How to Clean a Print Head

Cleaning the print head on your inkjet printer regularly will produce cleaner copies and prolong the life of your hardware. Most printers and scanners have a self-cleaning feature that can resolve some problems, although your intervention with a few simple cleaning techniques occasionally will remove any gunk and ensure nice, clean output.

Step

Turn on the printer and press the cleaning button. On some models, it may be necessary to press a certain button two or more times to launch the cleaning feature. Check your owner's manual for instructions specific to your model. If your printer does not have a cleaning button on the control panel, go to Printers and Faxes in the Control Panel menu on your computer and double-click.

Step

Select the cleaning mode from the list of options under Printers and Faxes in the Control Panel menu, then follow the screen prompts.

Step

Open the printer cover and wait for the printer head to stop moving in order to begin a more thorough cleaning.

Step

Remove the printer ink cartridges. On most printers and scanners, this will involve either tipping the cartridge forward to unlock and then lift it out of the compartment, or opening a compartment door and lifting the cartridge straight up.

Step

Look for the nozzles in the printer cartridge that feed ink to the printer. These will be small holes less than the diameter of a pencil tip.

Step

Clean around the nozzles with a cotton swab dipped lightly in rubbing alcohol. Repeat until the swabs are no longer stained from cleaning around the nozzles.

Step

Allow the alcohol to evaporate completely.

Step

Blow short bursts of compressed air around the nozzles to dislodge any remaining particles.

Step

Replace the ink cartridges, close the cover and print a test page.