Tips on How to Clean an HP Printhead for Better Printing

pulling print paper

After a few uses, you might notice your HP printer is not working as effectively as it once did. There may be fading, smudging, or missing text on your printouts. The reason behind these quality issues may be that your printhead is clogged with ink.

The printhead is the part of the printer that houses the ink cartridges and helps disperse the ink onto the piece of paper. Over time, the ink can clog the printhead or dry up, causing problems when ink needs to be dispersed evenly, so you’ll need to learn how to clean an HP printhead. 

You can use the printer to clean the printhead or take the printhead out and clean it by hand. Whichever method you use, the result will be better, higher-quality printouts. 

If your HP printer is printing blank pages, the culprit may be infrequent use or cleaning. Regularly cleaning your HP printer’s printhead will prolong your ink cartridges’ life and delay your next replacement cartridges purchase. 

Types of Printheads

There are two different kinds of printheads: those built into the printer and those built into the cartridges. The first kind of printhead features an individual printer cartridge installed within the printhead. These types of printheads wear out over time and must be replaced. 

The second type of printhead is called integrated printer cartridges, and these have the printhead built into the cartridge itself. Every time you swap out the cartridge, you’re also putting in a new printhead. HP printer ink that’s delivered via integrated print cartridges come in black or tri-color.

Clean It with Your Printer

If you’re starting to see blotches, smudges, or large blank spaces where they shouldn’t be, it may be time to clean your HP printhead. The easiest way to do this is by running the cleaning program on your printer. 

On your HP printer’s display, there should be a section titled “Printer Maintenance.” If you’re having trouble finding the option on the printer itself, check the manual, which will undoubtedly instruct you on how to run the cleaning program on your HP printer. 

Most cleaning takes one to two minutes to complete. Afterward, print out a test page to check the quality of printing with the clean printhead. The printer will use some ink to clean out the printhead, so, if you’re low on ink and have integrated print cartridges, you may be better off buying a new one. 

If you’re interested in how to create a more effective workspace, you may want to take the time to learn how to clean your HP printer’s printhead on your own. 

selecting options using printer panel

Clean It Manually

You don’t need to know the flow structure of a microfabricated inkjet printhead to clean it effectively, but you do need to know whether your printer has the printhead built into the printer or the cartridges themselves. Cleaning printheads built into the printer takes a lot more work, so attempting to manually clean these printheads may not help you save time, money, or effort.

Cleaning your integrated print-cartridge-accommodating printhead manually is relatively easy and will save you time and money in the long run. To clean out the printhead, you’ll need paper towels, a plastic container, a lint-free cloth, and some hot distilled water. 

Take the ink cartridges out of your printer and place them face-up, so they don’t leak, on a paper towel. Release the printhead by lifting the gray latch on the cartridge carriage and pull it out of the printer. Wipe any excess ink off your printhead and, after submerging a paper towel in the container of hot water, put the printhead, nozzle-down, into the water. 

To maintain the quality and condition of the ink nozzle, avoid handling it too much. Let the printhead soak in the water for about 15 minutes. Next, take it out and place it on a paper towel with the nozzle facing up.

When it’s completely dry, after about 20 minutes, reinsert the printhead into your printer. Make sure you remember to secure the gray latch on the cartridge carriage to lock it in. Try to print a few sample pages to make sure the issues have been adequately resolved. 

If you’re still having quality issues after both manually and automatically cleaning your printhead, you may have to invest in a new cartridge.  

cmyk cartridge focus in printer

The Last Word

One of the best ways to streamline your office or workspace is to become acquainted with your printer’s ink delivery system.

If you’re having issues like fading or smudging, you may need to clean your HP printhead to make your printer more effective. Ink Jet Super Store has everything you need to keep your printer clean and running smoothly.