1. Computing

How To Clean Your Printer's Printheads

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When printheads get clogged, image quality suffers. But cleaning printheads is a quick and simple process. Here's a step-by-step tutorial on cleaning printheads. While this was done on a Canon Pixma MP530, most printers will work in much the same way.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Cleaning a printer's printheads is an easy process. Here's how it works (in Windows). Click the Start button (or in Vista the Windows icon) at the lower left corner of your screen.

  2. Click on Control Panel. Next, choose Printers and Other Hardware, and then View Installed Printers or Fax Printers.

  3. When the Printer page opens, right click on your printer’s name, and choose Printing Preferences.

  4. For the Pixma MP530, the Printing Preferences has five tabs across the top; choose Maintenance. Again, most printers should have a very similar set of options.

  5. The first button is for cleaning the printheads. You’ll have to choose which printheads you want to clean (the Pixma inkjet has five cartridges). The best bet is to choose All Colors.

  6. Make sure the printer is turned on and that there’s some paper loaded, then click on Execute.

  7. The printer will print out a pattern with a grid along the top and six bars of different colors. Two images will display on your monitor that you can compare to the printed image. In one, the grid and colors are sharp and clear; in the other, some of the grid boxes are missing and the colors are striped.

  8. If the printout matches the sharp, clear image, simply click Exit and you’re done.

  9. If the printout has missing grid boxes or stripes, then click Cleaning. Once that’s done, you’ll repeat the whole process so you can ensure the cleaning was completely successful. It may take two cleanings if your printheads are really clogged.

  10. If, after two cleanings, you’re still getting a poor result, there’s a Deep Cleaning option on the Maintenance tab that should do the job.

What You Need

  • Your printer connected to your computer.
  • Your printer turned on.
  • Paper loaded in the printer.
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