Brother Inkjet Error – Unable to Clean 30

If you get an error “Unable to Clean 30” on your brother ink-jet printer here are some things to try before you tear your hair out:

  1. Open the lid/scanner cover and check the position of the print head and whether it freely moves from left to right See Fig.1
  2. Check if there are any obstructions in the cleaning/cartridge park area (right hand side under cover) See Fig.2
  3. Check the encoder strip found behind/above the print-head ~ Note: on some models this may require the printer to be disassembled.


Fig.1 Fig.2


The following is the disassembly instructions for a Brother DCP-330 which had an “Unable to Clean 30” error after a paper jam.

You will need a number 2 Phillips screw driver and a small flat blade screwdriver for popping clips etc.


Remove cable covers and scanner support leg.

Cable covers









Remove the 3 screws holding the display/control panel. Remove all remaining screws holding the top cover (highlighted).

Remove screws









With the top cover removed you will have full and easy access to the head carriage and encoder strip.

With this printer, the fault was caused by the encoder strip running over the top of the reader instead of in it (See close up on the following pics).

encoder stripencoder strip fitted









Another common cause of carriage problems is a dirty encoder strip so this one has been cleaned (use ONLY water on a damp clean cloth, the encoder strip is VERY easy to scratch and ruin. Solvents will wipe off the encoding).

To re-assemble just reverse the instructions and all going to plan your printer will be printing like new again.

This procedure is for the DCP-330, however a lot of Brother ink-jet models follow the same format. If your model is different you may be able to adapt these instructions to suit.

Easyink Support has written 90 articles

4 thoughts on “Brother Inkjet Error – Unable to Clean 30

  1. Colin Ware says:

    I have a Brother MFC 685CW with the Error message described in the article for a DCP-330. I couldn’t gain access to the printer heads and data tape using those instructions. Do you have anything on my printer? It would be most appreciated if you can help. Best regards, Colin

    1. Easyink Support says:

      Hi Colin

      Sorry cant help there as I don’t have a MFC685CW to play with.
      The information it this article should be mostly universal with your printer.

  2. vikrant says:

    I have same printer and with error 48 sometimes 49 what to do ? encoder is seems to be ok, head is at left cleaning onlt move little bit left and right but stuck at cleaning mechzm. is encoder strip has nay direction to fit,i have found arrow on it ?please reply

    1. Easyink Support says:


      That would seem to indicate a fault with the print head carriage not being able to move correctly (may be held up by the cleaning unit).

      Make sure the encoder strip is clean, soft cloth only as the strip is very easy to damage.
      Inspect the cleaning assembly as it may be jammed/broken and not correctly releasing the print head when it should.

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