How to Clean 3D Printer Nozzles

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Updated January 13, 2023

If you are new to the world of physical printing, you may want to learn how to clean 3D printer nozzles. Some of the best printers, after all, are 3D printers, and these models require consistent cleaning and maintenance. So why clean 3D printer nozzles, and what are some tips to keep the best 3D printers clean? Keep reading to find out.


  • Keeping your nozzles clean is an important maintenance step to ensure you get high-quality 3D models.
  • Start by going in with a fine needle to clear up a full clog and follow that up with dedicated cleaning ABS filament or nylon filament.
  • Finish it up by using a brass wire brush to clear away gunk from the exterior of the nozzles. Before long, you will get a cold pull that is clear from debris.

Why Clean Printer Nozzles?

Maintenance is a key part of that puzzle if you are wondering how long 3D printers last. In other words, keeping your nozzles clean can increase the lifespan of your printer if you are looking for some useful 3D printer tips. Keeping your printer nozzles clean also helps create high-quality prints on a variety of materials if you are learning how to 3D print metal.

Insider Tip

You should clean your nozzles after every print job, though this largely depends on how dirty they are.

Finally, keeping the nozzle free from debris helps with a steady flow of filament, which helps the filament stay on the print bed if you are looking for some 3D printing bed adhesion tips.

Tips to Clean Printer Nozzles

Every printer is unique, as is every filament nozzle. While no specific cleaning steps are available to every printer out there, there are some universal tips worth considering.

Use a Cleaning Filament

Think filaments are just for printing 3D models? Think again. There are plenty of filaments out there specifically for cleaning extrusion nozzles. Just insert the cleaning filament as you would building filament and set the temperature a bit higher than average. The cleaning filament will extrude through the nozzle and force out debris and blockages. Check the instructions to ensure your printer can use cleaning filament.

Try a Wire Brush

Cleaning filament does a great job of clearing out the interior of a nozzle, but you still might have melted filament on the outside. That is where a trusty wire brush comes in handy. Stick with brass wire brushes here, as steel and other types of metal are too abrasive. Clean slowly and pick away the melted filament bit by bit.

STAT: The nozzle is where melted material exits the hot end. If you’re unfamiliar with this component, it’s usually threaded on one side, connecting it to the hot end, and, on the other side, has a smaller hole where the filament is extruded. (source)

Use a Fine Needle

If you are experiencing a full clog, start by inserting a fine needle right into the nozzle to make an opening. This should clear out the clog. Follow this up with some cleaning filament and, finally, go over everything with a wire brush.

Cleaning Printing Nozzles FAQs

How do you identify a clogged nozzle?

Before diving in with a soft cloth for cleaning methods, identify a clog by looking for filament residue on the nozzle and print jobs that take longer than average.

What causes a clogged nozzle?

Clogged nozzles are caused by many factors, including printing temperature, dirty filament, malfunctioning print heads, and much more. Clean up nozzle clogs as soon as you can.

How do you prevent a clogged nozzle?

Prevent clogged and dirty nozzles by avoiding low-quality filaments and any other low-grade type of filament. Also, keep your workstation clean and make sure to store your filament properly. Some users may benefit from dipping the print nozzle in acetone.
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