Blocked Inkjet Print Head Cleaning – How To

One of the most common faults with inkjet printers is blocked print heads – especially if the printer sits idle for long periods of time.

With most Canon and Hewlett Packard printers it is very easy to remove the print head from the printer. With models like Brother and Epson you will need to strip/disassemble the printer to expose the print head.

Good quality compatible ink cartridges are no more likely to block printheads than original OEM ink cartridges.

The following is the method I have used to un-block the print heads on a Hewlett Packard Officejet Pro K850.

You will need a small syringe (I use a 10ml syringe bought from a local pharmacy), a short piece of soft rubber hose to fit the syringe nozzle, a decent wad of tissue paper and a source of hot water.

In the following video we show you how we reinstated a printer using genuine HP ink cartridges that had been in storage for two years. The printer’s cleaning procedures had resulted in no improvement.

After manually flushing all the print heads you will need to perform 1 or 2 printer head cleans to purge fresh ink into the print head. This procedure will work on most other HP and Canon printers.

I have also used this method on Brother printers, however they require a strip down to get to the print head.

Warning: This should only be done as a last resort and should only be considered after running the normal automatic printhead cleaning cycles six or so times without success.



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2 thoughts on “Blocked Inkjet Print Head Cleaning – How To

  1. Troy Staley says:

    Having been a head tech at a larger ebay printer business for a few years, and then running my own business selling printers I can tell you printheads each have their own particular trick to clean the different varieties there are. The canon and hp printheads you can run the how water into them in the sink and then for the flush of the channels put them up flush with the nozzle in the sink directly over the nozzles and pin it tight to them. It will force water thru them and unless you’re careless, do them no damage.
    The epsons are the trickier ones. You have a plugged head from a r800 or a stylus photo variety it’s best chance is to remove the printhead from the printer and use a lid from something with a pool of windex or such in it about 1/8th of an inch deep and set it directly into that printhead nozzles down and let it sit. in an hour or so rinse it off some, not trying to flush the ink channels and shake it dry then blow it off to get it completely dry. To see if you got the nozzles clean get a damp paper towel in your hand and tap it onto this in your palm. when you can see all the nozzles lines show clearly on the paper towel, reinstall in the printer and put in your inks and try for a test page. Creating a active nozzle check page with windows paint or such with solid lines about 4 inches long and a half inch wind will blast alot of ink thru the nozzles and let you know for sure if it is clear. each line is a ink color and do one for each. solid blocks of each color will show for sure when clear.
    Another method that has seen success when the nozzles are partially clear still is to make yourself a cleaning set of inks.
    with the epsons like the r2400 you can get a syringe of windex and poke it thru the bottom right behind the nozzle and inject the windex to mix with the inks. Generally use a mostly empty set of ink cartridges and then seal the hole with a hot glue gun by pressing the nozzle of the glue gun directly on the hole and injecting some glue into the hole. this will make sure it doesn’t leak when you put it back into the printer.
    after making these cleaner cartridges, put them back into your printer and use the ssc service utitily that offers a function for a deep cleaning or a prime the printhead on other epsons that offer this so you flush a bunch of the windex/ink combo thru the nozzles. it will give you washed out colors but will still be visible to see what progress is being made in the effort to get the nozzle check patterns to come thru totally. once you have clear nozzles, put good inks back into the printer and run it a bit to get solid ink back into the channels in the printhead and your colors good again. the active nozzle test pattern will help to do this fast and you’re back in business. lexmark 100 series printheads and the kodaks are the same as the canon and hp ones when it comes to cleaning. just rinse them in hot water in the sink and force some hot water thru them till the run clear. then do the tap like you’re packing a pack of smokes with the printhead into a paper towel in your palm to see if there is still ink in it. if yes, rinse some more.
    having worked on literally thousands of printers, this set of tricks will work more times than not. good luck. If you have more issues, contact me at my email and i’ll give you a little phone support to tell you if you’ve got a good chance to solve your problem or at least let you know if you’re trying to fill up a bottomless hole.

    1. Troy Staley says:

      oh ya, having a chip resetter is a must if you have an epson style printer. saves tons of hassles and lets you use your cleaners you just made for it

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