What Is Cartridge Ink Made Of?

We all rely on printers to provide us with the documents we need in our everyday lives. Without it, we would surely be in a tough spot. But have you ever considered what actually allows your documents to come out with crisp text and images? With this in mind, it begs the question: What is printer ink made of? How is it made? We will answer these questions here.

Carbon Black and Colour Pigments

These days, modern printer ink consists mainly of a pigment known as carbon black. This pigment is combined with a binder, a solvent, and many additives such as drying agents. These mixes will vary depending on the brand of cartridge, as well as the printing process itself.

Pigments are a significant part of the printing ink as they help give it its colour. They also help it to survive against heat and various solvents.

These pigments are combined with opacifiers, which make the ink opaque, and extenders, which help balance the pigment’s appearance. These pigments are crushed so that they can displace equally throughout the fluids.


Dispersants exist to assist the flow of the ink. By slowing down the pigment particles, they make it easier for ink to transfer to a surface during the printing process. They consist of a solvent containing polymers and surfactants. They then take in the particles and form a coating. The pigments can vary in size, resulting in effects on the amount of colour used.


Resins helps everything stick together as well as stick to printing surfaces. Many of these can be found in a typical cartridge. Some resins, like formaldehyde or acrylics, help the formation of surfaces that are glossy or resistant to damage or temperature increases. They, too, are a useful aspect of the printer ink creation process.

Defoamers and Humectants

These are not the only ingredients that are important in crafting printer ink. Defoamers help control bubbles. Humectants lengthen the aging process and help the product last longer. Wetting agents assist with various surfaces. In addition, precautions are also taken to ensure that bacteria and fungi cannot foster growth inside of a cartridge.

Varnish Base

In the final stages, the pigments are combined with a varnish base. This can come from some sort of oil or distillate and helps create ink that dries. Black ink consists of carbon black and a varnish, while coloured ink also includes various compounds and dyes that help create colour pigments.

There are a number of dyes, both organic and inorganic, that help create the colours we see today on our colour printed documents and photos. White pigments are often used to modify the colours.

Get Your Next Printer Cartridge Today!

Printer ink is a very important tool in our lives. Here at Ink Warehouse, we offer a wide variety of cheap ink cartridges for your printing pleasure. Now that you know a little more about what goes into printer ink, feel free to browse our website for the ink cartridge that is right for you.