How to Clean Clogged Inkjet Nozzles

Written by bonnie conrad
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How to Clean Clogged Inkjet Nozzles
Cleaning your cartridges can make them last longer (ink cartridges image by itsallgood from

Anyone who has ever purchased replacement cartridges for an inkjet printer knows how expensive those cartridges can be. That is why it is important for printer owners to extend the lives of their cartridges as much as possible. Cleaning the inkjet nozzles on a regular basis is one of the best things printer owners can do to make sure each cartridge lasts as long as possible.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Inkjet cartridges
  • Paper
  • Cotton swabs
  • Warm water

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    Programmatic Cleaning

  1. 1

    Log on to your computer and look for a printer icon in the system tray. Right-click on the icon and choose "clean" from the menu. If there is no printer icon on the system tray, click on the "Start" button, choose "All Program" and look for your printer manufacturer (e.g., HP, Canon). Then search for a program called "cleaning utility" or "maintenance."

  2. 2

    Click the "Clean" button once the program comes up. Insert a piece of paper into the printer when prompted. The program will produce an output page with a number of lines and shapes, with each line numbered. Choose the number with the highest print quality and continue.

  3. 3

    Repeat the cleaning process a second time and again select the lines with the best print quality. The program uses this information to align the print heads properly and produce the highest possible quality when printing.

    Manual Cleaning

  1. 1

    Open the top cover of the printer and wait for the print cartridges to move to the centre. Never move the print cartridges by hand.

  2. 2

    Remove the print cartridges by tilting them forward and gently pulling them free of the printer. Turn the cartridges over so that the metal contacts are facing up.

  3. 3

    Dip a cotton swab in some warm water and carefully clean the entire bottom surface of the print cartridge. Print cartridges can accumulate paper dust and ink residue over time, and this interferes with the contact between the cartridge and the printer.

  4. 4

    Continue swabbing the print cartridge until all ink residue and paper dust has been removed. Allow the cartridge to dry completely before placing it back in the printer.

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