The most common problems we see with printers are nozzle clogs as opposed to actual deterioration of the head.

If the nozzles are more than 70% clogged, in a cluster, do not waste money on cleaning cartridges. Extensive power cleanings at this point are a waste of ink, and no brand of cleaner will unclog these nozzles.

If your nozzle drop out, rather, is random, and there are more than 30% of nozzles firing, you can use cleaning cartridges, but we first recommend trying our cleaner.

If you take the head out of the printer, do not inject fluid into the head. You can destroy the membrane and short circuit the electronics by that action. Follow our guide to head cleaning to be sure your head is cleaned thoroughly and properly.

If our cleaner fails to unclog the nozzles and the supposed clog is in a cluster, especially a center cluster, the head may not be clogged at all, but internally damaged. In this case, we suggest you buy a new printer with a two year extended warranty. Proper care and maintenance of your new printer should keep it functioning for many years to come. If something unrelated to clogging happens, the warranty allows you to get the printer repaired no matter what happens. Otherwise, head replacement alone has become prohibitively expensive, and we suggest a full replacement printer.

Fixing Clogs with American Inkjet System’s Cleaning Fluid

First, you’ll need to reach the print heads on your printer. See our guide to accessing print heads for instructions on your specific printer.

Once you have access to the print heads, take the cleaner and spray four squirts on each of the pads, or just the one that is associated with the clog. After placing the cleaner on the capping station, move the head back onto it and leave it there for half an hour. Repeat the process after four hours.

Then perform a nozzle check. If only a few nozzles are unclogged, you can loosen the cap and heat the cleaner in a microwave for twelve seconds. Repeat the process again.

If the clog isn’t clearing after this process, you may assume the head is permanently damaged, and we suggest buying a new printer.

If you do see an improvement, but the clogs are not cleaning significantly, the next step is to flush the head using a tinted cleaning cartridge. You’ll need two cleaning cartridges—the one that is clogged and the color that is paired together. You may need to perform many cleanings before the clog clears, so using cleaning cartridges can save you a good deal of money in wasted ink.

Once again, if this doesn’t clear the clogs, the head may be damaged. If you see improvements, keep performing this process over a few days until all the nozzles are all firing.