My print heads are clogged and giving poor quality print outs, what can I do?

A common problem with printers is that from time to time it will disappoint you by its poor quality of the documents print outs. The first conclusion people jump to is that the ink cartridge is faulty and replace the cartridge in haste to find that the problem is still apparent. This can happen to any colour cartridge in any printer. The procedure for clearing the blockage is fairly standard and is carried out using the printer maintenance or utility feature. The cause of the ink blockage can be ink drying out in the print head through lack of use or if there is some dried out ink in a new ink cartridge that works it way into the print head and restricts the flow of ink.

Improve the Print Quality using Print Head Cleaning Procedure

In the first instance, go to file print and select properties, next choose maintenance and finally head cleaning. The idea of cleaning the print heads using this method is to force the ink through the jets of the print head and clear the blockage. After each attempt it’s advisable to print out a test sheet that will show the progress of the head cleaning, it may be a gradual procedure to see the progress and it is preferred to take up to 10 attempts to clear a severely blocked print head. Perseverance is the key to clearing a completely blocked print head. People often give up on the head cleaning too easily and assume that either the ink cartridges are faulty or the printer has reached end of life.

If your printer uses an ink cartridge with an integrated print head, (check your printer manual or ink supplier to see if this is the case), it is possible to wipe the cartridge with a warm damp kitchen roll a few times until you see the ink flow easily onto the tissue. It’s recommended that you follow the procedure laid down in your instruction manual for your printer head cleaning, however, there are always plenty of tips available on Google on how to clear a blocked print head. If you are unsure about the type of printer you have, consult your printer manual or Google your printer model.

If you try to clear a severely blocked print head with more than 10 or 12 attempts and there is only a slight or no improvement on the test sheet it may be possible that the print head is due for replacement.This can be an expensive procedure and in many cases, is not worth the cost, due to the availability of many low cost replacement printers. If in doubt, contact your ink supplier for advice.

Paul Johnston

Paul Johnston is a Partner and co-founder of
Paul had vast experience gained in the graphic design and print industry for 15 years prior to his venture into on-line retailing in 2010 with ink and toner replacement cartridges. Paul enjoys writing blogs, social media for small businesses, internet marketing and above all sharing the latest information he deems helpful to fellow bloggers.