great site, laid out professionally, . from your layout you obviously want to keep things clear, and organised, straightforward for your customers. may i make a suggestion. for people who think like me ( and i am assuming there is more than just myself). the diagram you have of where to insert the ink, ie the 2 examples above with the x marks the spot. ? when i first looked at it i thought it was how NOT to do it. i took the X as being incorrect and i then searched for an alternative diagram that showed me a tick mark ie the correct way of doing it. I gave up and went a bought one of your remanufactured cartridges. when i came back later , the penny dropped and i realised that it was meant as x marks the spot.
    a different way of looking at things really. only if i had been in a different frame of mind i would have given up and left your site. depends how you look at it i suppose, it might increase sales by some customers, but for others of low patience, you might loose them. ? just my thoughts, rgds val

    1. RefreshCarts

      Thanks for the feedback Val. I will change them to a different coloured X or maybe even change them to a tick when I have a moment.

  7. michael redmond

    thanks very much i am now refilling my canon mp495 cartridges
    i use a battery drill with hss bit, and masking tape xxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. Mohd Asmar

    Hi Matthew I used my catridge(HP 818B) and after it was over i kept it aside and it has been over a year and after going through your website i am inspired and want to refill it can i do it now or not? And a last question i wanna ask that if i won’t take a print for at least 1 month will the catridges dry?

    1. RefreshCarts

      After a year and a half the printhead will almost certainly have dried up. You should however be able to freshen it up sitting the cartridge on a damp piece of folded tisse paper for a couple of minutes. I would advise using warm water if at all possible.

      The cartridge will then hopefully we ready to be refilled. Best of luck.

  9. Owolabi

    Whenever i refill my hp deskjet 3050a, it will spil out from d button panel dat was attached to d copper. Any help plsss.

  10. kalyanasundaram

    Hi there, I have dell 924 . I fill 4640 black and 4646 with appropriate colours inks. Colour ink cartridge fixed on right side. and black on right side in respective housings. When I close the door the system shows right side cartridge error. When I renew with another 4646 even though initially shows as error and after off and switch on it works ok. But both cartridges are 4646 are ink filled manually only. I cleaned couple of times the contact print head and contact points with tissue paper soaked in 99% isopropyl alcohol. Still I am not successful. This is my second refilling of these cartridges. Any remedial method please. I thank you much in advance.

    1. RefreshCarts

      Since this is happening intermittently with a couple of cartridges it may be that the contacts inside the printer are partially obscured and stopping cartridges being recognised correctly. As such I would recommend repeating the cleaning method you have mentioned on the corresponding contacts inside the printer.

      There is no limit to how many times you can refill these cartridges, but the contacts on the front are pretty sensitive and can become unreadable with very little provocation. As such if continued cleaning does not help your printer recognise the cartridge it may be that the cartridge/cartridges are genuinely damaged and in need of replacement.

  11. Steffi

    Hi Matthew,

    I could not get the ink injected to my canon 511 cartridge despite the holes being larger (I poke with a pin, the holes are about twice as big as the intial size). The ink keeps getting overfilled as if the tank is full however I have not even injected half ml!

    Any advice?


  12. Jigar

    Hello Matthew Sir..

    I have HP inkjet 2131 printer bought just 2 months before. I refilled it two times till today. Now, I faced to much problem. Only two to three pages print out than again it not work. I tried so many times to clean cartilage by ethanol.however, its not work out. Tell me its possible solution.
    Thanks in advance

  13. Tom


    Hi Mathew

    I have only 2 syringes to refill my hp 301 cartridges 1 for the black and 1 for the tricolour cartridge,

    just wanted to know the best way to clean the syringe so I can refill the other colours. Thank you

    1. RefreshCarts

      If you are unable to get any more syringes, I can only recommend thoroughly flushing the syringe out with water. You could also try purchasing some dedicated cartridge flush to clean it out, but new syringes will almost certainly be cheaper.

  14. Tom


    Hi Mathew

    Sorry to bother you again, but I let my hp 301 cartridges stand for 8 hours after refilling them as you said . but they have leaked ink all over the kitchen paper I had them on. Have I done anything wrong. Thank you again. Tom

  15. malcolm

    IMPORTANT for HP cartridges

    DO NOT try to use a refil cartridge as your NEW cartridge if the printer came with a "STARTER" cartridge..

    many HP printers come with a "starter" cartridge…. when empty it is replaced with a "standard" cartridge which MUST BE an HP ORIGINAL

    what HP did was to change the location of the ink reservoirs on the "starter" as delivered…. when replaced, the HP original will correct the reservoir locations to "standard" locations otherwise they will print incorrectly… wrong colours for colour cartridge and NO printing for black cartridges.

    2nd 3rd etc should print ok after the "starter" then "hp standard or xl" cartridges have been used.

  16. Maruf Mostafa

    Hi, I want to modify my HP all-in-one 2135 printer with CISS. Is it possible or will it work properly afterwards like Canon or Epson does?

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