Our Top 10 Printer Maintenance Tips

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10 Simple Printer Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Machine in Top-Notch Working Condition

A printer is an essential add-on to your Mac or PC in your home office. You don’t want to run out to the library or local printer just to print a couple of pages. But, maintaining a printer that you do not use frequently can be a pain. Just when you require printing a page urgently, you will find your printer throwing a tantrum. Whether you own an inkjet or laser printer, these simple tips enlisted below will help you maintain your printer in good working condition.

1. Clean your print head

It is essential to clean your print head at least once a month. Remove the cartridge and clean the head with warm water. Don’t use wet tissues or alcohol to clean the print head.  After cleaning, allow the print head to dry completely before fixing it back.

There are many YouTube tutorials on how to clean your print head.

2. Clean the insides

You must also clean the insides of the printer regularly. Don’t wait until the dust and grime form layers, preventing your printer from operating efficiently. Use lint-free cloths that are slightly moist to wipe the dust away. While cleaning your printer, never apply too much force even if you encounter stubborn corners of grime. Use soft bristles and moistened Q-tips to remove the grime. Alternatively, you can also use compressed air to blow out the dust that is accumulated within the printer. Try to avoid using a vacuum unless it is a pressure-controlled vacuum that sucks the dust away gently.

3. Check under the hood

It is not enough to just pay attention to the toner cartridge. You must lift the hood and check inside for any jammed or broken parts. Most printers have built-in diagnostics to indicate if there is any wear and tear. Paying attention to these maintenance lights at the right time and taking corrective action can prevent further damage. It is prudent to replace a small part rather than wait for the printer to conk off.

It is also a good idea to invest in a maintenance kit for your printer. It will help clean the printer fan and other vulnerable parts that are prone to accumulating dust and residual ink. While buying spare parts for your printer, don’t compromise on quality. Replace worn out parts with original parts that match your printer’s model.

4. Choose the right refill

Refill cartridges are expensive and you might be tempted to buy cheap, generic cartridges from flea markets. Never compromise on the quality of your toner/ink cartridges. Opting for branded, good-quality cartridges are worth every penny as it helps maintain the working condition of your printer.

Low quality cartridges will have an impact on the printer hardware. Inkjets of substandard quality will also result in poor printing. You might end up having blotchy or faded printouts with these low-cost cartridges. Never hesitate to buy the best-in-quality cartridges for your printer.

 5. Be careful when you replace cartridges

Exercise caution while replacing your cartridges. It is likely that you will be replacing cartridges regularly so you must read the instructions carefully and master the art of replacing cartridges. Be careful not to touch the bottom of the cartridge while replacing it, as touching can spoil the quality of print. Make sure you buy high quality cartridges that are not so delicate to handle.

6. Replace cartridges before they dry up

Don’t wait till your cartridges run dry completely. Printer software provides notifications when cartridge levels fall below normal. Take the cue and replace your cartridge before they run out of ink. A dry cartridge leads to unwanted wear and tear on your printer head.

7. Turn it off

Turn off your printer if you are not going to use it for a long time. Printers generate a lot of heat while they are on. The print header can dry up the cartridge while on and this can in turn clog the header. A printer that is continuously on and not in use can also cause wear and tear to other parts. Hence, it is best to turn it off when not in use.

8. Download the latest drivers

One of the most important aspects that many users ignore is updating to the latest drivers. Remaining up-to-date by installing the latest drivers from the manufacturers will help keep your printer in great working condition. Some of these printers also indicate when a new driver is available at the manufacturer’s website. Do not ignore such notifications. Many hardware malfunctions with printers have been traced back to outdated drivers. Be smart and check your manufacturer’s website for updates regularly.

9. Keep your printer manual safe

Your printer manuals will come handy when you encounter any glitches so, keep them safe and in a shelf that is accessible. It would be quite useful to refer to your manual when one of the maintenance lights pop up and you have no clue why the light is on. In case, you have misplaced your manuals, you can check the online support offered by your manufacturers. Most manufacturers have an exhaustive list of commonly encountered issues along with probable solutions.

10. Use your printer regularly

Last but not the least, it is necessary to use your printer regularly. Nothing can stop your cartridge from drying up when you don’t use your printer regularly. Hence, even if you don’t have regular work to print, it would still be a good idea to print a page or two occasionally to keep your printer in good health.

Leaving your printer untouched for days together will not only dry up the ink but also clog the print header causing severe damage. It is recommended that you do a full color print at least once in 10 days to ensure your cartridge doesn’t dry up.


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About the Author
Kylie Larson is a content wrangler, helping both small businesses and large organizations get their message up and out. When she's not writing and organizing online, you'll find her walking the dog, with a camera in hand, riding the Chicago blue line, and in the midst of a home renovation project that never ends. Connect with her at KylieLarson.com.
  1. Juris Ainsworth Reply

    It was nice how you informed that because heat can dry up the cartridge and cause clogging in the header, it’s best to turn the printer off when it’s not in use so as to avoid heating up. I will surely remind everyone of that tip because that seems to be the reason why the old printer broke. We’re in the process of buying a new one, and I want to make sure that we take every precaution needed for the new printer to last. Thank you.

  2. Julian Aka Reply

    Thanks for the tips and I can recommend them to my students.

  3. Ernest London Reply

    Thanks for the tips for taking care of a printer. I am planning on buying some new printers, and I want to make sure we can maintain them right. Thanks for mentioning to use your printer occasionally even if you have nothing to print, just to keep it from drying up. We will be sure to keep that in mind.

  4. Phillius Thomas Reply

    This article is well written, and I was able to get my printer actually working again. But, the video at the top isn’t working for me. Does it work for anyone else.

    • Kylie Larson Reply

      Phillius, we’ve updated the video link. Try it out now 🙂

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