How to Clean Printer Heads Manually [Epson, Canon and Brother]

For printing workers, the most irritating fact is the clogged printer head. There are many reasons for clogging the print head. The print head is very tiny in size. A little bit of dust or dried ink is enough to clog the head. After clogging out, the ink comes hard and with white lines instead of color. This problem can stop the printing job.

You do not get rid of this issue. There is no printer with print heads that do not clog. Some printers’ print heads clog frequently, and some may clog after a long term. But you have to face this problem while working with printers. That’s why you should know how to clean printer heads effectively. Let’s learn different ways to clean printheads to take the process idea that matches your interest.

What Is A Printer Head?

The printhead is is the most important part of the printer that provides the passage of transferring ink to the papers. Several nozzles around inkjet printer heads to which heads fire ink drops to present ink on paper. This printer heads clog and make streaky colors on print media.

how to clean printer heads canon

You will find the printer heads at the bottom part of the printers. Yes, this setup is almost similar to the traditional styles. The printer head assembly carriage is present right below the plastic carriage of the printer. All the ink cartridges stay inside of this carriage which can moves front and back.

Why Need To Clean Printer Heads

Running any machine without maintenance and regular cleaning for a long time decreases the longevity of those machines. Printer heads are such vital parts of the device which need to be cleaned regularly. So, why do we reduce the durability of our printers by ignoring printers’ necessary maintenance?

how to clean printer heads

Besides, ink cartridges are re-usable and compatible well. If you can keep them clean, they can be managed and used to the last. But ignoring the regular cleanliness can make dried ink which changes the print appearance. Your printer’s parts can break down, and you may lose the printer itself. So, this printhead issue can be a big problem at some level.

Moreover, cleaning printer heads is an easy process if you know them in detail. If you clean those printer heads regularly, you can ensure smooth operation and quality printout on papers or other print media.

How To Clean Printer Heads

There are two efficient cleaning processes, and they are cleaning through computer commanding and manual cleaning. If you keep cleaning your printer heads by the computer cleaning process regularly, the printer heads do not get hard clogs. Let’s know both the processes step by step.

Printer Head Cleaning Directly by Computer Commanding

This is an easy process. You can do it with your computer with some simple steps. So, Follow the steps below and keep clean the printer heads.

Step-1: Enter the Print Setup

At the first step, you have to start your computer connected to your printer through your PC’s start button. Now, find the “Control Panel” by right-clicking your mouse on your desktop. Enter the Control panel and search for the “Print Setup.”

There you will see many printer names. There will be a list of printers. You have to find out your printer’s name, which printer head you will clean, and select it.

Step-2: Check the Ink Status

Now under the printer icon, you will see “Properties” that describes many printers’ features. For checking how much ink is there on each ink cartridges, you will see them here. So, check them first before going to clean. If you know that the ink cartridge is complete, but the ink appearance is streaky, you can assume that the printheads are clogged.

If your ink status is not full, you may have a problem with the printing quality. So, it is necessary to check the ink status.

printer heads

Step-3: Command for Cleaning

Now you have to select the “Printing Preferences.” There you will see the “Service” option under it. Choose the “Printer Services” at the “Service” option. Here is the tab stating “Clean Printheads.” Click on it, and the printer will do it automatically. You do not have to use your hands to wash them.

This process is effective, and you can do it at a regular time interval. It will keep the printer heads clean all the time. Clogging will not be hard that push you to clean them manually.

You can use this process for HP printer head, Canon Printer Head, Epson Printer head, etc. For the hard clogging, you have to go for the manual cleaning process.

Manual Cleaning Process of Printer Heads

Some printer heads are built-in computers separated from the cartridges, and some printer heads are built-in to ink cartridges. The manual printhead cleaning process is different for them.

Cleaning Process of Built-in Printer Printheads

This process suits the removable printheads. So, check the steps below:

Necessary Items:

  • Dry paper towels (3 to 4 pieces)
  • One lint-free fabric
  • Distilled hot water
  • One plastic container
Step-1: Preparation

Two-fold, one dries a paper towel and keeps it at the bottom of the plastic container. Now, pour hot water up to 2 inches so that the paper towel is submerged.

Remove the ink cartridges from the printer and keep them safe lying on a dry paper towel separately until the printhead cleaning run. Cartridges should face up so that ink cannot fall.

Step-2: Clean

Open the gray-colored latch which holds the cartridges. Pull the printhead up to remove it. Use the damp, lint-free fabric to wipe the extra ink from the nozzle. Now keep the printer heads to the plastic container facing the nozzles down. Keep it soaked and remove after 10 minutes. Let it dry for about 15 minutes while keeping the nozzle facing up.

Why Need to Clean Printer Heads

Now, put the printheads back to the printer after setting the latch correctly.

Cleaning Process of Built-in Ink Cartridge Printheads

Using the paper towel process, it is easy to clean print heads that are set at cartridges. Follow the below steps.

Necessary items:

  • One Damp and warm paper towel
  • One dry paper towel
Step-1: On a Damp Towel

Keep the damp paper towel on a flat surface by spreading. Now, blot the cartridges by placing the printheads facing down. All the extra ink will be cleaned up.

Step-2: On Dry Towel

Now keep the cartridges placing the heads facing down on the dry paper towel. Keep them like this for 2 to 3 minutes.

The cartridges are ready to install as the cleaning is finished.

Note: Do not rub or wipe printer heads directly. It is because it can damage the printheads.

Also Read: Pro Tips On Printing Without Black Ink In Epson Printers


Printer head replacement is costly than buying a new printer sometimes. So, keeping them clogged or working with a clogged printhead is not wise at all. It is not only for printing quality but also to avoid printer damage.

So, know the process of how to clean printer heads and keep cleaning them. If you use the computer commanding system at least once a month, you do not have to tense for the problematic clogging. For a prominent project owner, printhead clogging is a common factor as they produce lots of papers daily. So, they should clean their printer heads once a week.

About Author


Alice covers platforms, policy and big tech at Printer Reviews. Prior to rejoining here, Alice was Senior Technology Editor of the TechDen. Alice first joined PrinterReviews in 2021. Before joining, he was the Tech Editor of the Daily Dot and a reporter and deputy editor at ReadWeb.

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