How to Clean Printer Heads and Cartridges

Can’t get your printer to print a clean page without lines or missing colors? It might be time to clean your printhead.

Bits of dust, debris, and other grime can get into the tiny holes of your printhead and cause all sorts of problems. One of the tell-tale signs that your printhead needs cleaning is if you often see white lines where color ink is supposed to be.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through how to identify a clogged printhead and clean it so that you can get back to pristine printing.

printer head

Replacing Your Printhead

Despite your best efforts, sometimes replacing your printer, printhead, or ink cartridges is inevitable. If a printhead becomes severely clogged you may never be able to return it to good working order. Some print heads clog more than others, and the more often your printhead clogs the harder it will be to clean each time.

If you need to shop for a new printer or printhead, why not take advantage of a free coupon? Brands like Custom Ink allow you to redeem coupon codes for major savings on all your purchases. Save on your next ink with this coupon!

Types of Clogs:

There are three types of clogs you will encounter:

  1. Simple clogs: These are clogs that involve minimal dirt and debris. You can usually remedy these by running your printer’s cleaning cycle or performing your own nozzle check.
  2. Stubborn clogs: If your printhead has completely stopped functioning as it should, you may have to perform the manual Windex clean outlined below.
  3. Severe clogs: If the Windex method doesn’t work, you have a severe clog. You’ll have to move on to a heavier duty clean or replace the printhead.

Removing Simple Clogs

Your printhead contains tiny holes where droplets of colored ink shoot out from. Sometimes these clogs are caused by dirt, dust, and debris clogging the holes but they can also be caused by your printer ink drying out from not being used enough.

Your printer should include its own cleaning cycle which is designed to unclog simple clogs. Run the cleaning cycle twice and then check a freshly printed page. Your page should contain no missing lines. If white lines are still visible, run the cleaning cycle again.

Removing Stubborn Clogs

If a simple cleaning cycle doesn’t clear the clog, you’ll have to move to an ammonia-based cleaner like Windex. Windex has many surprising uses, and one of them is being able to remove dried ink from a printhead.

To prepare for the cleaning, remove the ink cartridges and wrap them in plastic wrap. This will keep them from drying out as you work. Dampen a piece of paper towel with your cleaning agent and move the print heads back and forth over the damp paper towel. Place the cartridges back into the printer and try a test run.

Removing Severe Clogs

To remove a severe clog, you’ll have to follow many of the same steps as above. The only problem is that you’ll have to remove the printer assembly from your printer first.

Once the printer assembly is out you have a few options. The first is to soak the printer heads in a solution of water and ammonia for a few hours. You will then need to flush the printheads clean by holding them under warm running water.

Other options include filling a needle with a cleaning solution and blasting it through the clog in order to flush it out.

Sometimes, if the clog is too severe you may have to replace the printhead altogether.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share this