How To Unclog 3D Printer Nozzle Properly : 4 Steps Cleaning

3D printers are fun not only for kids but also for adults. People can make many unique things using a 3D printer. They are handy and easy to use. They are portable too. Like other printers, 3D printers need maintenance and cleaning too. Clogging the printer nozzle is a common problem for 3D printers.

When even a small amount of residue remains at the hot end, it solidifies quickly and gets clogged. How to unclog the 3D printer nozzle? Cleaning it is not so easy if you do not know the procedure. As a 3d printer is like a pen, you have to be careful while cleaning it. If you enter thin wire to unclog its nozzle, it can scratch its inside wall.

You should learn the reasons for clogging, understand the clog types, and then clean or unclog it depending on the clogging formation. Let’s know the procedure in detail.

How To Unclog 3D Printer Nozzle

If you want to unclog the3D printer nozzle, you should have deep knowledge about it. At first, learn the reasons that clog the 3D printer nozzle or printer head

Reasons That Clog 3D Printer Nozzle

You should know some basic things if you understand why the printer nozzle clogs, especially for the 3D printer nozzle. When you see the problem, you can clean it on the first try. You do not have to apply all the methods to unclog the printer nozzle. You can try a specific way to clear it. As a precaution, you should keep the filament sealed up when not in use. You can clean it regularly to avoid frequent clogging.

How To Unclog 3D Printer Nozzle

Primary reasons that clog printer nozzle are-

  • If dust is put on the filament in a large quantity, it causes clogging.
  • When the filament strips in the extruder gear and is left in the nozzle for a long time, it solidifies into the plug and makes a hard clog.
  • You should clean the printer nozzle after every material change or filament change. Otherwise, it will make problematic clogging. 

Check Properly to be Sure If 3D Printer Nozzle is Clogged

When unclogging the 3D printer nozzle, you have to be sure that the problem is the printer nozzle. There are some ways to check the nozzle that helps in understanding the issue correctly. Get to the right point and then clean the printer nozzle.

  • If the First Layer Does Not Come Out:

After starting a 3D printer and seeing no filament extruded from the nozzle, at least the first layer is absent. The problem can be a clogged nozzle. But there is a chance that the problem can lie with the Z offset setting, unlevel bed, or the extruder. Then you have to check them too.

  • If Printer Nozzle Picks Back the Printed Filament

Sometimes, the 3D printer nozzle picks back the printed material after laying it down to make some things. It happens when the nozzle accidentally moves across the layer. The printer nozzle is the cause for this type of problem, mainly. But the Z offset and the absence of a proper level bed can also be the cause. So, you should check them too.

  • If the Hot End Jams:

Filament comes out by the hot end. Hen coming out, these filaments can get stuck or trapped in the middle and lower areas of the hot end. For this jam, the filament may not come out and nozzle can be clogged. Check the hot end pathway properly if the problem lies behind this hot end. 

  • If the Extrusion of Filament Become Inconsistent:

Sometimes, the printer cannot extrude the printed materials properly. It extrudes inconsistent extrusion material as it suddenly bursts, but it should extrude the filament layer consistently. This problem can arise for the wet filament or the stepper motor of the extruder. If you are not finding the issues with the filament or motor, you should check the nozzle, of course.

  • If Under Extrusion Occur:

This problem is also occupied with the uneven filament extrusion. It causes some missing points of filament extrusion. You cannot print an even layer of filament. Nozzle clogging can be the reason, and it also can be caused by the loose extruder tension, wet filament, or a non-smooth filament path.

  • If Missing Print Appear:

After starting a print, you can miss print at the completion time. It can miss a few points at the back printing part. It can happen for the clogged printer nozzle. Within the printer nozzle, you should check the accuracy of the filament diameter and the printing temperature. For the uneven temperature, it can miss at some point or the complete back points. The temperature should be in the range of filament materials. When the extruder is frequently rotating, it also can cause the missing print. You also should check the extruder motor.

Cleaning the printer nozzle is not a bad idea, but there can be other causes. When you find the right reasons, you can resolve the issue correctly. Otherwise, after cleaning the printer nozzle, you may get the same problems again and clog the nozzle again. So, you should consider every possible reason that can cause the uneven or missing print. You can go from the easiest issue to resolve to the most complex case. When you are sure that the problem lies on the printer nozzle or clogged nozzle, go for cleaning it efficiently.

Procedure To Unclog The 3 Printer Nozzle

Clogging can be for the loosen exterior debris or for the deep inside dirt. There are several methods to clean the clogging of the nozzle. Finding the depth of the dirt, clean it accordingly. 

Tools and ingredients:

When you have to go through all the procedures to clean the nozzle, you will need all the tools. According to the method, it varies. All the necessary things are:

  • Brass wire brushes (do not use the steel wire, which can damage the printer nozzle)
  • Acupuncture needle
  • Cleaning filament or the nylon filament at the correct diameter that matches the printer
  • Acetone
  • Socket wrench
  • Crescent wrench
  • Blowtorch or heat gun

How To Unclog 3D Printer Nozzle

Method-1: Cleaning Exterior Debris

First, you should check the first layer or exterior debris of the printer nozzle. This debris is the most visible part of the printer, and it is the external dirt on the nozzle. This debris forms from the excess melted material when it is stuck to the printer nozzle when printing.

When filament flows out, it gets stuck at the side of the nozzle. After flowing some more filament, it starts to stick on the nozzle’s exterior sides where initial materials are already present. So, this problem is related to the printer nozzle effectively. As the same material likes to be stuck together, the filament gets solidified faster when it reaches the touch of the initial filament material. So, the nozzle exterior is prone to have stuck filament.

Follow the steps below to clean the exterior debris:

Step-1: First, use a brass wire brush to clean the external debris from the nozzle. It will clean the loose debris and dust from the nozzle. Do not use a steel wire brush as it can damage the nozzle. Bas wire brush is the recommended one.

Step-2: Then, Clean the nozzle exterior using a damp cloth or an alcohol wipe. You have to clean the nozzle with a wet cloth when it is hot, and so, you have to take proper precautions to keep your hands safe from the heat. During cleaning the hot nozzle, some steam will come out, which will mean that it is cleaning the clogged material efficiently. 

Step-3: If you see that there is still some stubborn debris, you can use a small blade or needle to clean the rest of the waste. After cleaning the exterior of the printer nozzle, you should be careful that no debris or material gets stuck on the nozzle. You can raise the Z offset and level the print bed to prevent clogging at the printer nozzle exterior. You can cover the nozzle with a silicone sock to prevent the filament from getting stuck.

Method-2: Acupuncture Needle

When there is hard stuck material inside the printer nozzle, you can use this Acupuncture needle method. It is a practical and relatively easy process. Follow the steps below:

Step-1: Plug on the 3D printer and heat it until you reach the print temperature. Before heating it, fill it with one type of material inside.

how to clear a clogged 3d printer nozzle

Step-2: Take an Acupuncture needle and insert it very gently and carefully through the printer nozzle. Do not push the needle hard; instead, work softly. You do not remove the material from the nozzle inner part; you just have to break the materials apart. These broken materials will come out with the following extruded material.

Method-3: Cold Pull Process Using a Nylon or Cleaner Filament

This method is also very effective. You have to use the cleaning filament or nylon filament to remove the dirt or debris from the inner nozzle part. Filament has to be of the same diameter as the print filament diameter. Follow the steps below:

Step-1: At first, you have to heat the Printer nozzle to reach 250 degrees Celsius. Now push through the nozzle as your print. It will remove debris from the nozzle. Keep moving softly until the previous filament is seen to come out from the hot end.

How To Unclog 3D Printer Nozzle

Step-2: Now, Cool the printer down to reach room temperature to solidify the filament inside the nozzle. Try to keep the temperature at the hot end of the printer nozzle at 115 degrees. 

Step-3: When the temperature of the printer nozzle is 90 degrees, you have to pull on the filament until the filament gets out by yanking. It will make a shape like the inside of the printer nozzle at the filament end. Now you will get to see the particle in it. 

Step-4: Now, you have to repeat step-1, keeping the temperature at 250 degrees. At this temperature, keep pushing until it gets clean properly. 

Method-4: Nozzle Wash After Removing

This process involves removing of printer nozzle and then washing it thoroughly. As you have to clean it at a high temperature, you should be very careful. It slips easily and causes burning accidents. In this process, you are going to use chemicals to wash the nozzle. If the clogged material is formed from ABS plastic, then use acetone to clean it. Other chemicals are hard to find in the market. 

Now, follow the steps below:

Step-1: Like the previous method, you have to heat the printer nozzle and reach the print temperature keeping the last material or filament you used.

Step-2: After reaching the desired temperature, you have to use two wrenches- a crescent and socket wrenches. Hold the heater block of the printer using the crescent wrench and then use a socket wrench and twist off the printer nozzle. By twisting the nozzle, remove it from the 3D printer.

How To Unclog 3D Printer Nozzle

Step-3: Now clean the removed nozzle. Dissolve the filament into the chemicals that clean it. Wash out all the clogs from the nozzle inside. At the high temperature, it melts quickly, and then it is easy to remove all the clogged materials from the inner side. 

Step-4: If you do not find the required chemical, you can use the heat gun or blowtorch. It will melt the remaining clogged material, which is stubborn. Taking proper precaution, wave heat over the nozzle using the blowtorch like you are doing blow-drying. Do not heat it directly because it can burn the nozzle. 

Final Words

From adults to kids, everyone likes to craft using a best 3D printer. It is an excellent source of enjoyment. It also provides a chance to practice composing in different ways. When your kids make some unique things, they become excited. Maintaining a 3D printer is also a significant fact. You have to clean it properly from time to time. Clogging the printer nozzle is the most common headache for 3D printer maintenance. 

How to unclog 3D printer nozzle? If you learn the procedure to clear the nozzle, the job becomes easier. On this page, you have got the detail of four methods. Use one way whatever the printer needs, and continue crafting.


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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