My HP Color Ink Cartridge Won't Work

Techwalla may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
You can fix HP color ink cartridges.

Hewlett-Packard designs many quality printers and computers. Most of the HP line of products are affordable and offer features that make these products good values for the investment. An inkjet printer, however, can sometimes develop a glitch or have problems. If your HP color ink cartridge won't work, there are a few things you can try to get the printer up and running again.


Step 1

Remove and replace the HP color ink cartridge. Open the cover to the HP printer and release the ink cartridge holster-locking mechanism, if applicable. Pull the color ink cartridge upward and outward until it is released from the holster. Reverse the removal process to reinstall the ink cartridge. Make sure that the cartridge clicks into place and that the locking mechanism is fully closed.


Video of the Day

Step 2

Check the ink cartridge slots carefully to see whether the color cartridge is installed in the wrong location. This can cause the color cartridge to print incorrectly. Replace the color ink cartridge in the correct slot if this is the problem.

Step 3

Remove the color ink cartridge and make sure that the tape that covers the copper print head contacts is not still in place. Remove any tape that is visible on the ink cartridge and replace the cartridge in the printer.


Step 4

Run an automatic cleaning cycle on the printer. Follow the instructions in your manual. Most HP printer models have the cleaning cycle available in the main operating menu on the LCD screen of the printer.

Step 5

Manually clean the copper contacts on the color cartridge. Wet a soft cloth with warm water. Place the copper contacts on the wet cloth for a few seconds. Wipe the copper contacts gently to remove any dried ink or clogged residue. Clean both the bottom and side contacts of the color cartridge. Replace the cartridge in the printer.


Step 6

Replace the HP color ink cartridge that won't work with a new color ink cartridge. If you are using a generic or refilled ink cartridge, replace it with a genuine HP color ink cartridge.

Things You'll Need

  • Printer manual

  • Soft cloth

  • Warm water

  • Replacement color cartridge


It is not necessary to complete every step in this process. Follow the suggestions until you identify and fix your specific problem. If none of these steps is effective, the problem may be with your printer. Bring it to a repair shop for further assistance.


Do not let your skin touch the copper contacts on the color ink cartridge.