Bring a Printer cartridge Back to Life! (Sometimes)

 Use your printer much?

Many people don’t. The problem with inkjet printers (The type most home users have) is that they use water-based liquid ink. This ink can, and often will, dry out in the nozzles of the printer, clogging them. These nozzles are about 1/10 the diameter of a human hair! As you can imagine, they can be hard to unclog.

Sometime in the 1990s, when inkjet printers were still a bit mysterious to some folks, a well known electronics retail chain (Whose initials are RS) came out with an inkjet printer cleaning kit, containing a one-ounce bottle of “Inkjet printer cleaning solution” and some swabs. This kit sold for around six dollars. Upon close examination, I discovered that the “Cleaning Solution” was nothing more than distilled water! Let’s see… Six dollars times 128 ounces… That’s 768 dollars a gallon for distilled water!! Great scam if you can work it.

Water is, however, the best cleaner for inkjet printers. You just don’t have to pay 768 dollars a gallon for it. In fact, tap water works fine.

If you have a printer cartridge that hasn’t a lot of mileage on it but has started making sub-par prints, try running the cartridge cleaning utility that’s built in to your printer first (Consult your owner’s manual for the exact procedure). Run it 2 or 3 times if you need to.

If this doesn’t help, there is one more thing you can try. If you have ink cartridges (the nozzles are part of the ink cartridge; most HP printers are like this), remove the cartridge from the printer, fill a saucer with warm water to a depth of no more than 1/4 inch, and submerge just the nozzles (at the bottom of the cartridge; looks like a metallic stripe) in the water for about a half hour. Remove and pat dry (try not to wipe!) with a clean paper towel.

If you have ink tanks (There is a nipple-like appendage on the bottom of the cartridge; many Canon and other brands), you will have to remove the print head; This is the part the tanks go into. Soak the nozzles of the print head as described above.

After performing this procedure, you will have to run the cleaning routine again (cartridges) or possibly the ink priming routine (Tanks). Pretend it’s a brand new tank and have the printer do it’s thing.

While this doesn’t always work, hopefully you’ll be able to get more life out of your expensive printer cartridges with this simple trick.

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