Fixing A Printer Jam

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Updated November 16, 2022

Paper jams can be annoying. One minute, you are productive, accomplishing your printing task, and the next, you are cursing out your top-of-the-market printer and being unproductive. It doesn’t matter what quality of printer you own or if you followed any instructions for proper care. Just one piece of wrinkled paper can grind printing to a halt.


  • When working with a printer, you’ll inevitably experience a paper jam. You’ll want to avoid pulling the stuck piece of paper from under the cover when it happens.
  • It doesn’t matter what quality of printer you own, using low-quality paper will leave behind paper dust that, over time, accumulate and create problems grinding it to a halt.
  • If the printer reports a jam after removing the paper, double-check for any scraps or stray paper, and close the doors once more.

While it’s inevitable that your printer will experience a paper jam, the way you respond to it will determine how bad the situation gets. Constructively responding to the event will help ensure you get back to completing your printing tasks as quickly as possible.

It’s hard to resist the feeling of hitting your printer when a paper jam happens. Instead, here’s the right way to respond to a printer paper jam.

What Causes a Printer Jam?

There are several reasons why your printer could experience a paper jam. The following are the common causes;

  • Inserting paper incorrectly: It’s perhaps the most common cause of a paper jam. So many things can go wrong when feeding paper into a printer. Sometimes, sheets get stuck together, frayed and folded paper will also cause issues, and an overloaded tray will always cause problems. And if you have to use specific paper to print documents like blueprints, you should check out our list of the best 11×17 printers.
  • Faulty rollers: The rollers are what pull the sheets of paper into the printer for printing. Over time and extensive use, they will experience wear and tear. Rollers are designed to last the lifetime of a printer, but if mishandled, they can lead to paper jams.
  • Poor quality paper: Copiers, printers, and MFDs are very precise machines. Inserting low-quality paper can lead to a shred or create flakes that ultimately lead to problems. The low-quality paper will also leave behind paper dust that, over time, accumulate and create problems. Also, be sure your printer can print the size document you need, like if you need to print on half-letter size paper.
  • Poor quality cartridges: low-quality cartridges can create a situation where stray ink and toner are left behind. This affects printing quality and also leads to paper jams. As you change your ink cartridges and put in new high-quality ones, you must dispose of the used ink cartridges properly. Additionally, be sure you know how to clean printer heads to help prolong your printer’s life.

Fixing a Paper Jam

When working with a printer, you’ll inevitably experience a paper jam. When it happens, it’s best not to let the frustration get the better of you. Also, you’ll want to avoid pulling the stuck piece of paper from under the cover. This will damage the printer’s internals. Instead, remove the paper by pulling it from the back of the paper tray.

Here’s how to fix a paper jam after it has already happened:

  1. First, turn off your printer before you begin the process of removing the stuck piece of paper. It will lower the chance of damaging the printer or hurting yourself in the process.
  2. Remove the loose paper from the printer tray.
  3. Carefully inspect for jams in all the printer paper trays and exits, including the inside of the machine along the path where your paper runs.
  4. Once you have located the jammed paper, carefully pull out the pieces of paper one at a time.
  5. You must be gentle to avoid ripping the paper out. Also, check for a knob or lever that can quickly release the paper.
  6. Close all the printer doors and turn them on. If everything is fine, your printer should automatically rest itself. If the printer still reports a jam, double-check for any scraps or stray paper, and close the doors once more. If your printer continues to send an error, turn it off and on again.

If your printer is still stuck after going through this process, it might be time to contact a professional. When your printer starts running smoothly, you can maximize your ink cartridge’s lifespan by avoiding large and bold text. And for help with various printer issues, check out our guide on printer repair.

Alternatively, if the printer still has problems, find out how to dispose an old printer and save yourself a headache.


When is the best time to call a professional to fix a printer jam?

If you have carefully gone through all the steps required to remove a paper jam and your printer still doesn’t function or report a paper jam, you need to seek expert advice.

Why is my paper jam problem recurring?

Frequent printer jams will mostly happen if the printer is mishandled. Avoid inserting the paper incorrectly, don’t use poor-quality paper, and avoid cheap-quality cartridges. Your frequent paper jams could also be due to a faulty roller.

Why does my printer say I have a paper jam while there is none?

After carefully following the steps of getting rid of paper jams, make sure you close all the doors and turn off your device before switching it on again. Your printer will automatically reset itself.

Will poor-quality paper cause a paper jam?

Poor quality paper will lead to paper jams since they leave behind paper dust, leading to issues when they accumulate.

How do I remove jammed paper from my printer?

First, turn off your printer and remove any loose paper from the tray. Inspect for jams in the printer path and tray and carefully pull out the stuck pieces of paper. Close the printer doors and turn on your printer. Your printer will automatically reset itself at this point.

STAT: In 2018, the printer, scanner, and multifunctional device market was projected at $7,255. 4 million. In 2021, the market is expected to amount to approximately $6,792.7 million. The market size of the printing industry in the U.S has declined faster than the manufacturing sector overall. (source)

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