The printheads in your printer are in charge of applying ink to the paper. If these tiny devices become clogged with dried ink or pieces of paper, you may notice streaks or uneven ink dispersion in your printed products. While unclogging a clogged printhead may take some time and effort, it just requires perseverance and frequent maintenance.

1) Regular Use

The best way to keep the printheads clean and in good condition is to use the printer on a regular basis. This keeps the ink flowing properly and keeps it from drying on the head surfaces. Use your printer at least once a week, if not more frequently, to keep the printheads wet with new ink. The longer the heads sit idle, the more likely it is that the ink remaining on them may dry and produce a clog.

2) Regular Cleaning

Even if you use your printer frequently, a few dried-up ink droplets may remain on the printerheads or the tubing that leads from the ink cartridges. Use your printer’s cleaning cycle at least once a month to drain off any residual ink in the heads. Use canned air to blow away any dust or paper that may have become caught inside the printer or printheads when doing your monthly printhead cleaning.

3) Storage

If you won’t be using your printer for a long, remove the ink cartridges and wrap them to keep them fresh. This also prevents ink from seeping into the printhead tubes and clogging them as it dries. Depending on your printer, you may be able to remove the printheads for cleaning and storage. Long-term printer storage instructions can be found on the manufacturer’s website or in the printer’s manual.

4) Turn Printer Off

When you turn on your printer, it heats the ink and moves the printheads to ready them for use. If you do not turn off the printer at the device so that the carriage can return to its “home” position, the ink and printheads may dry out and clog. Never use a surge protector or power strip to turn off the printer. Instead, use the printer’s power button to guarantee a proper shutdown that avoids damage or drying of the printheads and ink.

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