3+ Reasons for Smudging Ink on Printers and How to Prevent It!!

Having smudging ink on the printing pages is messy. It doesn’t look professional and it also looks lame. Do you know that there are reasons for smudges and smears? Depending on the causes, there are also different types of solutions, so be sure you know what it is. 

Common Reasons for the Smudging Ink

3+ Reasons for Smudging Ink on Printers and How to Prevent It!!

Accumulated dust or dirt is the main reason why smudges and smears can happen. If your printer is pretty busy, especially on the daily basis, it’s quite logical that toner, ink, and dust build up will affect the operation. That’s why regular cleaning is considered necessary. 

Some people say that dried ink is also responsible for such smudge. Dried ink can be the main cause IF you rarely use your printer. If your printer is often being left in an idle condition, then the dried ink would be the main culprit. However, this won’t be the case if you actively use the printer. 

The best thing that you can do is to check the transfer belt or the rollers. As they go through the printing paper, the accumuldated dirt will compromise your printing result. Open the printer, check the transfer belt and rollers. Clean them whenever possible. 

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Other Common Causes

Paper-related Issues

Not everyone knows this, but the type of paper can affect the existence of smears. 

If the paper has textured surface, it would lead to printing issue. 

If you use waterproof type of paper (with shiny and smooth surface), big chances that you will have smudges and streaks

If you want to print images, don’t use a regular paper. Use the photo paper or special paper to accommodate pictures and images. 

Consult your manual to see which paper would be suitable for your (different) printing requirements

Cleaning Routine

Even the best printers won’t work like a charm without proper and regular cleaning. Even if the printer is located on the cleanest and most hygiene spot, it can accumulate particulates, small debris, and fine dust. The internal build up can affect the printer’s performance and ability to print properly. 

Fuser Problem

Laser printers have this so-called fuser that produces heat to print the toner. However, if the fuser failts to meet the required (printing) temperature, the result would look like as if you used the wrong type of toner. Fuser issue is generally caused by mechanical issue, which requires professional and expertise service. 

Common Causes with the Cartridges

Common Causes with the Cartridges
While you are cleaning the cartridges, it doesn’t hurt to check the cartridge. A faulty or leaky cartridge may be responsible for the smudges. The best thing that you can do is to turn off the printer, remove and check the suspected parts, and clean them. 

If you are using a new and just installed cartridge, make sure to align them. Each printer has its own maintenance settings. You need to consult your manual to know how to do it on your printer. If you encounter horizontal smears, it’s likely that are fibers being jammed or clogged on the ink tank’s bottom. Take the cartridges out and then clean them. 

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If you have had the cartridges for a year (or more), there is always a possibility of drying out although you use the printer quite often. Try cleaning the head first. But if it doesn’t improve, consider replacing the cartridges.  

Duplexing Concern

If you have a duplex printer, the smear case is quite often – and considered normal. When you print on one side, that side is usually still wet, but then the printer retracts the paper back into it to start printing on another side. When the ink is still wet, the possibility of being smudged would be bigger. 

How to Prevent the Issue?

As it was mentioned before, regular cleaning would be the best option. Not only it helps you care for the printer, but it will also ensure that your machine may last. 

Moreover, there are also possible ways to do:

Don’t let the printer gets idle for too long. If you don’t have to deal with busy printing work, at least try to print a page or two once in several days. It will prevent the ink from drying and creating streaks; or even worse, a jam.

Schedule a regular cleaning period. Once biweekly or even once a month would be better than never. 

When you clean the printer, don’t rush things. You don’t want to damage the little parts during a rush cleaning time. Make sure to be thorough too.

If you have more than a printer, it’s great because you can stay remain productive when one machine is being cleaned and checked. Try to schedule different cleaning time so each device can be properly maintained and cared for without having to jeopardize your productivity. 

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Some problems can’t be handled with DIY methods. If you are clueless of what to do, it’s better to consult the professional and ask for their help instead of being a know it all. 


Before making any judgment, make sure to check your machine. Be thorough and once you know the reason for the smudging ink, you can prevent it. 

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