Home Tips & Tricks How to Refresh the Print Heads in Cartridges That Are Not Working

How to Refresh the Print Heads in Cartridges That Are Not Working


A functional inkjet printer can be as instrumental to running a business as the PC to which it’s connected. But print heads, which draw ink from cartridge reservoirs and shoot droplets of it at the paper, can become clogged over time because unused ink dries and accumulates in them during periods of inactivity. When you run your printer’s print head cleaning utility, the unit attempts to clear away the clogs by flushing the heads with fresh ink. But when this method has been rendered useless by excessive buildup, it doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the towel. With a few common supplies, you can have your business printer working like it did after you first took it out of its box.

Cartridge-Mounted Print Heads

1. Cover your work area with newspaper, wax paper or plastic to prevent ink stains. Put on latex, rubber or plastic gloves for the same reason.

2. Turn off your printer and wait for the inkjet carriage assembly to return to its docked position on the left. Unplug the power cord.

3. Fold a paper towel in half, then fold it in half again. Set it down and repeat with another paper towel, only this time folding it two more times.

4. Moisten the second paper towel with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol and open two of its folds so it’s the same size as the first folded paper towel. Set the dampened paper towel on top of the dry one.

5. Remove an ink cartridge from the printer and locate its print head, which looks like a rectangular piece of metal.

6. Grasp the cartridge by its sides with its print head facing down. Touch the print head to the paper towel and gently pull the cartridge toward you. Repeat five times, or until all the visible ink residue on the head has been wiped away. Note: Ink will be released from the cartridge each time you wipe, even after the head is clean.