by Karen Bates
(last updated June 15, 2015)
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:
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.
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