How to Clean Printer Heads

If you own a printer, then you must learn how to clean printer heads.  Although all the printer components need proper maintenance, some are more paramount than others. An example of such is the printer’s print heads. These parts require special attention as they can easily get dirty and clogged with ink or toner particles over time. If this happens, it would affect their printing quality and may even cause damage to the entire machine if not taken care of in time.

They need regular cleaning so that there won’t be any blockages which could lead to poor prints. Unfortunately, it’s not easy for anyone to clean their printer’s print heads. This is true because one needs proper guidance from informed experts. 

We are among the most trusted experts, and we know what it takes to clean your printer’s print heads perfectly. Do you also wish to know how? Well, we’ve explained in detail here below.

How to Clean Printer Heads Properly


  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Protective gloves
  • Water
  • A bowl or pie tin

Shutdown and Unplug Your Printer

This goes without say. It’s unsafe to attempt cleaning your printer while it’s still connected to the electricity and still running. Experts discourage doing this because:

  • You can damage your printer!
  • You can sustain injuries from electric shock!

To avoid all these together, we recommend that you SHUT DOWN and DISCONNECT the printer before you can proceed any further.

Once you do this, allow it enough time to cool down (some parts can be too hot for you to handle.

Refer from Your User Guide Manual to See Where the Print Heads are Located

The first thing you should look at when finding out where your printer’s printhead is located is in your user guide manual. If your model does have an instruction book, make sure that you refer to it thoroughly. The location of the print head on different models varies, but usually, it’ll be somewhere around the top part of the printer.

Note: If you lost your users guide manual, then you can contact support or try checking for a guide from their official website

# Wear Protective Gloves

Before you start handling any part of your printer, make sure you wear protective gloves. They will help to protect your hands from toners, dust, and debris.

# Remove the Cartridges

Once you’ve done all the above, the next thing is removing all the cartridges so that you can access the printer’s print head. 

Removing cartridges isn’t anything hard. You begin by opening the printer’s outer casing. Once you do this, you will see where the print heads are. 

Again if you can’t figure out how to handle this process, consult with your user guide manual or contact your printer’s manufacturer customer desk for help.

# Remove the Print Heads

Once you’re able to remove the cartridge, you must now take off the printheads. To do this, pull them out using a pair of tweezers or pliers. Make sure that you don’t touch the metal frame of the printer. Doing this might scratch it.

# Wash Them with Isopropyl Alcohol

After taking off the printheads, take your isopropyl alcohol and pour it into a bowl. Now add water in a 1:1 ratio to create a mixture of isopropyl and water. 

The reason behind mixing Isopropyl alcohol with water in 50:50 ratios is to reduce the abrasive effect of concentrated alcohol. 

# Place Your Printer Print Heads in The Mixture You Created Above

Now place your printer’s print heads into the solution you created earlier. Make sure that the print heads aren’t fully submerged – you should dip them to a depth of at least 1 cm. 

Note: If your print heads are on the cartridges, you will want to dip the cartridge in the solution partially. 

# Leave the Print Heads/ Cartridges Dipped in the Solution for at Least 2 Minutes

Make sure that you leave the print heads/cartridge immersed in the solution for at least two minutes. This step helps to loosen up the ink residue stuck onto the print heads. That way, all the dirt will come out easily.

# Dab the Print Heads on a Paper Towel

To get rid of excessive moisture and inks, dap the print heads on a paper towel. Ensure that you dry the print heads entirely before you can proceed any further. 

Note: You should not attempt to re-fix the print heads on your printer while they are wet. This can cause your machine to short circuit and get damaged.

# Place The Print Heads Back and Test Them

Place the print heads back inside the printer after drying them thoroughly. Then test whether the print quality has improved. If yes, continue cleaning the other parts of the printer. 

# Check Whether There’s Improvement

If the print quality hasn’t improved even after following these instructions, there may be something wrong with the clean ink heads hp printer themselves. In such cases, you need to replace the print heads.

Tips to Maintain Your Printer’s Print Head

Cleaning Printer Heads Properly

If you want to minimize the need to clean your printer’s print heads regularly, then you can do the following:

Keep Printing Regularly 

Print heads get damaged when they stay unused for quite a while. And to keep them in good working conditions, we advise you to ensure you print a page or two per week. That way, they will be active, and the chances of getting damaged will be minimized drastically.

Shut off Your Printer When Not in Use

If you leave the printer running even when you are not using it, you will risk some damage. According to experts’ points of view, there are chances that the printer heads could get clogged when the printer runs while not printing.

This is because the ink warm in the cartridge and starts bleeding through the print heads. And since there is nothing to be printed, it ends up clogging the hp printer heads.

Clean As Soon As You Notice Poor Prints

When your printer starts giving out poor-quality prints, it’s usually an indication that something is wrong with print heads. For that reason, you should inspect them whenever the print quality goes down. 

If you do so, you will most likely find out that they are dirty and needs cleaning. If that’s the case, follow the entire procedure explained above to get the dirty off.

Finally, when storing your printer, ensure you remove all the cartridges one by one. When removing, avoid touching the unclogging Epson printer heads with dirty or oily hands – doing so can magnify the risks of clogging.

FAQs on How to Clean Printer Heads

Q: How Often Does One Have to Clean Their Printer Head?

A: It depends on what kind of printing material you use. For example, laser printers require less frequent maintenance than dot-matrix printers. However, both types of printers require regular cleaning.

Q: Why Do I Need to Clean My Printer’s Print Heads?

A: Cleaning the inkjet printer heads ensures that no dust particles remain between the nozzle plate and the surface of the drum. These particles could clog the nozzles, which would result in poor prints. Also, if the print heads become dirty over time, it affects the printer’s performance as well.

Q: What Type of Cleaner Should I Use to Clean My Printer’s Head?

A: Use only non-detergent cleaners like isopropyl alcohol or acetone. Detergents tend to dissolve the plastic components of the print heads. They also contain solvents that might damage the rubber gaskets used by some models.

Q: Can I Reuse the Same Bottle of Solvent Multiple Times?

A: Yes! But make sure that you don’t store the bottles near heat sources because this can affect their effectiveness.

Q: Will I Need Too Much Cleaning Solvent?

A: No! Using just enough solvent is sufficient to remove most of the contaminants from the canon printer print heads. So, never go overboard when trying to clean your printer’s print heads.


Understanding how to clean printer heads properly doesn’t take long, but it will require patience and practice. Follow the above steps carefully so that you won’t end up damaging your printer.

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