Cartridge Cleaning

by Karen Bates
(last updated February 8, 2021)

Have you ever been printing a document and realized that the pages were coming out with streaks on them? You might start to wonder if there is something wrong with your printer, or if the ink needs to be replaced. But if this is happening to you, odds are good that the ink cartridge is dirty. By cleaning the ink cartridge correctly, you can fix your printing problem without too much time or effort.

Over time, you may find that the quality of the pages your inkjet printer is printing out has decreased. There can be different reasons for this, but one likely possibility is the ink cartridge itself not being clean. A dirty ink cartridge still contains ink, but has a layer of dried-on ink obscuring the print head and causing smudges, streaks, and other printing issues. Before assuming that you are out of ink or that your printer isn't working right, take the necessary steps to clean the printer cartridge to see if this fixes the problem.

Fortunately for you, cleaning a printer cartridge is a job that your printer should be able to do itself. If you suspect that the cartridge is working poorly due to dried-on bits of old ink stuck on it, try the following steps to remove the clog:

  1. Be sure that your printer is properly attached to your computer and that any needed software is already installed.
  2. Turn your computer on and open up the printer menu. You can likely access this from the Windows Start menu. The location may vary depending on the way your machine is configured.
  3. Once you are in the printer menu, find and select the printer that you wish to clean the ink cartridge.
  4. Look through the printer's properties. You should find options for the printer you have selected, including cleaning and maintenance options. Click here once you locate it.
  5. Choose the option for the printer to self-clean the dirty cartridge. After cleaning, do a test print to make sure the printer is working normally again.

If for some reason you are unable to get the printer to self-clean the cartridge, you may be able to manually clean it instead. Remove the cartridge, and then use a cotton swab and a tiny amount of water to clean away clogs from the cartridge contact. Make sure it is dry before replacing the cartridge in the printer.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...

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