How to clean a toner cartridge drum

Written by anthony markesino Google
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Laser printers are slightly different then ink jet printers in that they use a separate drum device to facilitate printing. If this drum becomes soiled with ink from bleeding, then your documents will start to show signs of streaking. Streaking typically involves bands of excess ink across your document, often making it illegible. Every time the ribbons are replaced or refilled, special care should be taken to clean the drums as well.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver (3/16 inch)
  • Paper towels
  • Acetone or rubbing alcohol
  • Disposable plastic gloves (optional)

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  1. 1

    Open the front casing of your laser printer. Although there are many different models of laser printers, most printers can be opened by pulling up on the front lid. Check your owner's manual if in doubt.

  2. 2

    Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the screws holding the drum in place. Some printers will have three screws and a vertical drum, while others will have two screws and a long horizontal drum. Screws will be located at either end of the drum. Pull the internal release latch on the right hand side of the drum. For vertical drums, you will have to depress a release switch located behind the drum.

  3. 3

    Remove the drum from the printer, placing it on a paper towel. Moisten more paper towels with your acetone and thoroughly wipe down the drum. There will probably be quite a bit of built-up ink on the drum; this may take several attempts to get it fully clean. Allow the drum to dry completely.

  4. 4

    Return the drum to the printer. Make sure to hold it gently in place while locking down the release switch or lever. After it is locked in place, you may put the screws back into place and close the printer.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can see the stain on the drum, it may be possible to clean it without removing the drum. Use a clean paper towel that is slightly damp with acetone to wipe at the ink spot. Be careful not to press too hard or your towel may disintegrate, getting debris into the printer itself.
  • Special care must be taken when cleaning the laser drum because this is a charged surface that the laser reflects on. Ink is then attracted to the drum like a printing press. If you mishandle the drum, wiper or laser, you can permanently damage the printer. If you run into any problems such as damaging the wiper, you should just buy a new toner cartridge.

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