How to Clean a Clogged Ink Cartridge
With ink cartridges being so expensive it can be a major disappointment to start up your only to realize that your ink cartridge has dried up or clogged. If you don’t know whether or not that’s the case you should find that the paper you print looks similar to when your ink is finished. If the cartridge is really blocked it might not print at all.
Ink cartridges do not typically clog or dry if the machine is used regularly. Usually, it happens if you have not printed for a few months or the cartridge has been taken out of the machine and been exposed to air.
If the printed pages don’t print as they should and you don’t suspect the ink is finished, you may have a clogged ink cartridge.
Instructions on how to clean an ink cartridge:
First, you want to remove the cartridge from your machine. This is usually a simple task but if you don’t know how or are uncertain, refer to your owner’s manual for instructions. Should you have misplaced the manual you can Google your printer make and model to find the owner’s manual online.
From here on it is a good idea to work on an old towel or some newspapers to prevent staining your work surface. The dried ink will still stain.
What you are aiming to do now, is to see where the ink should come out of the cartridge. This is called the print head. Some machines have the print head separate from the cartridges. If you are uncertain, consult your owner’s manual. With a fine cloth, that you don’t mind getting ink stained, wipe off any dried ink.
If your cartridge has metal strips, try not to get them wet. You can use moist cotton swobs. If you do not have cotton wool at home, use a slightly damp cloth to wipe the head again to clean the last of the dried ink.
Once you have dried everything and cleaned any fibers the cloth or cotton could have left behind, re-insert the cartridge and do a test print. The first couple of lines could still be distorted but the bottom of the page and the second page should be 100%.
If the process did not solve the problem, you can run the print head cleaner utility software. You should have received it with your machine.
Another option is to pour water into a plate just deep enough that the printer head will be covered. A couple of millimeters will do. You can mix pure alcohol to a 50/50 ratio with the water. Normal water can also work if you do not have alcohol at hand. The water does not have to boil, but the hotter the better. If your cartridge has metal, use cotton swobs again to avoid getting the metal wet. Be patient, this can take quite some time. For those cartridges that do not have metal, place the cartridge head in the water for a while. A good start is to leave it until the water has cooled down. Take it out and dab it dry on a cloth. Do a test print again. You can leave the cartridge head in the water overnight too.