Clean and use an inkjet printer

October 2016

Manual intervention is required to clean and use an inkjet printer when clogged print heads do not get cleaned through the automatic print head cleaning process. Remove the ink cartridge from the printer and apply alcohol in the ink cartridge to clean blocked print heads. A syringe can also be used to push alcohol into the ink cartridge. Allow the alcohol to run for some time before putting the cartridge back into the printer .When cleaning the cartridge, care should be taken not to damage the hardware. It is better to clean and use an inkjet printer than to buy a new cartridge.

Inkjet printers have the major disadvantage of often having clogged print head cartridges that can be very annoying in the long run. Though advanced ink jets may have an automatic print head cleaning process, it might not work every time. The problem could be caused by layer of thick ink blocking the holes of the printer head.

There are some useful ways to get the printer's head clean without halving to buy another cartridge.

Solution 1

Once you remove the ink cartridge from the printer, you can use Isopropyl Alcohol, and put at maximum of 10 drops in the ink cartridge. You will find a hole there, in which the ink usually runs from the ink cartridge to the head of the printer. When done, you can put the cartridge back in the printer and run the auto cleaning process from the printer's option in order to clean the blocked holes of the cartridge. Run print tests first and once you are satisfied with the results, you can start using the printer normally.

If you want to go further:
  • Remove the tank.
  • Connect a hose directly on the inlet ink.
  • Locate the reservoir sensor and press it to make it appear as if a cartridge is available.
  • Close the cover of the print head and clean the head by injecting air (under pressure) through the pipe.
  • Replace the tank and do a test print.
  • Repeat the procedure several times if the nozzles are clogged.

Solution 2

Using a syringe and some alcohol to unblock the holes can also be very effective.
  • Step 1: Remove the cartridge from the computer.
  • Step 2: With the syringe, take in some alcohol and put in some drops in the tiny hole where the ink runs from the ink cartridge to the head of the printer.
  • Step 3: When done, put the cartridge (only where the tiny holes are found) in some warm water. If some ink runs in the water, it means that the holes have been unblocked.
  • Step 4: Let the alcohol act for 20 minutes on the ink before putting the cartridge back in the printer.
  • Step 5: Run some test prints before using the printer normally.

Note: It is recommended you to do an automatic head cleaning each time before any printing task. This will reduce the risk of having the print heads blocked by dried ink.

Related :

This document entitled « Clean and use an inkjet printer » from CCM ( is made available under the Creative Commons license. You can copy, modify copies of this page, under the conditions stipulated by the license, as this note appears clearly.