While your home office laser printer does not to be cleaned on a weekly basis, printers should be cleaned at least twice a year. The frequency of how often you should clean will vary depending on how often the printer is used. While you may look at the outside of the printer and see some dust bunnies gathering, cleaning a printer doesn’t just involve an exterior scrubbing. With that said, it’s important to understand why you should bother cleaning your home printer. If a printer is operating for a while without being cleaned, you may notice a difference in picture quality which doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace your toner cartridges. It could be due to resin build up within the printer. Another common reaction from lack of cleaning can be the rollers will not run as smoothly as they should. Cleaning is just 1 of 4 things you can do to make your printer last longer.
Before you get started, it’s important to know what parts of the printer will require cleaning. While some printers may be larger in size with multiple trays for paper input, most printers regardless of size are generally made up of the same components as seen in the image.
Here’s the list of the most important parts of the printer you’ll need to clean:
- Corona Wires: A charged wire found inside a laser printer that pulls the toner off the drum onto the paper. It’s important to be cleaned whenever the toner cartridge is replaced. On most Brother drums, you can easily clean the corona wire by moving the blue tab left to right.
- Drum Unit: The drum is an electrically charged unit that rotates the paper, transferring the images, before dispending it to the paper output tray.
- Paper Feed Rollers: These rollers pick up the paper inside the printer so they can pass them through to the output tray during the printing process.
- Fan Vent: The printer fan will usually be located on the side or back of a printer. Similar to a computer, the fan is necessary so the machine doesn’t overheat while in use.
- Transfer Belt/Roller: This applies the image to the paper.
- Exterior: All exposed parts of the printer.
Before you begin cleaning the printer it is essential to first turn off and then unplug the computer from its outlet. For the best cleaning results, you should purchase printer cleaning swabs to reach all parts that need to be cleaned. If you don’t have the correct tools handy, you could also use a paintbrush to get to those hard to reach places. Additionally, you can use a small suction vacuum to reach deeper into the printer.
Once the printer has been safely turned off, follow the below steps to safely cleaning your printer:
- Open your printer and first remove the toner cartridges and drum(s). Cartridges can leak a little bit but you shouldn’t expect large amounts to clean up. On printers like the HP LaserJet 2600N, the drum is built into the toner cartridges.
- Next, lift out the drum unit from the printer. Each printer generally has a different method of releasing the unit, and while some can be done by just twisting the correct button, other printers may require the use of a screwdriver. Color printers can have more than 1 drum.
- Now that all the proper parts have been removed, use the small vacuum on the printer’s interior to remove any dusk or debris.
- Next, moisten the printer swabs with 99% pure isopropyl alcohol. Use the swabs to clean out the the drum unit which may have toner smudges on them.
- Clean the printer rollers, the fan vent, and the interior walls with a dry lint-free cloth.
- After all the parts have been wiped down, insert the drum and toner cartridges back into the printer.
- Before throwing out your cloth, scrub down the printer’s exterior to complete your laser printer cleaning process.
- Lastly, perform a test print to ensure the printer functions properly.