Inkjet printers are a great choice for small offices and homes. They can deliver high-quality images and documents at a relatively low cost. Unfortunately, clogged printheads can lessen the quality of the images and documents. To clean them, you can use a cleaning solution for printheads.
Printer Heads Cleaning
The printhead is a printer part that transfers ink onto the paper. The nozzles inside the printhead will spray microdroplets of ink when the printer is printing. However, sometimes nozzles get clogged and cannot perform their function.
Causes of Clogged Printheads
Why do printheads get clogged? There are a few causes of clogged printheads. One of them is that printhead nozzles have microscopic holes. As a result, dust can block these holes and cause the printhead to clog. In most cases, the clogged printhead is due to dried ink.
Some inkjet printer users do not use their printers too often. As a result, they left their printers unused for some time. Leaving the printer sits unused will cause the ink on the nozzles and head to dry out. Consequently, congested printheads and nozzles occur.
Signs for Clogged Printheads
Recognizing blocked printheads is not a difficult thing to do. A printer with clogged printheads and nozzles generally cannot deliver high-quality printouts. You will see streaky and faded printouts when this problem occurs.
Moreover, you can perform a print head nozzle check to find out the nozzles’ performance. From the nozzle print pattern, you will be able to recognize missing patterns that indicate clogged nozzles.
Typically, you can solve clogged a printhead problem by cleaning the printhead. However, you must be aware that different printers have different printhead types. Therefore, their cleaning procedures are also different.
Printheads on Printers
Several printers have built-in printheads. Those with built-in printheads generally use more than two cartridges, such as black, magenta, cyan, and yellow. To clean these printheads, commonly you must take them out of the printer first and then apply a cleaning solution for printheads.
These printheads have a particular service life. You can replace them with new ones when they can no longer provide you with high-quality printouts. However, replacing these printheads can be costly. Therefore, most printer users choose to purchase a new printer.
Printheads on Cartridges
Some inkjet printers do not have built-in printheads. The printheads are on to the ink cartridges. Those with this type of printhead are generally basic inkjet printers that only use two cartridges, i.e., a black ink cartridge and a colored ink cartridge.
You can apply several printhead cleaning methods when those printheads are clogged. However, you may need to buy new cartridges if the printheads remain in trouble after cleaning.
What is Cleaning Solution for Printheads?
You can clean printheads by applying several methods. One of them is using a cleaning solution to clean printhead. A printhead cleaning solution is a fluid used for cleaning printer heads.
You can easily get a commercial cleaning solution for printheads on the online marketplace. However, you can also make a DIY printhead cleaning solution at home.
What is Printhead Cleaning Solution Made of?
Most commercial printhead cleaning solution contains distilled water, detergent, and isopropyl alcohol. However, they have different ratios of these ingredients. Many printer users have proved that the combination of these ingredients can unclog their printheads.
The Effectiveness of Commercial Printhead Cleaning Solutions
Nonetheless, the effectiveness of one product is not similar to the others. Several factors affect their effectiveness in cleaning printheads. One of them is the ratios of the composition.
A cleaning solution with a higher ratio of distilled water usually has gentler cleaning power. Therefore, it is perfect for cleaning water-based ink residue.
Meanwhile, a cleaning solution with a higher ratio of detergent or isopropyl alcohol has stronger cleaning power. Consequently, it is great for cleaning the residue of solvent-based ink, which is common in genuine ink.
In addition, the effectiveness of the printhead cleaning solutions also depends on how badly the dried ink clogs the printhead. If you let your printer sit unused for many months, its printhead usually will have stubborn and hard-to-remove dried ink residue.
Consequently, you may need to clean the printhead several times before you can remove all residue. However, if you let your printer sit unused for only a couple of months, its printhead usually is not badly clogged. Therefore, a single cleaning is enough to clean the printhead from the dried ink.
How to Make a DIY Cleaning Solution for Printhead
The price of a 100-ml commercial cleaning solution for printheads varies from less than $10 to over $20. However, you can save money on this solution if you make a homemade printhead cleaning solution.
You need three ingredients to make a DIY printhead cleaning solution.
- Bottled water or distilled water
- Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
- Plain liquid dish soap (the soap must not be a high-concentrate soap or contains any additives, such as antibacterial additives and lotion)
To make the cleaning solution you must:
- Pour the water into a glass jar until it is three-fourths of the way full;
- Add 4 teaspoons of alcohol;
- Add 3 drops of soap; and
- Mix the liquid and use it for cleaning your printheads.
Tips for Shopping for the Right Cleaning Solution for Printheads
Commercial cleaning solutions come in various brands. However, not all of them can clean your clogged printheads effectively. You can follow these tips below if you want to get the right one.
1. Consider the Severity of Your Clogging Printhead
You must consider the severity of your clogging printhead before you shop for a cleaning solution for printheads. A printer that is not in use for months usually has a more severe clogged printhead than one that is not in use for a short period.
Therefore, you will need a stronger solution for the former. Moreover, you must also consider the ink type of your printer. If it is a water-based ink, a mild cleaning solution is usually effective enough to clean this dried ink.
2. Consider the Cleaning Solution Compatibility
Some printhead cleaning solution kits are only compatible with particular printer brands or models. Therefore, you must make sure that the product is compatible with your printer.
3. Pay Attention to the Composition
It is essential to pay attention to the composition of the cleaning solution and its ratio when shopping for it. If you need a stronger solution, you must look for higher alcohol. However, you must purchase one with lower alcohol and detergent if you need a gentler solution.
4. Consider the Package Size of the Cleaning Solution
The cleaning solution for printheads is available in different package sizes, such as 100 ml, 200 ml, and 500 ml. You will usually need to clean your printhead regularly to maintain the print quality.
Moreover, in severe clogging printhead cases, you must repeat the printhead cleaning process a couple of times before the printer can work. Therefore, you must make sure that you purchase the printhead cleaning solution in the right amount.
Best Commercial Cleaning Solution for Printheads
The choices of printhead cleaning solutions in the online marketplace are abundant. Below are some of the best solutions you can consider purchasing.
1. Best Printers Printhead Cleaning Kit
Best Printers Printhead Cleaning Kit is one of the best printhead cleaning solutions. The kit includes a 100 ml cleaning solution, a syringe, and a plastic tubing extension. This product gets 3.8 stars from over 4,000 buyers on Amazon.
With a 95%-success rate, it is no wonder that many printer users said that Best Printers has saved them from purchasing a new printer. Moreover, Best Printers are also compatible with various brands, such as Epson, Canon, HP, Lexmark, Dell, and Brother.
The price of this printhead cleaning kit is $25. It is pricier than most printhead cleaning kits.
2. Printers Jack Printhead Cleaner
The printhead cleaner from Printers Jack is another great cleaning solution for printheads. Its rating is slightly lower than Best Printers, i.e., 3.7 from over 1,400 buyers. This printhead cleaner is compatible with Canon, HP, Brother, and Lexmark printers.
Many printer users can successfully clean their clogged printhead using Printers Jack Printhead cleaner. In addition, it is affordable. The price of this printhead cleaner is around $10. When you purchase it, you will get 100 ml cleaner solution, gloves, a syringe, and a silicon tube.
3. Seogol Printhead Cleaning Kit
Do you want a strong cleaning solution at a more affordable price? Seogol Printhead Cleaning Kit will be your perfect choice. This printhead cleaning kit gets 3.8 ratings from over 1,100 buyers.
Seogol Printhead Cleaning Kit is compatible with most printer brands, i.e., HP, Canon, Brother, and Lexmark. You can also use it for cleaning wide arrays of ink types.
You can get Seogol Printhead Cleaning Kit for only $9. When you purchase this kit, you will get 100 ml of printhead cleaning solution, a silicone tube, a syringe, and gloves.
4. WOKOK Printer Cleaning Kit
Another excellent cleaning solution for printheads is WOKOK Printer Cleaning Kit. This product is almost similar to the other four cleaning solutions above. It is compatible with most printer brands and contains several cleaning tools.
In addition, WOKOK Printer Cleaning Kit has an excellent success rate. Most of its users are happy with the result given by this cleaning solution. You can see it from its positive reviews and 4 ratings given by over 2,900 users. You can purchase this cleaning kit for $10.
How to Clean Printheads Using a Cleaning Solution for Printheads
The steps of cleaning printheads using a cleaning solution depend on printhead types and printer models. Moreover, different products may require different methods.
Numerous inkjet printers have printheads built into them, such as HP OfficeJet 8710. You can clean these printheads using a cleaning solution by following these steps.
- Identify which printheads need cleaning by printing a nozzle check pattern.
- Remove cartridges from your printer by selecting Replacing Ink Cartridge. Next, wait for the printer carriage unit to move and allow you to remove the cartridges. Take them out and immediately unplug the printer’s power cable. Move the carriage unit to the right.
- Place a piece of folded blotting paper under your printer’s printheads.
- Move the carriage unit to the center, above the paper.
- Fill the syringe with the printhead cleaning solution. The amount of the fluid depends on the instruction of the product. It usually ranges from 1 ml to 4 ml
- Insert the silicone tube into the ink inlet of the clogged printhead. Inject the printhead cleaning solution slowly into the clogged printhead.
- Leave the cleaning solution inside the printhead for an hour so it can dissolve all dried ink. Repeat these last two steps if your printhead is severely clogged.
- Inject the printhead with the cleaning solution again.
- Clean up the remaining solution inside the printhead using an empty syringe. Connect the syringe with the printhead’s ink port. Push and pull the syringe handle to discharge the solution.
- Move your printer’s carriage unit back to the right side and remove the blotting paper.
- Turn on the power of the printer and put its cartridges back into your printer.
- Start a cleaning cycle by clicking Print Head Cleaning on the printer’s Maintenance menu on your PC.
- Print several nozzle checks to find out the result.
- Repeat the steps above if your printer’s printheads haven’t been back to normal. You may need to let the solution sit longer inside the printhead for deeper cleaning.
How to Clean Printheads Built into Cartridges (Thermal Inkjet Printheads)
Thermal inkjet printers have printheads integrated with the ink cartridges. These printheads are relatively easier to clean. In most cases, you don’t need printhead cleaning solution to clean them because warm water is enough.
To free a thermal inkjet printhead from dried-out ink, you can follow these steps.
- Lightly soak a piece of paper towel in warm water.
- Place the cartridge on the warm damp paper towel after you take it out from the printer. Make sure that the printhead faces down on the damp paper towel.
- Hold the ink cartridge using a dry paper towel for about three minutes.
- Install the cartridge back into the printer and perform nozzle checks.
Note: If the steps above cannot successfully clean your thermal inkjet printhead, you had better get a new ink cartridge. The cost of this cartridge is generally more affordable than the price of printheads.
Other Methods on How to Clean Printheads
Aside from the methods above, you can clean your printheads using other methods.
Run Several Cleaning Cycles Before a Nozzle Check
Sometimes, you don’t need to do a complicated printhead cleaning method when you find out that your printers deliver lower-quality printouts. You can try to make your printer run several cleaning cycles until your printer is back to normal.
Run a nozzle check after every time you do a cleaning cycle to check for the result. This simple and easy method is best for mild clogged printheads.
Moreover, it only works when you see improvement after each cleaning cycle. However, if you don’t see any improvement after running this cycle, you must stop doing this method and try other methods.
Soaking the Printhead
Some printer users choose to soak their printheads using a homemade solution to clean their badly clogged printheads. This homemade solution is a mix of warm purified/distilled water and ammonia with a ratio of 1:1.
Steps to soak printheads in a mixture of water and ammonia.
- Prepare the cleaning solution for printheads and put it on a shallow tray. It is best to have the solution at a shallow depth, about half an inch deep.
- Place a layer of paper towel or microfiber cloth.
- Remove the printheads of your printer.
- Gently place these printheads on the tray while the solution is still warm. Let the printheads soak for several minutes. Change the printheads’ position from one spot to another after a couple of minutes. Doing it will speed up the dried ink dissolving process.
- Take out the printheads from the tray if you think that they are clean from dried ink.
- Dry the printheads gently using a paper towel and let them air dry before reinstalling them to your printer.
- Run a nozzle check to find out the result.
Note: If you don’t have ammonia, you can replace it with vinegar.
How to Prevent Printhead from Clogging
Clogged printheads can cost you a new printer. Therefore, you must do some prevention steps to prevent your printer’s printhead from clogging.
- Use your printer regularly, at least once every two days. Letting your printer sit unused for a week is usually enough to cause the printheads to clog.
- Running a headprint cleaning cycle at least once a month.
- Only use genuine ink on your printer. Non-genuine ink commonly dries easily. Therefore, it will increase clogged printhead risks.
Is it Risky to Clean Printheads Using Cleaning Solutions?
Most printhead cleaning solution products are safe to use. The risk of damaging your printer using this solution is quite low. However, you must be careful in applying them. There are several things you must pay attention to when applying this cleaning solution.
- Religiously follow the instructions on the cleaning solution product package. If the written instructions are hard to understand, you can try to look for its video tutorial on YouTube.
- Make sure that your printer’s printheads are perfectly dry when you install them to your printer because moisture can damage your printer.
- After cleaning printheads, wait for several hours before operating the printer. Some manufacturers of printhead cleaning solutions even recommend users wait for 24 hours before operating the printer to minimize the risk of printer damage due to moisture.
- Don’t forget to wear gloves when cleaning printheads to avoid stains and possible skin irritation.
Clogged printheads are common problems in inkjet printers. Thankfully, a cleaning solution for printheads can help you effectively clean your printer’s printhead. This solution is generally compatible with various types of ink and printer brands and models. Moreover, its cost is as low as $9.
Morgan Azhari, the owner of PrinterUpdate.net, is a dedicated expert in the field of printers, leveraging a wealth of experience and education to create a platform that passionately shares insights and solutions.
With a goal to enhance the printer user experience, my vision for the website is to provide valuable content, making a positive impact on individuals navigating the complexities of printers.