How To Clean Clogged Inkjet Print Heads

Clogging in the inkjet print head is caused by a lot of things, the most common of which is non-usage of the printer for a long period of time, causing the ink to dry in the holes of the print head. When the print head is clogged, you either have to buy a new ink cartridge or clean the print head. Fortunately, cleaning clogged inkjet print head is pretty simple to do. Here’s how you can do this.

  • Run the cleaning utility program. Your printer has a cleaning utility program used specifically for printer maintenance and troubleshooting. Make use of it. You might have to run it for around five times or more, depending on how clogged the print head is. Do a test print after every two to three runs. Continue operating the cleaning utility program until the printer works well again.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol. If the inkjet print head is so clogged up that the utility program can’t fix it, you might need to apply isopropyl alcohol to dissolve the dried ink. Remember, however, that this works only if the print head is built in the cartridge, as in the case of HP printers. You can use isopropyl alcohol in two ways. One, take the print head out of the cartridge and soak it in isopropyl alcohol. You may have to leave it for 10 minutes to half a day or until the dried ink is completely removed from the print head. Two, put around 10 drops of alcohol into the ink cartridge. Alcohol will find its way to the print head and unclog it. After treating the print head with isopropyl alcohol, do test prints. The printer quality should have noticeable improvements.
  • Try using ammonia. Ammonia will also work to dissolve the dried ink. To use this, first mix ammonia and hot water in equal amounts. Then, remove the ink cartridge from your computer. Using a syringe, squirt a small amount of ammonia into the connectors found in the ink cartridge. Wait a while until the ammonia settles in. Next, place the cartridge back into the printer and run the cleaning utility program. Make test prints. Your printer should be working again after applying ammonia.
  • Make use of a cleaning solution. Some find window cleaning solution effective in cleaning clogged printer head. You can use this with ink. Ideally, you should put one part cleaning solution and one part ink in the cartridge. Never put too much cleaning solution, as it will bleed into the paper when you print, potentially causing problems in paper feeding. Now, load the cartridge into the printer and start to print. When the mixture runs out, immediately refill the cartridge with ink and window cleaner. You don’t necessarily have to take the cartridge out when you refill.

Always use a cloth or paper towel when working with fluids. This is so that you can immediately wipe off leaks and spills, especially in the ink cartridge and print head area. Remember also to turn off and unplug your printer when cleaning the printer head to avoid electrical accidents.


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