The office printer can be your best coworker, or your worst nightmare whenever it jams just when that important document is due. For most people, a printer jam is a cause of frustration and, at times, desperation for the printer in hopes that it will finally print that document for you.
Still, the cause behind why the printer jams is often due to an accumulation of dust that has rendered the device slower and more prone to glitching. While cheaper printers may have underlying problems with their manufacturing, reputable printer brands may glitch due to stuck dirt or dried ink from a leak in an ink cartridge.
Cleaning a printer means to clean both its interior and exterior units, and these may be done in simple ways. However, a deeper cleaning and diagnostics of the issue of your office printer may require professional services instead.
How to Clean a Printer
In this article, we’ll show you how to clean your printer easily in its exterior and interior. Most printers have their own cleaning function, so you can clean the internal mechanisms of your printer as well.
Whether you have an inkjet printer or a laser printer, knowing how to clean a printer is a good routine for maintaining the cleanliness of your device. Your printer should last longer, work better, and are less likely to glitch.
How to Clean Printer Exterior
Cleaning the printer exterior is a snap. Simply take a dampened cloth, and give the printer a wipe down, making sure to go over the sheet feeder, output tray, cords, and copy tray if your printer has one.
The output tray and sheet feeder typically gain a substantial amount of dust throughout usage, and these have ridges to keep the paper from flying off the device. These ridges will need to be cleaned thoroughly to ensure a full clean of your office printer.
Use a soft microfiber cloth to keep fibres from entering the interior of your printer, and for ink stains and deep-seated dirt, a mild solution of water and dish soap works wonders in removing any stubborn marks.
Also read: How to Clean Your Office Desk
How to Clean Printer Interior
The printer interior is what differentiates a laser printer from an inkjet printer. The main difference is the need for ink cartridges, which only inkjet printers rely on to print documents. Laser printers, on the other hand, use toner instead of ink, and are generally more expensive.
First, unplug the printer to avoid electrical shock. Open the cartridge cover based on the manufacturer’s instructions and carefully remove any cartridges that are in the way.
For inkjet models, the interior can get sullied by ink blots and leaks coming from cartridges. To clean out the ink, first know whether the ink is water or alcohol based, as the medium used to clear away the ink will differ. Water-based cartridges can be cleaned with a mild soap solution on a dampened cloth, making sure to avoid dripping water into the printer.
Alcohol-based cartridges can be cleaned using a cotton round or swap dipped in alcohol, wiping away ink-stained areas until all the excess ink has been cleared away. Let the alcohol dry before replacing the cartridges back into the printer.
For laser printers, which do not get ink splatters, you can take a dry or damp soft cloth and wipe the interior free of dust and dirt. Be careful not to hit any interior mechanical parts to avoid breaking the unit.
How to Clean Printer Mechanisms
The print head is what comes in contact with the ink, and can get crusted with dried ink over time, causing a significant decrease in print quality. Print head cleaning is an easy task that can be done every month or so to keep the printer in good working order. For inkjet printers, which use ink cartridges to print, the ink cartridge may have a leak that is ruining the quality of printing.
For print head cleaning, first print a test page to see if the print head needs to be cleared of any excess ink in an inkjet printer. For laser printers, the print head may not get dried ink, but can accumulate dust all the same and you will need to do print head cleaning periodically.
Your printer should have come with a printer software available for installation or download, which controls printer functions like scanning, copying, printing, and cleaning. The cleaning feature will print a test page after cleaning, so you can check on whether the print heads have been cleared of any debris blocking it.
How to Keep Your Printer Clean
The majority of the population have a love-hate relationship with their printer. However, these technological marvels require maintenance to function properly, and will need to be cleaned every so often to keep it in good working condition.
Besides cleaning, the printer requires maintenance on its usage. Like every other device, printers need to be handled properly to keep it from breaking down, and to keep it pristine, especially in regards to its ink cartridges. Follow our guide on proper printer usage to ensure that your printer is functioning properly and is keeping clean:
- Place a fabric or plastic covering on top of the printer, making sure not to cover any functional parts or vents as it may cause overheating.
- Wash the fabric cover or wipe clean the plastic covering often to keep dust from accumulating on the surface.
- Check the print quality of documents for ink smudges, as this indicates a need for internal cleaning using the printer’s cleaning print function.
- Some inkjet models have an ink tank instead of an ink cartridge, which will need to be cleaned between refills to ensure there is no dried ink stored in the unit.
- Maintain a cleaning cycle for your printer when you plan to clean the print heads.
- Do not throw away printer manuals and guides as they are kept for reference during usage.
- Do not hit or slap the printer out of frustration, as this not only can cause the printer to break down, it also shakes dust to fall into the interior of the printer.
While cleaning your printer, why not clean the rest of your office devices as well? Check out our blog for guides on how to clean your office supplies and devices so you can keep working unhindered!
Read more: How to Clean Office File Cabinet Drawers