Article last updated March 8, 2023
It can be very frustrating when your inkjet printer starts producing poor prints or blank pages. So what should we do if we run into a situation like this? The typical response for many of us would be to buy a new printer ink cartridge. We would ignore the fact that the cartridges still have ink and that the problem is caused by a clogged printhead.
White lines are almost always caused by a clogged printhead nozzle with dried ink. However, because we have no idea how to clean printer heads, we are likely to overlook this strong possibility. Furthermore, replacing ink cartridges appears to be a simpler course of action.
However, if you are familiar with cleaning printer heads, you will find it easier to deal with the problem. And dealing with a clogged printhead will save you money both now and in the future. Let's take a close look at what it's all about and how you can go about it properly.
Printhead - what is it?
Every inkjet printer on the market, from Epson to Canon and other well-known brands, has one thing in common: printer heads. Every inkjet printer, regardless of size or model, has a print head that deposits ink on various media types. The print head now includes a chamber system for feeding ink and a small nozzle for spraying it out.
However, prior to the invention of printer heads, printouts were created using printing presses that made direct contact with the media. It was a particularly messy and expensive procedure, and the printing press machines were massive and heavy.
Today's printer heads, on the other hand, do not touch the print media, resulting in cleaner and more economical work. It sprays ink into the media with incredible precision to produce the best print results possible.
How to clean printheads automatically
Inkjet printers have an automatic cleaning cycle that can be used to unclog the print head. This cycle can be started from your printer's control panel or from the Printer Properties section of your computer's Control Panel.
The procedure causes your printer to discharge excess ink, softening and removing print head clogs. If the simple cleaning does not clear the print head, use the deep cleaning function.
If the automatic cleaning method fails, you can try a manual cleaning method. Remember that there are two types of print heads. There is an integrated print head from the cartridge as well as a detachable type. We'll go over the proper cleaning method for each one down below.
How to clean removable printheads
When cleaning detachable print heads, avoid exposing and cleaning the sponge area of the ink cartridges. Wear protective gloves throughout the process to avoid any direct contact with ink on your skin. To manually clean a removable printhead, follow these steps:
1. Remove each Ink Cartridge from its slot by opening the Ink Cartridge Carriage.
2. Remove the Printhead from the Carriage with care.
3. Wipe away any dried ink on the Print Head with a clean, lint-free cloth dampened in warm water.
4. Continue cleaning the Nozzle area until no more black ink remains on the fabric.
5. Soak the printhead for 10 minutes in a bowl of warm water. Never use boiled water. Place a clean paper towel at the bottom and the print head above it to soak.
6. Remove the printhead from the bowl and wipe away any excess water and moisture with a dry, lint-free cloth
7. Allow the printhead to air-dry for 15 minutes on top of a paper towel. Reinstall the print head and ink cartridges once it's completely dry.
8. Perform a test print to see if the printing quality has returned to normal. Before you begin printing, perform a Nozzle check to ensure that the print head is clean.
If the issue persists, follow the same steps again. Allow the print head to soak for 2 - 3 hours, or overnight if necessary, this time.
How to clean non-removable printheads
However, if you're using a printer without a detachable print head, the cleaning procedure is different. It will necessitate opening your device and accessing its interior, much like replacing ink cartridges.
1. Unplug the power cord to allow easier access to the print head while cleaning.
2. Soak a folded blotting paper in a cleaning solution before placing the print head carriage on top. It will aid in the cleaning of its exterior surface.
3. To clean the exterior surface even more thoroughly, try moving the carriage back and forth above the blotting paper.
4. Finally, pour 2 to 3 ml of cleaning solution into each blocked nozzle and soak it for 1 hour.
5. Replace the ink cartridges as needed, then perform a printhead cleaning to see if there are any positive results. If there aren't, try repeating the steps but soaking the cleaning solution for a longer period of time, or overnight, if necessary.
If a specific color is clogging, try setting the printer to maximum resolution. Then print an entire page in that ink color. It's essentially the same procedure that your printer uses when performing an individual nozzle clean.