How to Automatically Clean an HP Inkjet Cartridge

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Just like anything else, your inkjet cartridge needs to be cleaned periodically. Dried ink can impair the performance of your printer. There are really only a few easy steps involved in cleaning your HP inkjet cartridge. Your HP printer actually has an automatic clean function, so it is quite easy to do. Follow these steps to clean an HP inkjet cartridge.

Things You'll Need

  • HP inkjet printer
  • Computer

Step 1

Locate the memory card slot and remove the memory card from the slot. Memory card slots are in different places, depending on what model of printer you have. This is an important step! If you have any questions about the location of the slot, see your owner's manual.

Step 2

Print a test page. Make sure your printer has paper in it. Use the menu function and arrow keys to locate the print test page function. If the test page looks clean without any streaks or dots, you don't need to clean your inkjet cartridge.

Step 3

Start the automatic clean function. Using the menu function and arrow keys again, locate "Clean the Print Cartridges" on the LCD screen.

Step 4

Wait while the function cleans the cartridge. The carriage that holds the cartridge will move during the cleaning.

Step 5

Review the second test page, which will automatically print after the clean function is done.

Step 6

Start the second level of cleaning. Most of the HP printers refer to this on the LCD menu as "Continue to the Second Level of cCeaning." Click your "OK" button.

Step 7

Look for a third test page to be printed after the second level of cleaning. As long as the test page is clean, you can cancel out of the cleaning function and begin sending print jobs to the printer again.

Tips & Warnings

  • When cleaning a Photosmart printer, use regular copy paper to perform your test prints to conserve photo paper.
  • Only clean your cartridge when absolutely necessary.
  • If you have any questions that are specific to your model of printer, visit the HP Web site (see link below). The site can easily answer most questions regarding your printer issues.
  • Do not try to send any print jobs to the printer while the automatic clean function is running.