How to Clean Printer Head

Level of difficulty: Intermediate

A blocked printer head greatly affects the performance of the printer. It may be caused by dried ink because it has not been used for a long period of time. This causes poor printing job leading to waste of ink and paper and may eventually damage the printer. It is extremely important to clean out the printer head when it is clogged.

Materials Needed:
- Printer
- Cotton swab/s
- Hot water
- Isopropyl Alcohol
Step 1
Most printers have built in programs that allow them to go through a self-cleaning mode. All you need to do is push the button for this function to start. Check the printer’s manual if you cannot find this button.
Step 2
Other printers’ self-cleaning mode is done through a program on your computer. Go to the 'Printers and Faxes' folder for maintenance options of your printer. 'Cleaning' and 'Deep Cleaning' modes are usually presented.
Step 3
If the self-cleaning mode does not work, you can opt for the test print. You can also try turning the printer off overnight to soften the ink. Turn the printer on the next day and try another test print. This will allow you to see if the problem still persists.
Step 4
If it is still clogged, you can try to clean the printer head manually. To clean the printer head, remove the ink cartridge from the printer. Moisten a cotton swab by dipping it in hot water or isopropyl alcohol, and then gently wipe the printer head. Do this repeatedly until it softens the dried ink.
Step 5
For models where the printer head is located in the printer, you can put 7 to 10 drops of isopropyl alcohol in the ink receptacle where the ink flows from the cartridge to the head. Turn the printer to self-cleaning mode. You can also leave it for a few hours or overnight before repeating the self-cleaning mode.
Step 6
If the print head is located in the cartridge, soak the print head in hot water and let it soak overnight. Dry the print head part using a paper towel and switch it to self-cleaning mode.
Step 7
If the hot water soak does not work, place the cartridge printer head in isopropyl alcohol and let it soak overnight. Wipe off the soaked area and dry it carefully using a damp paper towel. Turn the printer to self-cleaning mode to remove any dried ink.
Step 8
If all the steps were taken and the printer head is still clogged, you may want to contact a service technician to repair your printer head.