How to Clean Laser Printer Print Heads

By Anthony Oster

Toner dust can stay in the air for hours prior to settling.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

Cleaning laser printer toner cartridges periodically can improve the quality of your print jobs while keeping your business' printer maintained for long-term use. Unlike cleaning inkjet printer heads, manual cleaning of toner cartridges can release potentially harmful toner particles in the air and requires special precaution to protect your health. Many laser printers have pre-programmed cleaning routines specific to each printer.

Unplug the printer and allow it to cool for one hour. Toner cartridges can be hot and may cause severe burns if not allowed to cool prior to cleaning.

Put on the safety goggles, ventilation mask and latex gloves.

Open your printer and remove the toner cartridge.

Pull the toner cloth gently several times to activate the cloth. Toner cloths are designed to capture loose toner particles in the air. Wipe the toner cartridge and head thoroughly with the toner cloth. Many toner cartridges have a protective cover over the print head that also should be cleaned.

Remove spilled toner inside and outside of the printer with the toner vacuum, taking care not to touch or break any exposed wires in the printer.

Reinstall the toner cartridge and power the printer on to resume normal use of your printer.

Items you will need

  • Ventilation Mask

  • Safety Goggles

  • Latex Gloves

  • Toner Cloth

  • Toner Vacuum


Consult your printer manufacturer to determine if an automatic cleaning option is available. Follow the manufacturer's cleaning program if available.


Breaking or damaging the internal wiring of your printer can permanently damage your printer.

Inhaling toner particles can cause severe health problems. Do not attempt to clean your printer without proper safety gear.