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How To Counter Printer Ink Clogs And Smears

2010-07-23

To prevent printer ink clogs and smears, be sure to replace ink cartridges before the ink completely runs out. If your printer is still under warranty, it is best to change cartridges when your computer or printer indicates. If your printer is not under warranty, you can monitor ink levels manually. If you have transparent ink cartridges, you can lift the printer cover and note the amount of ink left in the cartridges. When there is only a paper-thin layer of ink left, replace the cartridges. With opaque cartridges, monitor the quality of your printed output. When the output begins to fade, and you need professional quality printouts, it may be best to replace cartridges then. If you do not need professional quality output, at least have new cartridges on hand when quality begins to fade and replace cartridges when your output begins to be sporadic.

If you don't replace your cartridges before the ink completely runs out, then your printer head may become clogged due to dried up ink. When this happens you will need to clean your printer head. You can do this either through the printer's self-cleaning feature, or manually.

Almost all printers come with a self-cleaning feature. This feature can be executed through the Control Panel in Windows, or from the printer itself. To execute it through the Windows Control Panel, click on the "Printers" icon. Right-click on the printer you want to clean and click on "Properties" in the menu. After this, click on "Printing Preferences" under the "General" tab. Then, click on the "Utilities" tab and select the head cleaning option. To execute the cleaning feature through the printer, you will want to check in your printer's user manual for instructions. For some printers, it's as easy as holding down the Resume button until you hear a number of beeps.

To manually clean the print head, take out the ink cartridges and use a water-dipped cotton swab to wipe off the head. Some printers have removable print heads. You can take these off and soak them in a small dish or basin of water for an hour or so. Allow the head to air dry and then attach it back to the printer.

If your printer ink smears, again, the head could be clogged and you will want to clean it. It could also be that you are not using the right kind of paper. Use paper that is compatible with your printer type. Finally, there may be something wrong with your ink cartridge. Try replacing it with a new one to see if this solves the problem. Careful maintenance can help you avoid printer ink clogs and smears.

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