The following is good advise I found here
A clogged print head on your
inkjet printer is not a fine thing. Over time (especially when there's
long periods of no printer use) the many tiny holes that make up a
modern inkjet printer's head can become clogged with dried ink.
Most printers today have some sort of cleaning routine where either you
instruct the printer to go through a cleaning cycle via a program on
your computer or you press a squence of buttons on the printer itself
to begin the process. A number of these cleanings, in succession, will
usually take care of a clogged head--but not always. I recently found
my year and a half old Epson Stylus Color 600 unable to print
coherently using black ink and no amount of standard cleaning-cycle
runthroughs would fix the problem.
On some inkjet printers (HP's for instance) the ink cartridge contains
the print head, so changing the cartridge gives you a new, unclogged
printhead. My Epson's print head is part of the printer itself, and can
only be replaced by a service technician, and the cost is usually very
close to the price of the printer itself. I had to come up with
something better than that, so I began searching the web to see what
people in similar predicaments had done. I found that I my problem was
not unique and there were some rather successful remedies floating
I discovered that isopropyl alcohol (I bought a bottle of 91% alcohol
at the drugstore for ~$3) is a great solvent for this sort of dried
ink. There were those that recommended that I take an old, discarded
ink jet cartridge, open it, clean it out with the alcohol, fill it back
up with alcohol, reseal it, and place it in the printer for a few runs
through the printer's self-cleaning method. This proved to be a rather
messy endeavor indeed, so I followed a bit of less-agressive advice.
I simply removed the black print cartridge from the printer and dropped
7-10 drops of alcohol down in the ink-recepticle area where the ink
cartridge normally sits (there should be a little hole down in there
where the ink actually flows from the cartridge into the head),
replaced the ink cartridge, and ran a few sessions of the printers
head-cleaning routine. It took quite a few cleaning sessions (probably
15-20) with a few pages of text prints thrown in there just to try and
move some ink, before it cleared up.
It actually had to sit overnight, with the last few cleanings done the
next morning, before all was well--but well it is. Everything works
perfectly now, and I don't have to go out and buy a new printer.
To avoid such blockages, it's a good idea to print something
both in color and black&white (if you've got a color printer), once
a week or so just to keep things moving. But if you do end up cursed
with a blocked print head--this method should take care of you.