How to Clean HP Officejet Printhead

Updated April 17, 2017

During the course of your Officejet printer's normal life cycle, the print heads on the ink cartridges may become dusty from disuse or smudged from improper handling. Dirty print heads result in a loss of print quality on your documents, such as faded colours or streaks. You can resolve such issues by cleaning the print head contacts located inside the Officejet printer's ink carriage.

Press and hold the circular power button on the top of the HP Officejet until the printer shuts off. Grip the bottom edge of the lid near the top of the printer.

Lift the lid directly upward until the top half of the printer locks in place and the inkjet carriage automatically slides over from the left side. With some Officejet models, you must instead hold the "OK" button for five seconds to bring the ink carriage into view.

Unplug the power cable connecting the printer to the electrical socket. Pull up the blue print head latch on the top of the ink carriage.

Pull both the colour and black ink cartridges out of the plastic ink carriage. Grip the left and right ends of the cartridge and gently wipe the print head contact on the front of the colour ink cartridge with a soft cloth. Repeat the process with the black ink cartridge.

Set the ink cartridges aside. Wipe the electrical print head contacts inside the ink carriage with a soft cloth. Push both cartridges back into their respective sections of the ink carriage and close the blue print head latch.

Close the Officejet's top lid and plug in the power cable. Press the power button and wait for the Officejet alignment page to automatically print.


Do not wipe the nozzles on the bottom edge of the ink cartridges or touch the nozzles directly with your skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
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About the Author

Ty Arthur has been writing technical and entertainment-related articles for a variety of online sources since 2008. His articles have appeared on and many other websites. Arthur attended the Great Falls College of Technology and studied both computer science and creative writing.