How to Clean Printer Heads in 3 Easy Ways

It’s an incredible hassle for inkjet users if their printer heads get clogged quite easily, right?

A tiny amount of dust, dried ink, and also debris can easily clog the printhead. As a result, the paint doesn’t come out nicely, missing colors, white dots, and lines! Pretty annoying, I know, right?

It’s a kind of day-to-day work for an inkjet user to clean printer head by the manual cleaning procedure.

Some inkjet printers get clogged nozzle more quickly than other printers. Such as the Epson print heads give sharp prints, but they clog very easily. So, many people do not keep Epson printer head on the bucket list.

Canon Printers do not clog quite quickly as they have a deterrent printhead cleaning cycle.

Though clogged printheads are inevitable, you should be cleaning the printhead regularly, no matter what the brand is.

So, Where are these Print Heads?

The printhead of your inkjet is usually located at the bottom of the plastic container inside the printer. This is termed as printhead assembly.

This printhead assembly plays a prominent role in printing. As this part constantly moves back and forth with the help of a stabilizer bar, ensuring proper ink flow to inject ink in the required writings.

This part contains ink cartridges and a color cartridge that sprays different colors in the paper from the ink ports.

Different Kinds of Clogs of Ink Cartridges

As a regular user of Inkjet printer, you will encounter mainly three kinds of clogs.

  1. Simple clogs
  2. Difficult Clogs
  3. Hardcore Clogs

Simple clogs can be reduced by running a printhead cleaning cycle and nozzle check in the printer cartridge.

You might use the Windex method to clean the clogs where the printhead cleaning cycle does not work. Hardcore clogs are the most stubborn ones, as the Windex method doesn’t even work.

Print Head Cleaning: Simple Clogs

A print head unit has innumerable microscopic holes that bulge out tiny droplets of colored inks while the machine works. Also, the ink dries if you don’t run the inkjet printer regularly.

Besides, air bubbles inside the ink cartridges can block the nozzle. This can be cured by running a nozzle check and a head cleaning cycle.

One must run the head cleaning cycle two times before running the nozzle check.

It is seen that running the head cleaning cycle twice reduces the chances of missing lines or excessive spotting while printing. If this still happens, one must run the whole process once again.

Print Head Cleaning: Difficult Clogs

In the case of this type of clogs, you need to use warm water to loosen the dried ink inside the nozzle. Besides, another convenient way is the Windex process.

Sometimes ammonia-based cleaning solutions are used if the clog is really stubborn.

Paper Towel Solution

The steps that need to be followed are-

  1. Turn on your printer. It will start to run after installing its startup process. Then you need to unplug the printer as soon as the printheads begin to move along the carriage track. It will keep the printheads loose, which will allow you to move them or clean them properly.
  2. Then you must remove all the cartridges from the printer and wrap them in a plastic wrap them in plastic wraps, refraining from drying.
  3. Now taking a clean paper towel, you need to damp it with distilled water which is warm or cleaning fluid. Then taking the damp paper towel, one needs to clean the printhead thoroughly.

The Famous Windex Process of Print Head Cleaning

The classic and the best way- Windex process to clean ink cartridges and printer heads is described below:

  1. Keep the Damp paper towel below the printhead assembly carriage on the print track.
  2. Now move the printheads back and forth, and you will see that the inks are residing in the damp towel.
  3. The process, as mentioned above, needs to be repeated twice or thrice using a new damp cloth. It should be continued unless a clean sheet comes out.
  4. At last, replace the ink cartridges, have a test run, and check if everything goes smoothly.

Print Head Cleaning: Hardcore Clogs

It’s really depressing when you spend a thousand bucks to get a high-end printer, and it gets clogged more than your kitchen sink! Right?

High-end inkjet printers users usually face this problem more because it uses pigment ink. Besides, they also have ultra-microscopic printhead holes, which causes the printheads to get clogged easily.

To clean a hardcore clog, you will need to repeat the same process quite a few times. But in this case, you will have to remove the printhead assembly from the printer first.

Once the printhead assembly is out, there are a variety of options to clean the clogs.

  • The most common process is to soak the printheads in the cleaning solution, a mixture of water, paper towel, and ammonia. You need to wash it for several hours. Then one needs to clean the heads in running warm water.
  • The second one is named “blasting out.” This process involves needles and syringes and, obviously, the cleaning solution.

Print Head Cleaning: Clog Prevention

The following precautions can be taken to avoid clogs:

  1. Run your Inkjet Printer at least twice a week, and never use excess ink in the ink cartridge.
  2. You should clean printers at least twice a month with a cleaning solution and paper towel, even if they print correctly.
  3. Run thick papers sometimes to remove the excessive inks that are clogged inside the heads.
  4. Always stick with OEM ink cartridge.


So what do you think? Is it really that hassle to use an inkjet printer because of their print heads? I know the answer must be yes. Though clogged print heads are the most faced problems to use ink cartridges among the users, many other issues are also.

Clogged print heads are inevitable, you can’t ignore them for a long time, but you can definitely reduce the chances of getting clogged print heads by taking precautions from the beginning by using cleaning solution and lint free cloth.

The given article has offered you detailed information about cleaning the inkjet printer if it gets clogged. So don’t worry, Happy Printing!