Introduction: Cleaning Canon Printheads

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The main benefit of printers with individual color (C/M/Y/K) cartridges is that it's a lot cheaper to buy new cartridges. The cartridges are not much more than a container with ink; the real printing happens via the printhead inside the printer. This is great but a little troublesome if the printhead requires cleaning for some reason. You can tell the printer to run a cleaning program but this uses up a lot of ink and is often not very effective.

Today we are going to show you a simple way to remove the printhead from inside your Canon printer and do a manual cleaning. This can be very effective for clogged printheads and solves most print quality issues. If you have a Canon printer with an internal printhead (usually all printers with more than 2 cartridges) this guide is for you!

This article original appeared on the Blog and has been translated exclusively for Instructables.

Step 1: Open the Printer and Remove the Cartridges

The first and easiest step is to open your printer and remove all cartridges. This depends on the model but usually opening the printer means the carriage will position itself to allow you to remove the cartridges.

Step 2: Remove the Printhead From the Printer

The cartridges are placed on the printhead. We want to remove this printhead from the printer. On our (pictured) model there is a grey lever that needs to be opened before the printhead can be removed.

If there is any resistance when removing the printhead look for a lever or latch to release the printhead. On some older models the printhead is screwed down (but this is more common on different printers like HP).

Step 3: Clean the Printhead

To clean you can place the printhead in a container filled with about 1 inch (2,5 centimer) of lukewarm water. If possible you want to avoid the circuit board from getting wet and only soak the bottom part. You will quickly see the ink mixing with the water.

Step 4: Wait Overnight

Ideally leave the printhead in water overnight and when you return the entire water will be black (from mixing all the colors).

Step 5: Re-Install and Run a Cleaning Program

Remove the printhead from the container and allow it to completely dry. You can use a lint free cloth or even a hairdryer to speed up the process.

Only if you are confident the printhead is completely dry you can install it back into the printer.

Now add the cartridges back in and run a cleaning program from the software on the program. This will print a test page where if all went well you should have a nice clean result!