How to Clean Clogged Inkjet Print Heads

Inkjet printers are so inexpensive nowadays, sometimes it is cheaper to buy a new one rather than getting it fixed. However, it is not good for the environment.  One common problem for inkjet printers is when the print heads get clogged up. On some printers, you can just replace the ink cartridge; for others, you have to clean the print heads. The printer usually has a utility to clean print heads. The clean utility can help you when the print heads are lightly clogged. It doesn’t always work. In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to clean the clogged print heads when the utility fails to work.

What you need are a syringe (injector) with a long needle and some ammonia. You can buy the syringe from Ebay and ammonia from any supermarket.When you buy ammonia, make sure that it is the clear kind, without added color or other ingredients.

Let’s get started.

  1. Mix one part of ammonia with one part of hot water.
  2. Fill the syringe with the ammonia solution.
  3. Remove the ink cartridge according to your printer’s instructions.
  4. Put some napkins or towels under the cartridge to prevent the ammonia solution from dripping . Use the ammonia solution to flush the connector(s). There may be multiple connectors for your printer, so make sure you flush them all. In this example, there are two connectors.
  5. Wait for a moment and let the ammonia solution work its magic.
  6. Insert the print cartridge back. (Optional) If you have an empty cartridge, you can fill it with the ammonia solution. Insert this cartridge instead of the original cartridge.
  7. Repeat steps 3~6 for all the colors you want to clean.
  8. Use the printer’s print head clean utility to clean the print heads.
  9. If you used an ammonia cartridge in step 6, now replace it with the original cartridge. Print a test page and see if the print heads are clean. If not, repeat the steps 3~8.

Here is a test page I printed before cleaning.

The print heads for light magenta and magenta were clogged and could not print at all. Here is a test page after cleaning. The light magenta and magenta were printing again.

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