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How To Clean Printer Heads Manually [Proper Cleaning Tips]

A printer needs cleaning and caring just as your other electronics to let it run longer. Keeping the printer smoothly operating is possible if you keep the printer head clean. Continuous printing results in the collection of dust and clogging of ink in the printer head. The consequence is spotty and streaky prints, spoiling the look of your document or image.

To enable you to keep up the standard of printing, you need to know the method of cleaning the printer head. Otherwise, you may have to replace the printer head and the cartridge more often than you can afford. To avoid such undue hassle and to keep up the professional standard of printing your document, let us see how to clean printer heads.

What Is A Printer Head?

The printer head is an important part of a computer. It facilitates the computer to place ink and write on the printing paper. It happens with the firing of ink droplets through printer nozzles. The nozzles directly connect to the ink source of the computer.

How to Clean Printer Heads Manually


The printer heads are an essential part of inkjet and dot matrix printers. In computer printers, the head lies in the cartridge or casing in laser or ink in inkjet printers. On receiving a command from the computer, the printer heads the printing requirements in terms of intensity, ink for printing and performs its task.

Types Of Printer Heads

Depending on the HP printer-inkjet or laser, print heads are part of a cartridge or built-in printer.

Type 1: Print Heads Built in the Cartridge

In the inbuilt, integrated type, the print head or the nozzle plate is inside the cartridge. If you have to replace a cartridge for printing irregularity, you are replacing the print head inside the cartridge. Replacements are available in black ink and in multiple colors.

How to Clean Printer Heads Manually


Type 2: Print Heads Built-in the Printer

This type has individual cartridges or casing with ink to do the printing. The print heads are inside the printer and cartridges are in the print heads. The print head inbuilt in the printer is longer lasting but once damaged it will cost you high.

When to Clean A Printer Head Automatically?

Sometimes, you may find blotches and streaks in your printout. You may also find an uneven distribution of colors. This is because the cartridges or the ink has dried out and blocked the print head. This causes no smooth flow of ink showing the need of cleaning the print head. Let us how we can clean the HP printer heads automatically to resume the normal functioning of the printer.

How To Check the Nozzle?

Before cleaning the print head, it is necessary to check the nozzle. The ways to check are from the (i) control panel of the printer or (ii) the utility settings of the computer.

How to Check the Nozzle?

(i) The process through the control panel of the printer is first to identify the screen for maintenance from the setup page. Check for paper in the paper tray to allow printing. Select Print head Nozzle Check button. If the printout has a complete CYMY chart, it means no need to clean. If there are blotches and gaps of color, your print head needs cleaning.

(ii) Checking the nozzle through the utility settings, requires you to first, go to the task menu, then settings or system preferences. After opening the scanner and printer option, click printer utility by selecting a printer. If the printout shows blotches, clean the print head.

Cleaning The Print Head Automatically

It is best to follow the guidelines for unclogging Epson printer heads and on how to clean the printer head. However, all modern printers have the same methods of cleaning, so it should not be difficult.

how to automatically clean canon printer heads


Checking the nozzle is unnecessary if the indicator for out of ink is flashing, which means you have to refill the ink or cartridge. Otherwise, if cleaning is necessary, push down the printer ink button for 3 seconds to clean the print head. Let the printer remain in position while cleaning. The stoppage of the flashing light means that the head is clean. Repeat this action, if the light continues to flash. You can now check the nozzle. To settle the ink, let the printer sit overnight.

How To Clean The Print Head Manually?

To clean the built-in inkjet printer heads manually you will need a paper towel or lint-free cotton cloth and water.

Unplug all electrical connections to the printer. Open and locate the cartridge in the printer. Remove the cartridge with the cartridge tray that holds the cartridge. The HP models having a tray, there is no need to worry about cleaning the tray.

How to Clean Printer Heads Manually

Dampen the cloth lightly and brush it over electrical areas, print head, and around the edges. The dried ink will come out as debris and cling to the cloth. Rinse the cloth and wipe clean several times. While cleaning makes sure the nozzle is facing downward in the bowl. Avoid touching the nozzle as it may undergo damage.

You also remove the print head and clean it by soaking it in a bowl of water until the ink dissolves. With a damp cloth wipe off all ink. Clean dry with a dry cloth. After your Canon printer’s print heads are clean, insert the printer back to its position. Perform a nozzle test by printing.

Cleaning The Built-in Print Head Inside Ink Cartridges

If you have an integrated or built-in print head, the suggestion is to use the warm water towel method. You will need a towel soaked in warm water and a dry towel.

Use the warm water to smudge the cartridge containing the print head and facing down to the wet towel. The dried ink will automatically loosen and come. Let it stay for 2 to 3 minutes. Without wiping, use a dry towel to wick out the ink and moisture.

Reinstall the print head inbuilt in the cartridge in the printer. Try printing. If the printing is perfect, you are done. Otherwise, you have to replace it with a new cartridge.

Final Verdict

This guide will give you comprehensive know-how on how to clean printer heads in inkjet printers. Checking the nozzle when the printer is idle for some time is a way to know if the printer head needs leaning. Separate procedures apply for individual and built-in cartridges. Although the automated method requires some steps in the computer to let go of cleaning, manual cleaning of a printer is quite easy.

Instead of buying a new printer head showing minor blotches in printing, cleaning is a better choice as it will save you from buying, as printer heads are quite expensive. All you need is time and patience. As the inks used are soluble in water before printing to permanency, you do not need any special solvent to wipe clean manually. Printers with an automatic cleaning system may be a good idea for you if you do not want to dismantle and worry about putting back your printer.

Printing is always enjoyable with a clean printer head.

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