Modern printers excel at creating high-resolution documents that are useful in nearly any scenario, be it personal or professional. However, some users have reported that their printers have begun making documents that are filled with streaks. Instead of going back to the market and getting a high-quality printer, you can first try these simple tips.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • If your printer has begun creating documents that are filled with streaks and smudges, check on the status of the ink or toner cartridges.
  • You can also run diagnostic tools and initiate the automatic cleaning process, which will clean the printhead.
  • Occasionally, clogged-up nozzles or a misaligned printhead can lead to streaky images.

What Are Streaks?

Streaks, when it comes to a printed document, refer to various smudges within the text. These can range from mild to severe and typically impact inkjet printers, as the toner dust used with laser printers is not as susceptible to streaking.

Insider Tip

The first thing you should do if you see some streaky text or images coming from the printer is to check on the ink or laser cartridge.

Eliminate Streaks From Your Printer

We have assembled some useful tips and guidelines to help you troubleshoot the problem of printer streaks. As a note, each printer model is different, so we have tried to keep these points as universal as possible.

Check the Ink or Toner

The first thing you should do if you see some streaky text or images coming from the printer is to check on the ink or laser cartridge. If a cartridge is nearly depleted it may begin creating streaky text or images. This may also be why you keep wondering why your printer is printing blurry text.

Modern printers typically have dedicated tools to check on ink or toner consumption and the overall status of the cartridges. Run this software and take a look at the data available. If you are close to being depleted, it may be time to replace the cartridge. If the cartridge levels look fine, you will have to keep on troubleshooting. You may need to download and install some new printer driver software to access this cartridge utility tool.

Insider Tip

Most modern printers include print head cleaning functionality which can be initiated via the printer’s settings menu.

Clean the Print Head

The streaks could be due to a dirty print head. Luckily, most modern printers include print head cleaning functionality which can be initiated via the printer’s settings menu. Run this print head cleaning tool and see if the issue has resolved itself. The cleaning tool will typically print out a few test pages, so just take a look at those. This cleaning tool will deplete some of your ink reserves, but if it fixes the problem of streaks then that would have been well worth it.

Nozzles and Alignment

Other issues that can lead to streak-filled documents are dirty print nozzles and misaligned print heads. Both of these issues can typically be checked on and resolved via a printer’s integrated maintenance toolset. You may need to, however, manually clean the printer’s internal components. We recommend that you wear gloves and use a microfiber cloth.

In the case of a wireless printer, the problem may be with your connection. You may want to review why can’t your computer find your wireless printer.

Warning

You may need to download and install some new printer driver software to access this cartridge utility tool.

F.A.Q.

Are refillable ink cartridges bad for a printer?

Not usually, but it would depend on the ink cartridges and their manufacturer. Do a thorough Google search on a refillable ink cartridge manufacture before making a purchase.


What’s the dealio with missing lines down the printout?

Just as with blurry text, missing lines can be indicative of a depleted cartridge or a dirty printer head.


What if I have faded areas on my document?

This could also be due to a depleted or nearly depleted ink or toner cartridge. Changing out the cartridge should resolve this issue, though you may need to perform some troubleshooting steps.



STAT: The average employee typically prints 10,000 pages a year. This adds up to an average of $725 a year in employee printing. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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