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How to Clean an Epson Printhead

How to Clean Your Epson Printhead

Epson printers are one of the most widely used printers all over the world.  The printer makes the printing process simple and easy in addition to a range of connectivity features which makes it compatible with various devices.

There’s more than one method to clean your print head so, let’s us go through them one by one:

First: Printhead cleaning cycles

It might be a bit of a surprise that Epson is aware of the clogging issues the consumers experience. This is why they worked on developing efficient cleaning cycles.

I will explain to you the steps to start a cleaning cycle, however, you should keep in mind that these cycles consume more time and ink in the newer models of the printers.

Also, before you follow these steps, make sure that your printer is not giving you any alerts or errors.

  1. Press the home bottom.
  2. Select “set up”.
  3. Select “maintenance”.
  4. Then select “printhead nozzle check”.- You will then get a page printed from your printer with 4 colored grids. This reflects which nozzles are blocked and which are not.- Check if there are any gaps.
  5. Press “done” if no gaps are present.
  6. Select ”Clean the printhead” if you can see gaps on the previously printed paper.

Important tips:

  •  As mentioned before, the printer runs a mini-cleaning cycle when it’s turned on so please make sure to turn your printer off at the end of the day.
  • You should never turn the printer off in the middle of its cleaning process as this can permanently damage it.
  • To save your ink from drying, make sure to print several colored pages every once in a while. It’s recommended that you do this at least once a week to avoid drying the ink in the nozzle.
  • Only use high-quality cartilage.
  • Never run more than 3 cleaning cycles because this will increase the ink consumption and also, the ink smears on the printhead making your issue even worse.
  • You can print several pages after the third cycle aiming to clean the nozzle.
  • If this didn’t work, then leave your printer to rest for 6 hours (as recommended by Epson) before you run a new cleaning cycle.
  • If all the previous fails and you are still under your warranty then in my humble opinion, it’s better to contact Epson help center, if not then move on to manual cleaning.

Secondly: Manual Cleaning

If all trials to get your nozzle unclogged by running cleaning cycles, you can resort to using one of the following:

1.Cleaning the ink port with distilled water or a printhead cleaner

Follow the following steps:

  1. Turn off your printer.
  2. Open the printer top.
  3. Remove the ink cartilages.

You should be able to see small cone-shaped indents. These are the ink ports that withdraw the ink from the cartilage. Use a plastic syringe or an eye dropper with a few drops of the distilled water or the cleaner to clean the ports.

Don’t put the cleaner to all the ports, only use is on the ports that are clogged on the bottom of which you will be able to see color residues.

  • When you are done, replace the ink cartilages. Your printer will set up the new cartilages.
  • Wipe off any solution that comes out from the printhead.
  • Print several pages to test your printer. the sponges with distilled water

Please follow the following steps:

  • Turn off your printer.
  • Open the printer top.

You will be able to see the printhead assembly, on the left side, there should be a plastic rod lever.

– Press the plastic lever downward and forward and then push it to the right side until it comes to a stop.

You will hear a click sound indicating that you have released the printhead assembly.

If you can’t see the lever then print a page with the top open and unplug the printer when the assembly is in the center and unlocked.

You should now be able to see the sponges.

  • Use a plastic syringe or an eyedropper to saturate the sponges with distilled water.
  • After you are done, move the assembly back over the sponges to the right as far as it can go.
  • It’s recommended that you leave your printer overnight but a couple of hours are just fine.
  • Print several pages allowing your pages to come out clean.

3.Using paper towels to clean the print head

Please follow the following steps:

  1. Turn off your printer.
  2. Open your printer.
  3.  Look for a rubber roller (used to transfer the paper across the feed system).
  4.  Put a folded sheet of paper towel to the roller and secure it with a tape.
  5. Drop some distilled water to the center of the towel.
  6.  Move the printhead assembly over the towel and leave it for a good 10 minutes so that the ink dried dissolves.When you remove the towel, you will be able to see black ink on it which is a combination of all the colors in your printer
  7. Repeat the process several times until you start seeing separate colors on the towel.
  8. When you are done, make sure to move the printhead assembly back to its original position.
  9. Print several pages until you get good results.

How To Know Your Nozzle Is Clogged?

When the printhead is clogged, the prints are coming out faint, streaked or with faded lines. It’s something that you can’t avoid because, even though Epson printers have permanent built-in printheads, over time, small amounts of ink residues dry up and collect in the nozzles.

Using a compatible Epson cartilage is not a reason; you can still get blocked nozzles while using an original Epson cartilage. A lot of times the cleaning cycles of the printer are not enough to get rid of the blockage.

Even if you are someone who readily replaces their ink cartilage whenever they see the low ink notification, chances are you are delaying a clog a little but not avoiding the issue completely.

And if you are considering replacing your printhead after your warranty has expired, well, I’ll have you know that a new printhead is way more expensive than a new printer.

Why Does Your Nozzle Get Clogged?

It’s always better to avoid the issue rather than fix it. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common reason why you get clogs in the first place:

  • You Don’t Change Your Ink Cartilage On The Right Time

The sensible thing to do is to replace the ink cartilage the minute you get the low ink notification. However, a lot of people keep using it anyways until they see the faint or streaked printouts.

The problem with this is that whenever you replace the old cartilage with a new one, your printer starts the priming process. In short, the priming process is the printer’s way to adapt to the new ink by pushing it through the nozzle to get rid of the air.

Sometimes, the printer pushes more ink than it should, that you end up with smudges of ink all over the printhead. This makes the blockage even worse.

  • You Don’t Turn Off The Printer When The Printing Process Is Over Or You Are Not Using Your Printer On A Regular Basis

When you don’t turn off the printer the ink inside it dries up. Starting your printer triggers the printer to prepare the ink and begin a mini cleaning cycle to get your ink ready and flowing again.

Something else that you should be aware of is that Epson printers tend to clog more than other printers so as not to sacrifice the printing quality. To elaborate, decreasing the nozzle size increases its printing quality meanwhile; it increases the chances of getting clogged. So, you do the math.

In conclusion:

Cleaning your printer is essential and inevitable. You need to avoid the common mistakes that cause your nozzles to block like turning off your printer when you finish printing as well as using your printer regularly.

When it comes to cleaning your printer, it’s better to run the cleaning cycles designed for cleaning the printhead by Epson. If it didn’t work, you can use plastic syringes or eyedroppers containing distilled water to clean the printhead, the ink ports, or even the sponges.

Don’t hesitate to contact Epson help center if you have any troubles especially if you are still under warranty.   

1 thought on “How to Clean an Epson Printhead”

  1. Hi, I have a SC- P 600 printer and I am having difficulty in clearing two clogged colours.
    Tried everything of the above.
    In the beginning I have only one clogged nozzle. Now i have two.

    Do I continue cleaning printer head and nozzles?
    Does it damage the printer?


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