Unable To Clean Error ~ Brother MFC210, MFC410CN, MFC420CN, MFC620CN, FAX2440C

If you get an Unable To Clean error on your Brother MFC-210, MFC-410CN, MFC-420CN, MFC-620CN or FAX-2440C it may be because the ink purge tank count has reached its “full” limit.

To reset the purge counter:

  1. Enter machine maintenance mode (on MFC210C all four photo/copy/fax/scan lights flash in maintenance mode). Warning: care is needed in maintenance mode, otherwise critical settings may be inadvertently corrupted.
    FAX models with numerical keypads: Press the Menu button, then press the following keys within two seconds: *, 2, 8, 6 and 4 keys  (if you fail to complete the correct key sequence within two seconds, press the STOP key to try again).
    Other (non-FAX) models: Press the Menu button and the Black Start key. Next press the “up arrow” key four times to enter the maintenance mode).
  2. Press the 8 then 0 keys in the initial stage of the maintenance mode to call up the machine’s log information list (function code 80).
  3. Press the black Start key several times to scroll through the log information list to reach the purge counter. The purge counter is the 25th item in the list.
  4. Press the 2, 7, 8, and 3 keys (in this order) to reset the purge count to zero.
  5. Press the Stop/Exit key to return to the initial stage of the maintenance mode.
  6. Press the 9 key twice to return to the standby state.

Caution: it’s possible that the printer may leak ink if you’re a high volume user and the ink reservoir fills faster than the ink can evaporate. The purge reservoir can be cleaned out but it requires stripping down of the printer.

Easyink Support has written 90 articles

23 thoughts on “Unable To Clean Error ~ Brother MFC210, MFC410CN, MFC420CN, MFC620CN, FAX2440C

    1. Easyink Support says:

      Hi Sharon

      Press the Menu/Set, *, 2, 8, 6 and 4 keys within two seconds (if you fail to complete the correct key sequence within two seconds, press the Stop key to try again).
      Other (non-FAX) models: Press the Menu/Set and Black Start keys. Next press the “up arrow” key four times to enter the maintenance mode).

    1. Easyink Support says:

      Hi Bob – Emptying the purge tank is a complicated and messy job

      1: Removing the top cover of the printer.
      2: Locate the purge tank and remove from printer (on the right hand side from memory).
      3: Wash out the white wading in the waste tank with water.
      4: Once dry refit and reinstall in the printer.

      The realty is that no one would normally perform the procedure as it requires tearing down the printer. Also after the reset you will most likely get years of use out of the printer with no problems at all.
      As this series is already quite old another few years and the cartridges may no longer be available anyway.

  1. Martin Macdonald says:

    Thank you. I had to hit STOP/EXIT a few times before I could enter the Menu/Set*2864 code.
    Glad I can keep my mfc210 a while longer.

  2. CATHY says:

    did the purge procedure – was already at 0000 – still have unable to clean message – note – I did do this one other time could be a year or more ago – does this matter?

  3. Darryl says:

    Thank you, Easyink. You guys are GREAT! I would not have been able to do this myself. Worked perfectly, printer is up and running again. I should have searched for this sooner, my printer has been down for several weeks. Without this information I would have been looking at a repair bill or new printer. I can’t thank you enough.

  4. Paula says:

    Thank you so much! I have had my Brother MFC 420 CN for over 12 years and it has performed flawlessly. I was worried when the unable to clean error came up because most sites had me believing it was time to throw the old friend away. Your instructions worked perfectly! I appreciate your knowledge and am SO happy I don’t have to toss Old Reliable!

  5. Miriam says:

    THANK YOU!!! This old MFC 620 CN can continue on and on, as it has for many a long year. And with re-filling of cartridges, I don’t have to look at replacing the old duck. 🙂

  6. Daniel Moore says:

    Thanks. Worked. I’m a retired technician and have worked on over a thousand copiers, printers and fax machines all makes. Factory trained by 3M Company. Question on this same printer Brother MFC 420CN. I want to clean the optics. Just need to remove optics glass. Can’t find a parts or service manual. Got any info on this?

    1. Easyink Support says:

      Hi Daniel

      Sorry I haven’t done that – but from memory most of those printers you have to split the scanner of the printer and open the scanner from underneath. (it’s a big job).

  7. Russ says:

    Thanks a lot for these instructions. I had checked the User’s Guide, but couldn’t find anything describing how to troubleshoot this problem. My MFC 420cn is up and running again!

  8. kiwi3 says:

    Was going to chuck this printer out!
    Love the phone function so was going to be very sad to dump this printer that I’ve had for nearly 20 years.
    thank you
    thank you 🙂 🙂

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