Five Ways to Clean a Printhead

Cleaning a printhead is a necessary process for anyone in business. Without a clean printhead, your images will end up in poor quality and your printing process will be slower. If you go too long without cleaning, you could also end up with an ink blockage inside your printer. Fortunately, there are several ways to clean a printhead that don’t require outside service or expensive specialized equipment.

Use the Built-in Cleaning Program

Every printer that interfaces with a modern operating system can make use of the operating system’s diagnostic function. Some printers have a built-in cleaning program that only require you to follow a few simple instructions to auto-clean your printhead. Often, you’ll have to choose which ink reservoir you want cleaned, but this method is easy to do and it works. By far, this is the best way to clean a printhead as other processes can use harsh chemical mixtures, too much pressure or end up causing you to improperly remove and re-install your printhead.


Typically, a vacuum can tend to the issue of removing excess ink from a printhead. However, keep in mind this can be an easy way to cause damage to the inside of your printer. Use caution when removing the head from your printer and follow your instruction manual. Determine if your printer has a “curtains regulator”, if so use this regulator, otherwise the level of suction may be too great.

You might also find that using something to keep some space between the vacuum hose and your printhead will partially diffuse the suction, so you’re less likely to cause damage to the head itself. As a precaution, only use the vacuum force for a few seconds at a time.

Screw Driver

In cases where there’s large amounts of ink stuck on the printer head, you may want to employ a screw driver. What’s important to realize here is that the screwdriver isn’t a chisel, nor is the intention to chisel away the ink as if you’re carving a statue.

In order to remove the excess ink, you want to pull the screwdriver across the head instead of pushing it. A main advantage to using a screwdriver is that it gives the ability to get into crevices carefully. You can also address several areas at once and when you notice that you’re ink is black again, this signals the area is clear and that your printhead is good to go again.


Soaking your printhead is a way to very gently remove any dirt and stuck on bits of ink that may be clinging to the head. You can start off by placing your printhead in a bowl of warm water overnight, then wiping off the heads in the morning. If this does not work, you can use something stronger, such as isopropyl rubbing alcohol.


Dabbing is a faster approach due to its directness, but it’s also gentler than many of the other manual methods. To start, take some rubbing alcohol or cologne and a cotton swab, then run this over the areas with build-up. You can usually tell how well the technique is working by the thickness of what you pull off.

                Have more questions, or looking to replace a printhead? Contact Avon Security Products today!

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