Giving your office printer a proper clean is probably the last thing on your mind. Still, without proper maintenance and regular TLC, your trusty printer may fail you. Making sure you give your printer a thorough clean every once in a while will prolong its life and give you better results. It can even save you money in the long run—clean printers mean optimal ink cartridge performance.
Depending on the kind of printer that you have, you may not have to do much cleaning at all. However, an inkjet or laser printer may require a little more elbow grease. This blog outlines how to properly clean some key components of your printer.
Utilize the Automatic Cleaner on Your Printer
The majority of office printers now offer an automatic cleaning option. You’ll be able to activate a clean from the printer’s control panel or by launching the cleaning application on your computer. Each printer make and model is different so check its manual to find the proper directions. If you don’t have the manual, you will likely find it online.
Once it’s completed, print a test page in order to see if the cleaning worked—it might even print on its own depending on your model.
Utilizing the automatic cleaning feature regularly could save you from the hassle of having to manually clean your office printer. However, more physical measures will have to be taken if you continue to have issues with your printer after using the automatic clean.
How to Clean a Print Head
The print head is specifically the part of an inkjet printer where all the ink nozzles are located. If your office printer’s print head gets dirty or clogged, it can cause a lot of issues when you need to print something. For example, some colours may not print correctly, or you may end up with streaks, lines and smears on your printed pages.
Typically, the print head will clean itself as it goes. How this works is that a tiny blade is wiped across the print head in order to clear away any old or dead ink. Doing so prepares the print head for your future printing needs. If your print head becomes too congested, you might need to clean it yourself.
There are a few ways to do so. Generally, you can simply activate the cleaning maintenance cycle that comes with your office printer, or you can clean it with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth. If it’s the actual nozzles that are clogged, a more involved cleaning process is required.
How to Clean an Ink Nozzle
If your office printer goes unused for an extended period of time or you leave it in a space where it can gather extra debris, there’s a chance the ink will dry out and clog the nozzles. The first thing you can try and do to combat this issue is to use the same cleaning cycle you did for the print head.
Another option is to check to see if the nozzles are located on the printer or the actual ink cartridges. If they’re on the cartridge, the fix can be as easy as replacing it—especially if the cartridge is already mostly empty. The new nozzles you install with the cartridge will be unclogged.
Like with the print head, you can also use isopropyl alcohol to clear away more serious clogs. Either use a dropper to apply the alcohol or fill an old, cleaned out ink cartridge with alcohol before activating a cleaning cycle. However, this method comes with some serious warnings as it can severely ruin your office printer and void any warranties. It’s best to call a printer maintenance technician instead.
How to Clean Your Printer’s Paper Rollers
It’s pretty simple to clean your office printer’s paper rollers. If you have an inkjet printer, you will need to remove the paper tray in order to locate the rollers. The rubber paper rollers are about half an inch wide (1.3 cm) and you might have to rotate the printer to see the bottom where they’re typically located. For a laser printer, you can generally locate the paper rollers through the access panel, which can be found on either the back or the front of the printer. It might be necessary to remove the printer cartridge in order to get to them.
Dip a clean, lint-free cloth into a cup of water in order to dampen it, not soak it. It’s thought that distilled or filtered water works the best, but really any clean water should work. Lightly rotate the paper rollers using the damp cloth, making sure to do a few rotations to get rid of any dust or other debris. You may not be able to manually rotate the rollers on a laser paper, but they can easily snap off and be put back again.
Make sure to wipe the rollers dry and print a test page to see if you’re getting the results you’re looking for.
How to Clean the Printer Cartridge
In order to locate your office printer cartridge, you’ll want to open your access panel. Your manual should provide you with instructions on how to remove it for your specific printer model, which you should follow, though they typically pop out without much trouble.
Next, you should place the cartridge into a bowl of room temperature water with its nozzles face down. When you start to see ink beginning to flow in the water, that means the cartridge is clean. After removing the cartridge from the water, dry it with a lint-free cloth and let it sit for at least 10 minutes undisturbed.
Finally, reinsert the cartridge and print out a test page to check the results.