I occasionally get asked if printer paper has an expiration date. There is no expiration date for printer paper. Acid free printer paper is made to last 1,000 years. With proper storage it could last longer.
Any printer paper is fine to print on after it’s been stored for many years. How you handle paper has more of an impact than how long it’s been in storage. Any oil, lotion, soap, or grease on your fingers it will impact paper more than being stored for centuries.
When a foreign substance gets on paper it effects how ink and toner lay on the paper. Meaning you’ll get light spots or blurry spots if your paper has been handled inappropriately.
Paper sitting in storage isn’t going to impact it’s print quality. Obviously, where it’s stored matters. Paper sitting outside exposed to the elements isn’t going to last long. As long as paper is stored inside there’s no reason it won’t last hundreds of years.
While moisture is a concern when storing paper. In my experience, it takes storing paper in a garage or shed to get to the point humidity is bad enough to ruin paper. A basement isn’t an ideal place to store paper but being climate controlled environment will avoid humidity.
Similar to removing moisture from wood, you can remove humidity from paper by storing it in a small room with a dehumidifier for several days.
As long as it’s still in the package I’ve never seen humidity be an issue. Unless a cup of water gets spilled on it. Open paper sitting on a shelf in a climate controlled environment is fine for years too.
Different Types of Paper
Whether it’s photo paper or card stock, paper has no expiration date. You can store it as long as you want. Dust it off if need be, but stored paper will not ruin a printer.
HP photo paper is still good after decades of storage. You can load it in your printer and use it without any reservations.
Epson photo paper is not impacted by sitting on a shelf for years. You can print on it without any concerns.
Kodak photo paper is as good as new even if it was stored for more than 10 years. Proceed to print photos after you take it out of storage.
Card stock, letterhead, vellum, multipurpose, laser, printer, color, or plain paper won’t have any problems printing after being stored for many, many years. Just avoid spilling water on stored paper.
They actually make waterproof paper. It won’t absorb any water so it can’t be used in an inkjet printer, only a laser printer. It’s expensive for archives. But you can use it for paper stored, such as a sign or map.
The only type of paper I’ve seen having an issue after being stored decades is envelopes, labels, and stickers. After a few decades the adhesive gets weak.
I’ve seen envelopes over 30 years old where the glue couldn’t adhere to anything. The paper was fine but the glue had turned to dust.
I’ve seen paper in print shops covered in dust. They dust off the top sheet or throw it away and it prints fine.
The only time I’ve seen collecting dust be an issue is with certain coated papers. Even after wiping off all the dust, the printed image looked slightly lighter than the rest from the stack.
Sealed containers are best for storing paper. Still, paper is fine stored on a shelf in a climate controlled environment. Storing it in direct sunlight is worse for the ink or toner on the paper, not the paper itself.
I’ve seen paper stored on shelves for years in a sunny room. After many years the paper took on a yellowish hue. But I had no issues using printing on it with a copier and printer.
If you’re keeping a legal document or other important paper you can store it in a filing cabinet for hundreds of years. I’ve seen many archives stored in cardboard boxes.
Storing paper in cardboard boxes in attics or basements is likely to attract bugs such as silverfish. If your intend to store paper for a long time it’s best to store in a place it won’t get damp or use sealed containers.
Paper doesn’t rust or decompose. I’ve seen moldy paper but it was from coffee or tea being spilled on it.
Paper stored outside is likely to get wet and disintegrate. Unless you use waterproof paper. However, as long as paper is in a climate controlled environment there’s no reason it can’t last 1,000 years.
Paper should be stored in a climate controlled environment. A filing cabinet or cardboard boxes are fine for storing paper. Although leased containers are best.
You can still use any paper for printers that’s been stored for years. It won’t harm your printer. The worst that can happen is it causes a paper jam. It takes an extreme amount of moisture to cause any print quality issues.
Paper has no expiration date and is still suitable for use even if it’s decades old.
Printer paper is made to last 1,000 years. As long as it’s in good shape you can still use it in your printer.
There is no expiration date for photo printer paper. As long as you don’t store paper in direct sunlight or where it will get wet you can still use it in your printer after hundreds of years.
Paper is intended to last for 1,000 years.
Epson paper has no expiration date. You can use it in any printer no matter how long it was stored.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.