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How Nozzle Cleaning Can Save Your Printer Ink

2010-07-20

One common problem that inkjet printers encounter is ink drying on the nozzles of the cartridges. This can cause the cartridges to clog, which actually winds up costing users printer ink. However, regular nozzle cleaning is simple to do and can minimize the possibility of wasted ink.

Most inkjet printers have some sort of system in place that helps reduce the chances of printer ink drying on the nozzles - usually rubber caps that fit over the nozzles when the printer is not in use, thus keeping the ink moist for the next print job. These caps don't fit perfectly, however, and so eventually the ink will slowly start to dry out, especially if the printer is not used often. If the cartridges do not fit into the caps for some reason - for example, if the printer was suddenly unplugged in the middle of a print job - the drying will only be exacerbated. That is why it is best not to suddenly unplug or turn off a printer.

As the printer ink dries, eventually the nozzle will get clogged. This will adversely affect the quality of print jobs and many users waste ink on repeated print jobs when they do not realize clogged cartridges are the cause of the spotty, line-ridden quality of their projects. If left unfixed, clogged nozzles can cause ink to splatter over the interior of the printer, further wasting printer ink.

Many inkjet printers have an automated nozzle cleaning function. Basically, this involves forcefully spraying ink out of all the cartridges at once in an attempt to flush out any blockages, as well as to re-moisten the tips of the nozzles. Some printers also utilize the rubber caps to suck out anything blocking the nozzles.

Naturally, this automated nozzle cleaning process also uses up a lot of ink. Thus, it's best to disable a printer's automatic nozzle cleaning routine and use other methods to keep an inkjet printer clog-free. The easiest way is to simply use the printer regularly, even if it's just to print a test sheet - that way the ink won't have a chance to dry out. It's also a good idea to be cautious of generic printer inks, if not avoid them altogether. They may have a slightly different consistency than the name brands, designed specifically for that particular printer. Ink that is too thin may dry out too quickly while ink that is too thick is more likely to clog. Finally, if the cartridge still ends up needing to be cleaned, dripping a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on the nozzle heads and gently cleaning them with a cotton swab will loosen up any dried printer ink.

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