Why Is My Printer Making Streaks

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Updated November 22, 2022

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 returning to the market and getting a high-quality printer, you can try these simple tips first. However, if you must get a new printer, be sure to know what to do with the old printer.

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 refer to various smudges within the text when it comes to a printed document. 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. Although, if you haven’t done your part to make your laser printer cleaner, there’s a chance for spotting on printed projects. Even if you find a great picture printer, streaks are always a possibility.

However, if you have a printer to use with Cricut, you definitely don’t want streaks on your new designs. So, keep reading to learn how to avoid printer streaks.

Insider Tip

The first thing you should do if you see some streaky text or images from the printer is checking 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. But, if you find your printer skipping lines too frequently, it may be another problem altogether.

Check the Ink or Toner

Just like when your printer is printing faded text, the first thing you should do if you see some streaky text or images 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. And you should do everything you can to make sure your ink or toner is in good shape because ink cartridges can be expensive.

Although, if you know what is a plotter printer, you’ll find that ink is even more expensive to use.

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.

If you don’t have this option, you’ll have to do it manually, and you can do so by learning how to clean printer heads. And, for those interested in the device itself, read our guide on what is a printhead on a printer.

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. Additionally, you can read this article for more printer maintenance tasks.

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 manufacturer before making a purchase.


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

As with blurry text, missing lines can indicate 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)