How to Clean Printer Nozzles?

So you have a printer, and you’ve noticed that your prints aren’t looking as good as they once used to…

You’ve checked different print settings, upgraded the firmware, but nothing has helped. You’ve also tried running some cleaning cycles on the printer, but again, nothing seems to work. Your print jobs are still coming out fuzzy and of low quality.

Don’t worry though — it’s probably not your printer’s fault! The chances are that your nozzles need cleaning.

Signs of a Clogged Printer Nozzle

Inkjet printers work by squirting tiny dots of ink onto a page. Particles can build up inside the nozzle, affecting quality and increasing the chances of clogging. You can solve this problem with a few simple steps.

But first, why do you need to clean a printer nozzle? You may need to clean the printer nozzle for two reasons:

●       regular maintenance or,

●       Poor quality of prints

Usually, a printer with poor quality prints will exhibit the following signs:

●       Low-quality prints than usual, with streaks and fading

●       Blank page printing

●       Some color missing in your prints

●       Broken lines/grid patterns on your prints

●       Trace marks

●       Smear marks

Please note that printer nozzle cleaning is time-consuming, so only do it when needed.

You have two options to clean your printer nozzles. The first and quick option is cleaning the nozzle from your computer. And the second option is manual cleaning of the printer nozzle. Please note, manual cleaning takes a lot of time and should be done without hurrying.

In some instances, a printer may produce poor-quality prints. Not because it is dirty but because it could be having problems with its settings. So before you roll your sleeves and start cleaning it is good to run a printer nozzle test or check printer nozzle status.

How to Do Printer Nozzle Check

You can check your printer nozzle status in two ways. The first option is from the printer control panel machine and the second option is from the computer utility settings.

A.   Checking Printer Nozzle from The Control Panel

Follow these steps to test your printer nozzle from the control panel

  • Locate the printer maintenance screen. Click the printer home button then the printer set-up.
  •  Load your printing paper on the printer tray and click on the printer head nozzle check.
  • Your printer will print a CYMK color chart with lines. If you notice a broken or blotch line, your printer needs cleaning.

B.     Checking Printer Nozzle from Computer Utility Setting

To check your printer nozzle status, via your computer utility setting, follow these steps

●       Click the printer menu, system preference, and then printer utility

●       Open printers and scanners, click on the printer, and open the printer utility

●       Select and click nozzle check to get your printout. If you notice blurry prints and broken print lines, you need to clean your printer nozzle

Once you have done the necessary tests and settings on the inkjet printer and everything is okay you can proceed to the next phase…

How to Clean Printer Nozzles- 3 Useful Tips

You have done the test and still, the print quality is fuzzy and low quality, then it’s time to clean the nozzles.

You can do the cleaning easily with these simple steps:

  1. Check your Printer Manual for Proper Cleaning Method

First thing first.  Check the manufacturer’s manual for proper and effective cleaning for a printer.

Each printer is different and should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Ensure you check the correct way to clean your printer nozzles.

Don’t worry if you can’t trace it. You can get one from the printer manufacturers’ website.

  1. Clean your Printer Nozzles Automatically

Your printer self-clean by flushing the nozzles with air to clean the clogs and dirt.

Please follow the steps below if you use Windows to operate the printer.

●       Click the start menu and choose the control panel

●       Choose devices and printers to select your specific printer model

●       Select properties from the drop-down menu and click the maintenance tab

●       You can now see printer tools and select clean ink cartridges or clean heads

●       Follow your printer prompts until the cleaning process is over

●       Print a sample to see if there is any improvement

For Mac users;

●       On the top left corner, open the Apple menu

●       Select system preferences from the drop-down menu

●       You can now see printers and scanners. Click on your model

●       On the options and supplies, select the utility tab and select the deep cleaning option

●       Allow your printer to complete cleaning and print a test sample

The air disintegrates the dry ink and pushes it out to unclog the cartridge inside. Sometimes you might need to repeat the process several times to resolve the issue.

3. Clean your Printer Manually

You will need isopropyl alcohol, protective gloves, paper towels, distilled water, and a bowl to clean your printer.

●       Switch off your printer and unplug from the power source. Please note that it’s not safe to clean the printer while connected. You can damage the printer or harm yourself.

●       Wear a pair of protective gloves to avoid touching the ink

●       In a bowl, mix distilled water with isopropyl in the ratio of 1:1 to prevent the abrasive effects of isopropyl alcohol.

●       Confirm the printer head location on your printer user manual or the manufacturer’s website (Mostly, you will get them around the top of the printer).

●       Remove your printer cartridges to access the print nozzles below them. Open the printer’s outer casing to find the print heads.

Kindly confirm how to do it from your printer user manual if this doesn’t work.

●       Remove the printer print head using a pair of tweezers or pliers. Please be careful not to touch the printer metal frame which can cause scratches

●       Gently and carefully place your printer heads in the solution you prepared above. Don’t submerge the print heads fully, but about 1cm.

●       Remove them from the water solution and dab gently with a clean lint-free cotton cloth.

●       After drying fix your printer heads and cartridges back to the printer and run a test printing.

●       If you don’t notice any change, you might need to replace your printer nozzles.

Causes of Printer Nozzle Clogging

As an inkjet printer user, you need to note some factors that can cause your printer nozzle to clog.

●       Leaving your printer on for long when not in use: leaving your printer on for long when not in use can dry the ink.

●       Incorrect power off your printer requires some time to switch off correctly.

●       Excess picture printing: pictures draw the most ink from your printer.

●       Excess color printing: your printer is prone to clogging if you print in color frequently.

●       Excessive printing: printing too much from your printer might cause clogged nozzles.

●       Dirty nozzles: your printer nozzle may clog due to exposure to dust and dirt particles

Prevention of Printer Nozzle Clogging

To avoid frequent clogging or poor-quality prints you need to take proper care of your printer.

●       Turn off your printer when not in use

●       Switch off your printer correctly. When doing this, please use the printer on/off button. Instead of doing it directly from the power outlet

●       Avoid excess picture printing. If you have to, you can consider using a printing service

●       Only print what you need

●       Run your printer self-cleaning from time to time. Also, you can use a soft cotton cloth with rubbing alcohol to clean the nozzles

●       Cover your printer to protect from dust and debris


Printers can be very messy. You print things, they get stuck around the nozzles, and the next time you try to print – it’s not what you expect.

You might need to clean your printer nozzles if you notice low-quality printing than usual, blank page printing, some printer color missing, broken lines, trace marks, or smear marks on your printed pages.

To solve the problem, you need to clean your printer correctly.

Check your printer manual to get your printer manufacturer’s recommendation on the print head cleaning method and care.

But you can clean your printer automatically by running a self-cleaning or doing it manually using a cleaning solution to remove stubborn dirt.

Hopefully, one of these methods works; if not, you may need to seek professional help or replace the printer nozzle.

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