How to Make Inkjet Print Head Cleaning Solution

By Melissa King

Save money by making your own print head cleaning solution.
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In a Canon printer, the ink cartridges sit in a removable print head that, over time, gets clogged with dried ink and other debris. Several companies offer print head cleaning solution that dissolves the dried ink. When you run a business, though, every dollar counts. If you want to save money, try making your own print head cleaning solution. The solution costs pennies to make and delivers results comparable to a commercial cleaning product.

Fill a glass jar three-fourths of the way full with clean distilled or bottled water. If you don't have pure water available, cover the top of the jar with a paper coffee filter. Run tap water through the filter into the jar to remove debris and impurities.

Measure out 15 milliliters of isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol and add it to the jar.

Add one drop of liquid dish soap to the mixture. Use only plain soap. Don't use concentrated liquid soap or soap that contains antibacterials, lotion or other additives.

Stir the mixture well with a spoon to thoroughly blend the ingredients.

Remove the print head from the Canon printer. Remove the ink cartridges from the print head and set them aside. Place the cartridges in a sealed plastic bag to prevent leaking.

Fold up a few paper towels and lay them on the bottom of a shallow dish or pan.

Warm the cleaning solution in the microwave for about one minute. This will help the solution break up dried ink more effectively.

Pour 1/2 inch of the warmed solution into the bottom of the dish.

Set the print head on top of the paper towels. Wait a few minutes as the solution dissolves ink. You should see the ink releasing into the solution. Shake the print head gently after several minutes, and then move it to a different spot in the dish.

Remove the print head from the dish and shake off excess solution. Set it on a clean paper towel to dry before putting it back into the printer.

Items you will need

  • Glass jar

  • Bottled water

  • Coffee filter (optional)

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Spoon

  • Plastic bag (optional)

  • Paper towels

  • Shallow dish


You can also make an effective solution by mixing equal parts pure water and ammonia.

If the print head is severely clogged, allow it to soak for up to four hours.