How to Clean a Print Head on an HP 7260 Photosmart Printer

Updated February 21, 2017

The Hewlett-Packard Photosmart 7260 Printer, also known as the HP 7260, is a photo printer that uses two HP inkjet cartridges. Over time, ink can build up on the print head that distributes the ink to your photo paper during printing. As a result, HP has designed the 7260 to clean away this build up via a simple print cartridge cleaning user command in the HP Photosmart Series Toolbox. Whether you have a Windows or a Mac operating system, accessing the toolbox and issuing the cleaning command isn't difficult and only takes a few moments.

Open the HP Photosmart Series Toolbox by right clicking on the printer icon on your Windows task bar and selecting "Open HP Photosmart Series Toolbox" from the menu.

Choose the "Direct Services" tab.

Select the "Clean the Print Cartridges" option that cleans the cartridges and print head.

Print a small test image in colour and grey to confirm that the print head is clean.

Open the HP Inkjet Utility as follows: If you have version 10.1.x of Mac OS X, open the "OS X HD" icon and the "HP Printer Selector; select the HP 7260 and click "Utilities". If you have version 10.2.x of Mac OS X, open "OS X HD" > "Applications" > "Utilities" and then "Print Center," and select "HP 7260" and select "Configure." If you have versions 10.3.x and 10.4.x of Mac OS X, open "OS X HD" > "Applications" > "Utilities," then "Set Up Printer Utility." Select the "HP 7260" and select "Utility".

Select "Clean" (versions 10.1.x to 10.3.x) or "Clean Printheads" (versions 10.3.9 to 10.4.11).

Click "Clean" to start cleaning process.

Re-open the HP Toolbox, if closed, when the cleaning ends and click the "Test" icon to print a test image to confirm that the print head is clean.


If cleaning the cartridges and print head electronically doesn't resolve your printing problems, clean the copper-coloured electrical contacts on the cartridges and inside the carriage, as the problem may stem from miscommunication between the printer and cartridge from dirty contacts. To clean, remove the cartridges from the printer and unplug it. Dampen the tip of a cotton swab or coffee filter with distilled, bottled or filtered water and wipe the contacts gently to remove any debris. Dry the contacts with a swab, or wait five minutes, and then reinstall the cartridges, turn on the printer and try again. If cleaning the contacts doesn't resolve your printing problems, contact HP for assistance.


Never touch the ink nozzles or electrical contacts with your fingers, as doing so could damage these areas and cause printer malfunction.

Things You'll Need

  • Distilled, bottled or filtered water (optional)
  • Cotton swabs or coffee filters (optional)
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About the Author

Based in Southern Pennsylvania, Irene A. Blake has been writing on a wide range of topics for over a decade. Her work has appeared in projects by The National Network for Artist Placement, the-phone-book Limited and GateHouse Media. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University.