How to Clean Printer Heads

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Updated June 27, 2022

Did you know that learning how to clean high quality printer heads could significantly cut down on cartridge replacement costs and prolong the efficiency of your printer? Nothing frustrates an inkjet user more than a malfunctioned printer. Like any other electric device, your printer’s print head will clog from time to time as dust particles and tiny amounts of ink form on the nozzle.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • When tiny bits of debris, dust, and dried ink clog the small holes on the printer head, the result is a streaky print with white lines where there should be color.
  • Cleaning your printer’s printer head will go a long way in prolonging its lifespan, and hopefully, help delay replacing your cartridge.
  • Before you begin cleaning your print head, it’s important to troubleshoot your printer to make sure that it is indeed clogged.

When tiny bits of debris, dust, and dried ink clog the small holes on the printer head, the result is a streaky print with white lines where there should be color. Depending on your printer’s make or model, it may clog more often than others.

Cleaning your printer’s printer head will go a long way in prolonging its lifespan, and hopefully, help delay replacing your cartridge.

So, What is a Print Head?

A print head is a component that is found in an inkjet printer that helps transfer ink from the cartridge to the page media. It performs this task by spraying tiny ink droplets through numerous nozzles to develop the desired print on a page. In case your nozzle gets clogged, your prints will be streaky or faded. Other than the printer head, you can also clean the printer in general. Ensure you have gathered all appropriate cleaning supplies and power down the printer before cleaning it.

Troubleshooting a Clogged Print Head

Before you begin cleaning your print head, it’s important to troubleshoot your printer to make sure that it is indeed clogged.

  1. Before you begin troubleshooting your printer, check to make sure that your printer’s ink cartridge indeed has ink. Sometimes cartridge ink runs out faster than most printer users expect and the symptoms can be confused for a Printer head clog.
  2. Next, open the printer’s utility program by finding the “Control Panel” in your Windows computer “Start” menu. Choose “Printers and Faxes” and then follow the automatic instructions for cleaning your printhead.
  3. Finally, print a test page. If your printer appears to be fixed, you don’t need to proceed any further. If the printed page still appears faded or streaky, then you’ll need to proceed to the next stage in the process.

Manually Cleaning your Print Head

Cleaning your print head is easy. All you need is a few supplies, including:

  • Dry paper towels
  • Distilled hot water
  • Plastic container
  • Lint-free cloth
  1. First, fold the dry paper towels into quarters. Place them inside the plastic container. Follow through by pouring two inches of hot water onto the paper towels until they are completely submerged.
  2. Next, open up your printer and carefully remove all the ink cartridges from the device. Carefully set the cartridges aside, facing up on a separate paper towel.
  3. Slowly lift the latch that holds the cartridges. This will also release your print head from the printer. Remove the print head from the device.
  4. Carefully place the print head in the container with the paper towels with the nozzle facing down. During the entire print head cleaning process, refrain from getting your fingers into contact with the nozzle. This contact could damage them and affect your printing quality.
  5. Leave your print head to soak for about ten minutes, and set it on a dry paper towel to dry out for another fifteen minutes. Make sure the nozzle is facing upwards this time.
  6. Finally, return the print head into the printer, and secure the latch. Reinstall the printer cartridge and run the automatic cleaning process on your printer again.

Congratulations! You have successfully cleaned your printer head. Now that your printer head is clean, use Airprint to wirelessly print directly from your iPhone. Also, ensure that your printer and your iPad are on the same wireless network.

F.A.Q.S

What is a print head?

A print head is a component that is found in an inkjet printer that helps transfer ink from the cartridge to the page.


What do I need to clean a print head?

All you need is dry paper towels, distilled hot water, a plastic container, and a lint-free cloth.


Why do I need to clean my print head?

When tiny bits of debris, dust, and dried ink clog the tiny holes on the printer head, it often results in a streaky print with white lines where there should be color.


Can I manually clean my print head?

Yes, all you need is dry paper towels, distilled hot water, a plastic container, a lint-free cloth, and some time to spare.

How do I know my print head needs cleaning?

You will notice your printed paper has a streaky print with white lines where there should be color and deteriorated print quality even after a cartridge refill.



STAT: The U.S Printing market size is $75.3 billion. It has a -3.1% annual growth between 2016 and 2021 and will grow by -2% in 2021. The Printing industry in the U.S declined faster than the economy overall. (source)

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