Tip & How-To about Office Equipment & Supplies

How to Fix or Repair or Clean or Unclog Your Inkjet Printer Cartridge or Cartridges

If you have a cartridge for an inkjet printer that still has ink in it and it's not printing properly, you may have clogged ink jet ports. This often happens when you don't use a cartridge for a long time.

Most printers have some type of clean cartridge menu option and you should try this first. If this is not successful, there is another way to get the ink flowing.

Remove the cartridge from the printer and determine where the ink comes out of the cartridge. There is usually a small rectangular metal plate about 3/8 of an inch by 1/8 of an inch on most printer cartridges. After locating this area, take a lint free cloth (or paper towel if such a cloth is not available) and moisten it with some hot water.

Dab the cloth or paper towel against the ink jet port area until ink begins to come out. If you don't want to get dirty, you may want to wear gloves and do this in an area that you don't mind getting ink on. Once the ink is flowing, dry the cartridge with a paper towel by dabbing it. Dab and don't brush so that you don't leave any lint or paper remnants on the cartridge.

Be sure that the cartridge is dry and clean before you put it back into the printer. Make sure all sides of the cartridge are dry as there are electrical circuits on the cartridge and you do NOT want to have these areas wet.

If this doesn't work the first time, you can try it again until all the ink jet ports on the cartridge are open. I've been able to save many old cartridges this way. Hopefully this will work for you although there will always be unsalvageable cartridges out there. Have fun and good luck!

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print colour not consistent


Hi,
The single item in an inkjet printer that requires the most attention is the ink cartridge and usually is the cause of uneven, light and inconsistent printing problems. When such problems happen usually the ink cartridge needs to be replaced, but sometimes you may need to inspect the ink cartridges for problems. Ink cartridges can be popped out of the printhead assembly for inspection of the inkjets. if any or all of the jets are clogged, it is possible to clear them by gently wiping the face of the cartridge with a swab. A gentle squeeze of the ink reservoir can also help to unblock the clogged jet.
Hope this helps

Dec 10, 2010 | HP DeskJet 970cxi InkJet Printer

1 Answer

Even though all my print cartridges are full my hp c6380 printer prints out pictures that are not colored properly. It seems to print as if the cyan cartridge is empty but that is not the case. Any idea what is causing my problem?


Open the "HP Toolbox" software (it was installed from the CD-ROM that came with the printer).

Run the "Print-Head-Cleaning" cycle -- some of the ink-jets are clogged, and thus no ink of that colour is being jetted onto the paper.

Jan 28, 2010 | HP Photosmart C6380 All-In-One InkJet...

1 Answer

My dell 720 printer has a new ink cartridge, acts


Take the plastic strip off the ink jet cartridge before putting the thing in the printer.  Check the ink jets to see if they are clogged.

Oct 25, 2009 | Dell Inkjet 720 Printer

1 Answer

clogged ink jets prevent printing any thing. how


You can try to use the software the came with your printer on your computer to clean the heads. If that doesn't work then you will need to buy new ink cartridges.

Mar 23, 2009 | Epson Stylus CX6600 All-In-One InkJet...

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