How Do I Clean a Scanner?

by Carol Finch

Over time, the scan quality of a scanner may deteriorate. This is often due to dust, dirt and oily fingermarks on the glass, lid or feeder. You may also have issues with toner smudges if you use an all-in-one machine or have a printer nearby. Typically, cleaning the scanner fixes these problems. If you schedule a regular cleaning, you may also prevent such problems from happening again. For example, Hewlett Packard recommends that you clean a scanner every three to six months, depending on how much you use it.

Clean the Exterior

Turn off the scanner and disconnect it from its power outlet. If the exterior is just a little dusty, wipe it off with a clean soft cloth. If it is dirty or the dust won't shift, use a slightly damp cloth. If you have to clean off greasy marks, add a drop of washing detergent to the damp cloth. Don't ever apply liquids directly to any part of the scanner -- if they leak inside, they could cause damage.

Clean the Glass

Wipe the scanner glass gently with a soft cloth to remove surface dust. If the glass is dirty or has greasy marks on it, add a little glass or window cleaner to a cloth -- don't put it directly on to the glass -- and wipe it down. Don't use cleaning products that contain acetone, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride as these may damage the scanner. Use a dry cloth to clean off residue or streaks and leave the screen to dry. It's also worth wiping down the back of the lid with a fresh, damp cloth to prevent it from transferring dust or dirt to the glass.

Clean Other Parts

If you don't have your manual, check online to see if the manufacturer has cleaning instructions for other parts. You can, for example, open and clean the feeder mechanism and/or remove the glass to clean the underside on some models. Don't remove or dismantle any part of the scanner unless the manufacturer recommends it and provides instructions in its manual or on its website. If you take a scanner apart without following guidelines, you might damage the machine and invalidate your warranty.

About the Author

Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images