How to Clean the Print Head of an HP PhotoSmart C3100

Updated April 17, 2017

As you print off documents or photos on your printer, the ink cartridge print heads have the tendency to become dirty, which may cause unwanted streaks or even faded prints. There are two separate options for cleaning the print heads on your HP PhotoSmart C3100 all-in-one machine. The software included with the PhotoSmart has the option to run a self-cleaning, or you may instead need to manually clean the print heads.

Open the "Start" menu, and click "All Programs" and "HP." Click the "HP Solution Center" link. Navigate to the "Settings" tab at the bottom of the screen.

Click the button labelled "Printer Toolbox," and navigate to the "Services" tab. Click "Clean Printhead" to start the automatic cleaning process. Wait for the test page to automatically print.

Check the test page to see if the text and images are smeared, blurred or faded. Press the power button on the control panel at the left side of the printer if the test page has any problems.

Grip the plastic door at the front of the printer, and pull it down. Locate the black and colour cartridges at the far left side of the printer. Push down the plastic locks holding each cartridge in place. Lift the cartridges out of the ink cartridge carriage.

Wipe off the gold coloured contacts on the bottom side of the black ink cartridge with the cloth. Repeat the process on the colour cartridge.

Wait for the cartridges to completely dry and set them back inside the ink cartridge carriage. Push down the plastic locks and close the front plastic door. Press the power button to turn the printer back on.


Ensure you have at least one sheet of paper in the C3100's paper feed after turning the printer back on, as the machine will automatically perform an alignment and print an alignment test page.

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.