How to Clean a Pixma Print Head

by Amanda TromleyUpdated September 26, 2017
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Your Canon Pixma printer will develop a clogged print head eventually; it’s just one of the headaches that come with the convenience of desktop publishing. Poor print quality is generally the result of dried ink caked on one or more print heads. Fortunately, Canon printers have two cleaning cycles designed to loosen and break away that pesky buildup. Usually the regular cleaning cycle will be enough to clear the print heads, but if your prints are still streaked or faded, use the deep cleaning cycle.

Turn on the printer.

Open the Printers folder: In Windows 7, click on the “Start” menu in the lower left-hand corner of your screen, and then click “Devices and Printers.” Right-click on your printer’s icon and select “Printing Preferences.”

In Vista, go to the “Start” menu, select “Control Panel,” “Hardware and Sound,” and then “Printers.” If you are in “Classic View,” click “Printers” directly from the Control Panel. Right-click on your printer’s icon and select “Preferences.”

In XP Home Edition, click on the “Start” menu, and go to the “Control Panel.” Click on “Printers and Other Hardware” and select “Printers and Faxes.” Right click on your printer’s icon and select “Preferences.”

In XP Professional Edition, go to the “Start Menu” and select “Printers and Faxes.” Right click on your printer’s icon and select “Preferences.”

Click on the “Maintenance” tab in the “Preferences” window, and then click “Cleaning.”

Click “OK” in the resulting dialog box to start the print head cleaning process.

Click the “Print Check Pattern” button after cleaning has finished. Examine the printed check-pattern page to determine if further cleaning is needed; if so, continue to the next step.

Click the “Exit” button to return to the “Maintenance” tab.

Click the “Deep Cleaning” button.

Click “Execute” and then “OK” to start the deep-cleaning cycle.

Print another check pattern after the deep cleaning is finished. The power light will stop blinking and light solid when the cleaning cycle is complete.


If your printer is still performing poorly after cleaning and deep cleaning your print heads, there may be something else wrong with the print heads. Contact Canon for additional support.


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About the Author

Educated at the Elkhart Area Career Center in Indiana, Amanda Tromley has worked as an illustrator and graphic designer for more than 10 years. Additionally, she writes and designs a blog that provides tips, tutorials, and tools for professional and amateur artists. Tromley began writing professionally in 2007 with articles on a variety of topics appearing in print newsletters and popular websites, including eHow.

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