How to Unclog the Ink Jets in an HP Printer

by Tamara Runzel
Jupiterimages/ Images

Clogging in the ink jets of your HP printer can prevent you from completing high-quality print jobs. Clogged ink jets occur when your printer sits unused for too long. The ink deteriorates over time and dries up or turns to sludge. You'll generally know if you have clogged ink jets because your print jobs will show gaps in printing. Many newer printers have a function to clean the print cartridges automatically, but you can also clean them manually.

Automatic Cleaning

Step 1

Navigate to the "Windows" or "Start" icon at the bottom, left corner of your computer screen.

Step 2

Select "All Programs," "HP" and then "HP Solution Center." The HP Solution Center opens.

Step 3

Select "Settings" from the HP Solution Center.

Step 4

Select "Printer Toolbox" from the "Print Settings" area.

Step 5

Click "Clean the Print Cartridge(s)" on the "Device Services" tab.

Select "Clean" to begin the cleaning process. A test page will print when the cleaning process is complete.

Manual Cleaning

Step 1

Turn the printer on and remove the ink cartridges after they move to the center of the printer.

Step 2

Heat up enough water to cover half the print cartridge and put it in a bowl. Don't bring the water to a boil. Let the cartridge sit for a while to loosen any thick ink.

Step 3

Take the ink cartridge out of the water and let it dry.

Step 4

Dip a cotton swab in alcohol or ammonia and wipe the bottom and back of the ink cartridge. Alcohol and ammonia are solvents that will help dissolve ink that may be clogging the ink jet.

Wipe the nozzles inside the printer with a cotton swab and alcohol or ammonia to remove any dry ink that might have clogged in there. Allow everything to dry, then put the cartridges back in. Print a test page. If your test page still shows gaps in ink, clean the cartridges again.


Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images

About the Author

Tamara Runzel has been writing parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She is now a mom of three and home schools her two oldest children. Runzel holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.

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