Printhead Cleaning Techniques

Ink is formulated to dry quickly when it hits the paper. Unfortunately it sometimes tends to dry in the nozzles of the printhead.

It’s recommended to leave your ink jet printer switched on because some printers run a small amount of ink through the printhead at timed intervals to keep the nozzles in good shape. It’s worth losing a small amount of ink to avoid the hassles of blocked jets.

If you do have a print quality issue the first step towards resolving it is to print a test sheet and perform a print clean on the printer. If the problem remains after a few print cleans you could try printing solid blocks of the colour that’s not working properly.

Sometimes a blockage persists, especially if the printer has been idle and switched off for a couple of weeks or more. You could try applying a solvent to the printhead where the ink sprays on to the paper.

A solvent that has worked for some people is Isopropanol Cleaning Solvent Spray available from Dick Smiths. Ideally soak a rag and apply it firmly to the printhead and leave overnight.

One of our customers has put many sets of our compatible ink cartridges through his Canon over several years. Here’s how he keeps his Canon ip-4200 printing perfectly. For a problem with yellow:

I place the 5 jet head upright in a small butter dish and pour a little alcohol onto just the yellow jet section and gently shake the dish around. The yellow dye immediately starts appearing in the base of the dish. I then lift out the head and wipe the bottom contact plate with a paper handkerchief several times – till it shows clean. Then I wipe the rear contact plate and replace in the Printer. Do a head clean and test print run – and hope its fixed the problem ! If the test is still suspect – repeat. So far that has always worked.

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