The printer is one piece of equipment that is the most used in an office setting, and most needed (next to a computer). It gets a lot of attention but is also equally ignored until a notification pops up that there is a paper jam, that it is out of ink, or if the document, photo or special greeting cards printed just does not meet the highest standard. Take the time out to read the manual that comes with a printer but, just in case you can’t find that little booklet, here are some simple tips on how to clean and care for a printer, based on three most common types, whether manually or through the computer’s settings.


• Soft cloth (Do NOT use wipes)/ sponge
• Cotton swab
• Stiff bristle brush (like a small paintbrush)
• Rubbing alcohol and/or ammonia
• Vacuum cleaner/ canned air/blow dryer

Deskjet or inkjet printers

These are the easiest to clean, and a quick clean will keep an inkjet printer like the HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3775 printing for longer and improve quality of print for the Canon PIXMA models (one of the top choices for printing images). The HP brand of printers generally advises cleaning the printer head/ printhead, which is usually the mechanism that strikes the ink ribbon on the paper to write. However, it is located within the actual ink cartridge for an inkjet printer.

Turn off the printer (remove it from its power source) before removing the ink cartridge.

Once the cartridges are removed, put a drop of alcohol on the cotton swab or the paintbrush and gently clean the contacts of the cartridge.

Run a little alcohol over the printhead and printhead assembly which the cartridge sits in, to remove any excess build-up (the alcohol dries quickly). Return the ink cartridge to its original position. Wipe the interior and exterior of the printer with the soft cloth that has been dampened with alcohol.

Ecotank printers

It is not uncommon to hear that the Ecotank printer has a clog. This is caused by irregular use, leaving the printer on when it is not in use, and also from ignoring the low-ink notification. Air gets into the nozzle located on the printhead and dries the ink over a period of time. This blocks the pathways for ink to be evenly distributed. Note that Ecotank printers, like the Epson L4150, save on ink and have mobile printing capabilities. If you don’t plan to use it on a daily basis, this would not be the best printeroption for you.

Open the top of the printer (while it is on) and, as the printer head moves to the middle, unplug the wire so that the printer head can be moved from left to right easily.

Fold the soft cloth or cut a piece of it the width of
the printer head.

Using an equal mixture of ammonia and warm water, damp the soft cloth and then lay it under the printer head.

Move the printer head from left to right so that the underside where the nozzle is can get cleaned. When that is complete, use the blow dryer on ‘low’ to dry the area.

Use alcohol on a soft cloth to wipe the scanner section.

Laser printers

The oldest of the three types utilize toner cartridges which are larger than the ink cartridges used in deskjet printers. These are the most delicate and cleaning the interior requires a lot of disassembly.

It is best to turn off a laser printer for at least one hour before cleaning. Remove the detachable parts, including the toner (ink) cartridge and cylinder.

Wipe with the dampened soft cloth. The paper feed roll can also be removed and washed with warm water and soap.

Using canned air or vacuum cleaner and paintbrush, clean hard-toreach/ unremovable parts.

Use alcohol to moisten the tip of a cotton swab and use it to wipe the corona wire (which draws the toner off the drum and on to the paper). It should be cleaned each time the toner cartridge is replaced.

Secure the parts and allow it to rest for another 30 minutes before start up.


Using an Apple (MAC) computer, check for ‘Printers and Scanners’ in ‘System Preferences’ and select ‘Devices and Printers’ in ‘Control Panel’ for Windows computers to run a print head cleaning or print nozzle check every now and again, and after manual cleaning.

All printers are courtesy of Royale Computers and Accessories, located at 31 Pavilion Mall, 13C Constant Spring Rd, Kingston. Tel: 906-1067, 906-1068, and 754-5048 .

Some tips sourced online at and

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