How to Fix a Clogged Epson Printer

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Has your Epson inkjet printer ever clogged up on you?  As you know, this can be horribly frustrating.  This article provides quick and helpful information for solving this problem and getting you back up on your feet again.  This info can be a huge help if you need to finish your printing project quickly.How to Fix a Clogged Epson Printer
By []Bob Stephens

Epson printers have proven to be among the best inkjet
printers in the world in terms of performance and
economy.  That being said, there are also crucial
maintenance requirements to remember when using
your printer.

Epson printing technology is unique, so it is helpful to
understand some of the basic mechanics of the ink
delivery system.

The print head built into the carriage.  The carriage
holds the ink cartridges and moves laterally across the
paper when printing.  The print head contains
thousands of tiny nozzles that actually squirt the ink onto
paper.  The print head is the ink “control center” for the

By far, the biggest issue with Epson printers is their
tendency for the print heads to become clogged with
ink.  Since the nozzles are (depending on the model) a
fraction of the size of a human hair, it is easy to see how
clogging can become an issue.

I. Signs that your printer may be clogged

A. Full cartridge but no ink coming out on printed paper
B. Broken or white horizontal lines
C. Print becomes faint, then disappears completely on
within first page but the cartridge is not empty.
D. Printed material comes out in one or two colors only

The first and best way to keep your Epson printer in
good condition and free from clogs is to print regularly.
The more you print the less problems you will have.

Printing regularly keeps the ink in the print head moving
and fresh; preventing the ink from drying.  Printing at
least a page a week of black text and a page containing
all three colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) is good for
maintaining top printing performance.

Here is a link to a tune up pattern we recommend to use
once a week if you do not print very often with your
Epson printer.


The second defense against clogs is to make sure that
you power down your printer using its’ power button
instead of the off switch on a power strip. This is
especially important if you do not print at least once a
week.  Turning your printer off with your power strip
prevents the printers’ built in shut down process from
sealing the print head.

If the print head is not sealed, the ink will slowly dry and
harden in the print head.  Eventually, the ink will dry and
turn to the consistency of maple syrup or even putty.
When this happens, the print head will partially or
completely clog.

The next preventative tip is to remember to always keep
a cartridge installed in the printer.

If you run out of ink, and take the empty cartridge with
you to your local office supply store, make sure you
replace it promptly.  The ink will dry wherever exposed
to the air, including in the ink-receptacle area where you
just removed the cartridge from the carriage.

Try not to take a cartridge out of the carriage unless you
are replacing it within a couple minutes.

If you have received this article a day late and found that
you have a clog, don’t despair, there is hope.

Start with the easiest solution, try running a cleaning
cycle using your printer utilities program.  A few
cleaning cycles (or cartridge priming cycle) will usually
clear any air bubbles from a cartridge change or a small
clog from the nozzles.

Select the utility tab (it might also be named
“Maintenance”) and there you’ll find the head cleaning
tool and nozzle check.  Run the head cleaning cycle,
then a nozzle check after to see the progress.  Repeat
these two steps 1- 4 times as until clear.

There is said to be a small chance of damaging the print
head if multiple cleanings are performed consecutively
without a nozzle check, so make sure to remember to
do both

If no success there are still a couple of things you can

Option # 1. You can try using ammonia (or Windex is ok
also) with a cotton swab. Basically, you’ll need to first
remove the cartridge of the color that’s giving you
problems. Put some ammonia in the top of the
printhead (the carriage part in the printer) and let it sit
overnight. Also put a little more ammonia in the
printhead-resting seat. (The rubber part that seals off the
printhead unit when in it’s resting position.)

You will also take an ammonia dampened cotton swab
and try gently wiping off the bottom part of the printhead
(the end closest to the paper)

You can also take an old, inkjet cartridge and drill a hole
in it, clean it out with the ammonia, fill it back up with
ammonia and seal the hole.  Put the improvised
cleaning back in place and then run a few cleaning
cycles or a long print routine.  Then replace with regular
cartridge to see if any progress has been made.  Be
warned that this could get messy, so have paper towels

The final option to fix a stubborn clog is to use a specific
cleaner called “Print Head Clog Buster” which is made
specifically for this purpose.

It’s a 1 ounce bottle of cleanser that also comes with a
plastic tube syringe for shooting cleaner directly through
the printhead ports (works much better than a q-tip). It
also comes with detailed instructions on how to use it.
This is specially formulated, and works very well for
stubborn clogs.

Hopefully this information will keep your Epson printing
for years to come.

Remember… print weekly, and enjoy your printer for
years to come.

Bob Stephens is director of operations for ASAP Inkjets, and an
authority on inkjet technology & mechanics.  ASAP Inkjets offers
inkjet cartridges and laser toner at up to 80% below retail.
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