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How and Where to Store Your Thermal Printer Paper

Thermal printer paper has a special chemical coating on its surface that reacts with heat from the printer head. Thermal printing is snappier than conventional ink-based printing, and this is why more retailers are investing in it.

Thermal paper chemical composition is unique in that it is heat and light-sensitive. This means that a piece of the thermal paper darkens when left next to heated materials or just by reacting to light from lightbulbs, albeit at a slower rate.

Similar to all kinds of printer paper, thermal paper also deteriorates when exposed to chemicals, water, or oil. These elements reduce the surface coating's effectiveness and render thermal printing impossible, compromising your receipt printer.


Places to store your thermal paper

Ideally, store thermal paper in a cool dark room. Other office supplies and types of paper can be stored in the same place as thermal paper.

  • Below the register – If you run a busy storefront, a few rolls of thermal printer paper can be kept at the checkout area. However, ensure the paper is kept off the light and from the floor.
  • Cupboards – Cupboards are ideal for storing thermal paper for POS machine because they have closing doors. Not only does this protect your POS paper from light but also heat and humidity as well.
  • Filing cabinets – If your filing cabinets have extra drawers to spare, you can store your thermal paper in them. Moreover, you can convert them to a make-shift receipt storage compartment.
  • Manager's office – Your thermal printer paper is better stored in offices – instead of the main work area – because they have less flow of traffic. Look for a convenient spot, like a shelf, drawer or cupboard that doesn't get direct sunlight, and dedicate them for storage of POS printer paper.


Keep off the places below

As a rule of thumb, a thermal paper should not be kept in areas that are exposed to humidity, sunlight, or heat. If you have limited options, leave them in the boxes you bought them in for increased protection.

  • Windowsills – UV light from sunlight and other light sources can cause thermal paper to prematurely fade, therefore keep your paper away from sunny areas.
  • Kitchens – Kitchens have two prevailing conditions that spell disaster for the thermal paper: humidity and oils.
  • Cleaning supply closets – Contact with liquids, oils, or chemicals is harmful to your thermal printer paper supply. It is a bad idea to use the same cabinet as your cleaning supplies or food.
  • Cars – If you are a general manager, you might be tempted to store a few rolls of thermal paper in the trunk of your car. However, cars gain heat rapidly and will turn grey or black faster.
  • Walk-in coolers – Cold doesn't do much damage to POS paper; it's the humidity in coolers. When thermal paper gets damp, it jams and makes the printer inefficient.
  • Top shelves – The top shelf is well away from moisture but too close to overhead lighting. Preferably use lower or middle shelves to protect your paper from ceiling lights.


Quality Storage for Longer Shelf Life

While it is recommended to store thermal paper for POS machines in dark and sunlight-free rooms, other interventions increase its shelf-life. For example, don't use shrink wraps for storage or keep your paper near regular ink printer paper or adhesives, which can compromise thermal paper quality. Additionally, avoid oils and liquids as much as possible to uphold your paper's integrity and quality so that you extend how long printed information remains legible. 


Grease and Change Oil

Suppose you will be using thermal printing for the long-term, one surefire way of taking care of your thermal paper to keep your thermal printer clean and maintained. Since the printhead is integral to all your printing operations and has the most contact with thermal paper, you should make sure that it is the perfect fit and clean at all times. 

Stick to the recommended manufacturer's recommendations regarding maintenance. For example, occasionally dust your thermal printer to ensure the print head is free of lint or dust that affects the printing process. You should buy commercially available products for cleaning and maintenance, such as thermal printer cleaning pens. 

Just as necessary, always enlist professional cleaning assistance services unless you want to burn a hole through your wallet to have a technician repair the printer regularly.


Waste Not, Want Not

Even with the best care, paper has a lifespan beyond which it naturally degrades; therefore, it is advised to have multiple copies of important documents earlier. The best thing to do is to scan important documents or receipts while they can be salvaged and back them up safely to a computer. This way, you will reproduce as many copies as you want whenever the need arises.

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