How to Clean Your Inkjet Printer
Here you are finding yourself working late at night typing the crucial sales report that needs to go out the next day. But, then when you try printing out your data sheets, the inkjet printer spits out a blotched and ink-streaked paper.
When this occurs, it may be necessary to clean the printer.
Over some time, printers get dirty due to ink leakage from the cartridge. This dried ink slowly builds upon the main printer components causing loss of print quality and other malfunctions. Therefore, periodical maintenance and cleaning are the best ways to keep your future printouts safe.
Let’s read more about the essential factors to keep in mind.
Supplies Needed for Printer Cleaning
Since inkjet printers use liquid-based ink, you’ll need the following supplies:
- Kitchen Roll/Paper Towel to help remove stubborn dirt from internal components and excess ink from the cartridge.
- Printer Oil to lubricate internal parts after cleaning them.
- Window Cleaner/Isopropyl Alcohol to help remove ink stains and dried-up residue from the printer.
- Latex Gloves to protect your skin from ink stains that take a lot of scrubbing.
- Sponge Swab to clean the print head.
Areas to Focus
There are several parts in your inkjet printer that need more focus while cleaning.
- Print Head: is generally the part that takes the most beating when your printer is in use. The Head may/may not be a part of your print cartridge, but it’s essential for printing documents.
- Stabilizer Bar: lines up the paper evenly.
- Print Head Stepper: is a motor that helps to control the print head assembly.
- Interface Ribbon: exists behind the print head.
- Paper Feed Assembly: is what picks up the paper and feeds it into the printer.
Steps for Cleaning Your Inkjet Printer
Once you have all the tools, put on your gloves, and get ready. Remember that the internal components of your printer are fragile and therefore need careful handling.
Step 1: Take Out the Ink Cartridge
To remove a printer cartridge, position the housing or body of the cartridge in the middle of the stabilizer bar of your printer while it’s still on. In some printers, the housing re-positions automatically when you open the machine making it easier to extract the assembly. Once you take out the cartridge, switch off your printer, and unplug it.
Step 2: Clean the Print Head and Cartridges
After removing the cartridges, you may find clogged or dried-up ink around the print head. To clean this mess, take a paper towel and fold it in quarters. Now, apply isopropyl alcohol or a window cleaner to the towel and rub it gently over the print head and on the underside of the cartridges.
When swiping the paper towel along with the print head, take care to remove any excess ink. If your printer has a removable print head, you can clean it separately.
Step 3: Clean Ribbons and Ink Reservoir
The ribbon is a long and thin component that connects to the box holding your printer cartridge. Take another piece of paper towel and fold it in half. Moisten it with alcohol or window cleaner to wipe away any ink globs from the ribbon.
Be very careful to clean the ribbon using minimal pressure; else you may disconnect it from the printer.
Also, when the printer prints a document, an ink reservoir builds up on the left or right side of the machine. Over time, the ink mixed with paper dust forms a gooey substance that’s hard to clean. This buildup often leads to causing ink streaks on the paper.
To remove the ink blot, use a long hook or pencil and carefully nudge it out. You may use swabs dipped in alcohol to wipe clean this part. Using the swab, remove the ink buildup at the bottom of the ink reservoir or the cartridge tray.
Step 4: Remove Dirt from Cartridge Housing
Printer cartridge housing holds the ink cartridges in place while keeping them functioning properly. To remove any dirt accumulation, clean it up using a paper towel and window cleaner. Wipe the housing clean and then remove ink, debris, or dirt sitting on it.
Step 5: Add Oil to Stabilizer Bar
You may notice a thin film of ink inside almost every inch of your printer. If this film builds on the stabilizer bar, it becomes hard for print heads to move smoothly. As a result, you may hear a crunching or grinding sound at the end of each printing job.
You can rectify this issue by oiling the stabilizer bar. For oiling, pour a few drops of printer oil on to the bar and move the cartridge housing manually along it to spread the oil evenly.
Step 6: Clean the Outside Assembly and Reinsert the Cartridge
After completing all the above steps, clean the paper pickup assembly on your inkjet printer. Ink on the rollers often causes papers to get jammed. Cleaning with a sponge swab or wiping with an alcohol-dipped paper towel will keep this component to functioning well.
Now, switch on the printer and reinsert its cartridges. Then run a cartridge alignment check as recommended in your user manual. Finally, you’re good to go.
Follow all these steps to clean your printer and prepare it for the next job of flawless printing.
Pro Tips for Cleaning an Inkjet Printer
- Do not apply excess oil to the stabilizer bar. It may cause damage due to oil dripping on other components.
- When removing or reinserting the cartridges, do not touch the metal part. If fingerprints or dirt get on it, the cartridge may not function accurately.
- Try the self-cleaning feature of your printer before going ahead with the steps given above. The printers have an in-built capability to clean itself by pressing and holding a few buttons. If your printer needs cleaning beyond this feature, take the matter into your hands and follow all the steps.
If you find it difficult to clean your inkjet printer yourself, take help from professional contractors for its regular cleaning and maintenance. Maintain your printer in a top-notch condition to maximize your productivity at work.