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5 Tips to Maintain Your Printer

These days, electronic devices are constantly being updated and upgraded, with the latest models boasting of their improvements over previous versions. And yet, although the newest generation of printers has more impressive capabilities than past models, printers remain notorious for giving users more trouble than almost any other part of their computer system.

The good news is that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. With a little knowledge on how to clean a printer, you can avoid the paper jams and printing errors that often make printers so frustrating to use. Here are five tips for printer maintenance that can help you to keep your all-in-one printer running smoothly and your printed documents looking professional and clean.

Be Safe

Anytime you are required to open the printer for maintenance, turn off the power and keep your hands clear of hot fusers and moving parts inside the printer. This will prevent unnecessary damage to the printer and to you.

Clean Printer Heads

At some point, you’ve probably seen a document come out of a printer with white lines running across the text or graphics that are missing ink, even though the cartridges are full. This means that the printer heads are clogged and need to be cleaned. Check out the manual that came with your printer or look on the manufacturer’s website to find out how to clean the printer heads on your particular model; many printers will self-clean with just a few clicks but can also be cleaned manually if you prefer. Just be careful not to clean the heads more often than necessary, as the cleaning process will use some ink.

Remove Dust and Debris

Build-up of dust, toner and other debris inside your printer can cause jams as well as streaks of ink that appear on papers where you don’t want them. A quick fix is to remove particles using a small vacuum. This is preferred over using canned air dusters because it removes the dust instead of spraying it around the inside of the printer. You can go further by using a cotton swab and purified water to clean the ink cartridges; most manufacturers will provide specific instructions in the printer manual or online. Be sure to read them because there are some parts of the cartridge you shouldn't swab.

Carefully Resolve Mechanical Errors

Like most products, your printer will last longer if you take good care of it; even an incorrectly resolved paper jam can lead to printing issues in the future. Instead of getting frustrated when a jam does occur and yanking the paper out, refer to the instructions that come with the printer to find the best way to fix a jam on your specific model. Usually, the best practice is to use both hands to slowly pull the jammed paper out of the printer to avoid leaving ripped paper behind or damaging the internal parts of the printer. You can also prevent jams by making sure the paper you load into the printer is not torn, dog-eared or stuck together and that the tray is not overfilled.

Invest in a Maintenance Kit

If you’re willing to spend a little money to extend the life of your printer, you can order a maintenance kit from your printer’s manufacturer when the original parts begin to show signs of wear. These kits may include a range of maintenance products from cleaning supplies to changeable printer parts such as rollers, which, when dirty or worn out, are a common culprit in printer jams.

Of course, no printer is perfect – there will be occasional jams, smudges and errors. But with a little bit of easy printer maintenance, it is possible to greatly reduce the occurrence of these problems and streamline your printing experience. Take a glance at our reviews of the top all-in-one printers and find the one that best suits your needs so you can put these tips into practice and enjoy happy, stress-free printing.

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