A clogged Canon printhead can produce disappointing results on your printed pages. The ink can be smeared, the pages could get dirty from ink being deposited in the non-printed areas of the page, and segments of the text characters can be light or missing altogether. But before you throw out the printer or spend money replacing the printhead, try some simple steps for cleaning the printhead.
Navigate to the printer's Properties menu, then select the "Maintenance" tab. Click the "Cleaning" icon and follow the instructions to clean the appropriate Ink Group. This step might need to be executed several times before improvement will be seen.
Click the "Deep Cleaning" icon if "Cleaning" doesn't correct the problem. Again, select the appropriate Ink Group and follow the instructions given to perform the deep cleaning operation. As with "Cleaning", the "Deep Cleaning" might need to be executed several times before improvement will be seen. If "Cleaning" and "Deep Cleaning" don't satisfactorily clear the printhead, remove the printhead and clean it manually, per the following steps. (You may need to consult the operator's manual for your specific Canon model printer. The steps that follow are general for Canon, but can vary slightly based on exact model.)
Lift the printer cover to move the print carriage to the centre position.
Press the tab on each cartridge and then lift to remove the cartridge.
Lift the lock to release the printhead, then lift the printhead out of the cradle.
Rinse the printhead with hot water. Gently remove any build-up of ink and paper residue that is stuck to the bottom of the head and clogging the holes and slits. Rinse until the water runs clean.
Remove the two screws from the ceramic plate on the bottom of the printhead.
Ease the ceramic plate away from the body of the printhead with gentle pressure. Run hot water behind the plate. Gently remove any build-up behind the plate. Rinse until the water runs clean.
Reassemble the printhead and then reinsert it into its cradle.
Lower the locking lever until it snaps into place, then reinstall the ink cartridges.
Close the printer cover, then perform any alignment adjustments recommended in the printer's operator manual.
If hot water is not enough to remove the build-up of ink and paper residue, use isopropyl alcohol or Windex to soak the printhead and soften the clog.