Buy a Printhead or Printhead Cleaner for your Printer

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Find a printhead cleaner for your printer in three steps
1. Click your printer brand below
2. Select your printer model in our search
3. Choose Cleaning Cartridge in the product type filter

Please not that it is not possible to buy these products for all printer models!

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This article is part of the Printer and Printing Troubleshooting Guide.

You may need to clean the printhead if the ink cartridge has been stored, left empty or not been used for a long period of time. This can make the nozzles becomes clogged with dried ink residue hindering the flow of new ink from the ink tank. 

To unclog the printhead you need to clean it - either by using the maintenance function in your printer software or by cleaning the nozzles with a special cleaning cartridge suitable for your printer model.

Clogged printhead and printhead cleaner FAQ:
1. How to know if a printhead is clogged?
2. Clean the printhead by using the printers cleaning program
3. Clean the printhead by using a Cleaning Cartridge
 

How to know if a printhead is clogged?

A printhead is probably clogged if you have problems with white horizontal lines going through the printed text or graphic. Other indications might be that you need to perform cleaning cycles more often than usual, if you see that no ink seems to be coming out while printing or if the nozzle's check pattern is broken. The nozzles in the printhead might clog if:

  • You have recently replaced a ink cartridge that has been empty for a long time and the new ink cartridge does not seem to be working.
     
  • You have changed to a new ink cartridge that has been stored for a long time and possible stored lying on the side. While switching to this new cartridge, no ink seems to be flowing.
     
  • You still have ink in the cartridges ink tank but you have not been printing for a long time

Clean the printhead by using the printers cleaning program

You can try to clean the printhead by using the cleaning program that most modern printers have. The cleaning program performs a print head cleaning and several nozzle checks. The nozzle print check should show a correct nozzle printing pattern with lines aligned, no missing lines and no white horizontal color streaks.

Some printers also have a deep cleaning program that does what it says i.e. goes deeper than what the normal cleaning program does. Please note that the deep cleaning program should not be performed more than three times in a row in a short period of time as this might otherwise damage your printer.

While performing the cleaning program, ink will be taken from the ink tank. The amount of ink used in this process depends on how many times you run the cleaning program. You can lower the cost of running the printers cleaning program by installing a cleaning cartridge (cleaning cartridges for HP, Epson and Canon).

Follow the instructions for Windows and Mac OS X below, for other operating systems please consult your printers manual.

Note: Don't restart or power off the printer while the cleaning program is running!

Windows XP or Vista
1. Go the control panel and select Printers
2. Choose the applicable printer, right click and choose properties.
3. Click on the tab or button that says “maintenance”, “cleaning” or similar.
4. Select which nozzles to clean (only applicable for some printers)
4. Run the program, do NOT perform any other operations until the cleaning process has ended.
5. Print a test page, repeat the process 2-3 times if no visible results are shown.

Mac OS X
1. Select system preferences and then "Open Print  & Fax"
2. Select the applicable printer and click "Open Print Queue.." or "Print queue..."
3. Click the utility icon, select your printer and choose maintenance. 
4. Select cleaning from the pop-up menu and choose the ink tank that you want to clean and click Ok.
4. Run the program, do NOT perform any other operations until the cleaning process has ended.
5. Print a test page, repeat the process 2-3 times if no visible results are shown.

If above cleaning process fails, you might need to buy a cleaning cartridge.

Clean the printhead by using a Cleaning Cartridge

Cleaning cartridges contain a fluid that will break down the dried ink clogging the printhead. They are installed the same way as ink cartridges are installed. Follow the instructions on usage and handling of the product carefully.

Find a printhead cleaner for your printer in three steps
1. Click your printer brand: HP - Epson - Canon
2. Select your printer model in our search
3. Choose Cleaning Cartridge in the product type filter

Please not that it is not possible to buy these products for all printer models!

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