How to Clean Your Print Head with Windows XP or Vista

by Tammy

How to Clean Your Print Head with Windows XP/Vista

If your printer has started adding lines or showing too much green or pink while printing, you might need to clean the printhead. There are two ways to do this. One is to manually clean the print head by hand. And the other is the easier trick of instructing Windows to do it.

Step 1

In XP, click your Start button, then choose "Printers and Faxes" in the list. If it isn’t there, go to your computer’s Control Panel and click on "Printers and Other Hardware," and then "Printers and Faxes." (For Classic View, you can go straight to "Printer and Faxes" in your Control Panel.) Continue to Step 2.

In Vista, click Start button and Control Panel, then select Hardware and Sound » Printer. (For Classic View, just click "Printers.")

Step 2

Highlight your printer by clicking it once, then right-click on the printer icon and choose "Properties." In the box that pops up, select the "Maintenance" tab at the top.

Step 3

Depending on your printer brand (Canon is used for this article), there are usually four options you can try here. They are listed as Cleaning, Deep Cleaning, Print Head Alignment, and Nozzle Check.

If your print-outs are showing lines, click Print Head Alignment and follow the instructions onscreen. Make sure the printer is turned on, with paper. You will compare the print-out with the one on your computer, and, hopefully, it will correct the problem. If not, try the alignment again.

If you’re seeing too much of a particular color, like pink or green, this normally means your print head nozzles are clogged. Try the Cleaning option a couple times first, and then try the Deep Cleaning. Both will use ink, but the Deep Cleaning will consume the most.

When cleaning is done, click to print a Nozzle Check and compare it with the one on your screen.

Step 4

These few instructions should fix whatever printing problem you may have, but if it hasn’t, it’s time to go manual. For this, you will need specific instructions for your particular printer, so try a search on the web, and you’re certain to find what you need. It isn’t really a difficult process, but be prepared for it to take 1 or 2 days to complete.

You can also buy a new printhead for around $50 or so. They do wear out over time, so you might consider the purchase to be less stressful.

Step 5

Go back to being a happy printer and print away!