How to Troubleshoot Vertical Black Stripes on a Brother Fax

By Melissa King

Damaged parts can cause vertical lines on printouts.
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Your Brother fax machine sends business documents to clients and customers around the world. Occasionally, vertical black lines appear on your received faxes. This happens when dust, dirt or other debris gets stuck on the scanner unit. A dirty or misplaced corona wire, located on the fax machine's drum unit, can also cause black lines, or you may have a faulty toner cartridge. Cleaning the fax machine or replacing the toner cartridge typically gets rid of black stripes.

Clean the Scanner Unit

Disconnect the telephone cord and the power cord from the back of the Brother fax machine and the electrical outlet.

Lift up the control panel cover on the front of the fax machine.

Dampen a lint-free cloth with rubbing alcohol. Wipe off any dirt or debris stuck on the flat white pressure bar. Wet the cloth again and wipe the scanner's glass strip.

Close the control panel cover. Reconnect the power cord, then reconnect the telephone cord.

Replace Toner and Clean Corona Wire

Press the front cover release button on the top of the fax machine. Pull open the front cover.

Hold the fax machine down with one hand and grasp the drum unit inside the machine with your other hand. Pull the drum unit out and up. Set the drum unit on a paper towel to avoid stains from leaked toner.

Push down the blue lock lever on the right side of the drum unit. The drum unit pops open.

Remove the toner cartridge from the drum unit and seal it in a plastic bag.

Hold a new toner cartridge in both hands and gently shake it back and forth a few times to even out the toner.

Remove the protective cover on the front of the cartridge. Set the cartridge in the drum unit and press down gently until you hear it lock in place and the lock lever lifts.

Slide the blue tab on the top of the drum unit right and left a few times to clean the corona wire. When finished cleaning, return the blue tab to the home position on the left side of the drum unit. If you don't do this, vertical stripes will appear on printouts.

Replace the drum unit and toner cartridge into the fax machine, then close the front cover.

Items you will need

  • Lint-free cloth

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Paper towel

  • Plastic bag

  • Toner cartridge


Don't throw used toner cartridges in the trash. Call your local waste disposal facility and ask where you can dispose of the cartridge.

If the troubleshooting processes doesn't fix the problem, contact Brother customer service (link in Resources).


Do not clean the control panel with rubbing alcohol. Doing so may crack the panel.