Think you can spare a few minutes to give your printer a little TLC? Doing so can assist in prolonging the life of your printer. By removing dust particles or ink smudges, your printer will work better and hopefully last longer as well. Cleaning your printer eliminates paper jams, ink blotches and abnormal lines. However, if you are careless when cleaning, you can permanently damage the printer.
Before you start cleaning, make sure the printer is cooled down. Unplug the printer also, just to be safe. You might want to try cleaning out the printer when you are replacing ink or toner cartridges, to avoid damage to existing cartridges.
Use a soft cloth to wipe the exterior of the printer. Dampen the cloth, not the printer, with a light liquid. Try distilled water or a light cleaner, but stay away from ammonia or alcohol as they can crack or damage the surface. It’s best to clean the outside of the printer first, while the cartridges and trays are still inside. This way, dust and other small debris don’t make their way inside.
The way you clean the inside of the printer will vary a bit between laser and inkjet printers. Most inkjet printers have cleaning processes that can be initiated from the software that accompanies the printer. This cleaning unclogs the printheads that shoot the ink. Other inkjet printers have cartridges with printheads on them, so the printhead gets replaced with each cartridge change and does not need to be regularly cleaned.
To remove dust and debris from the rollers, paper trays and other parts inside of the inkjet printer, use a small duster or damp cloth to gently wipe all of the parts down. If you are a fancier cleaner, you can use purchase tools such as a computer vacuum or cleaning sheet for a sparkling printer. For example, many printer companies manufacture their own cleaning supplies, such as the Xerox cleaning wipes shown here.
With laser printers, you can clean the inside parts the same as you would an inkjet printer, except a soft brush is recommended instead of cloth or a duster. If you don’t have a brush, make sure to steer clear of the mirror inside to avoid damaging scratches. Also, the transfer rollers are the only part of a laser printer than cannot and should not be cleaned!
The bottom line is that you have to be very careful when removing and replacing all parts. Remember to be gentle and leave out the elbow grease. Again, taking just a few minutes to detail your printer can improve the performance and add pages onto your printer’s life!