Keeping Your Printers In Working Order

When was the last time you ran tests to make sure your printer was in good working order? If you said spring, it's probably because we wrote about the necessity of spring cleaning. If you have cleaned your printer since then, great! If not, now is the time to make sure your printer is in good working order, particularly if you use it only occasionally. The longer you wait to clean your printer, the more likely it is to require maintenance you cannot perform at home.

Simple Cleaning Tips

Every printer, no matter what model, usually has a diagnostic test available. You can access this from your printer's software that was installed on your computer. This test is designed to use all components of the printer, including how text is aligned on the page and if graphics are showing up as they should. For black and white printers, this is relatively straightforward, but for color printers this can involve multiple printed pages.

Another easy fix that doesn't require a lot of time (but still goes a long way in ensuring your printer's health) is taking a dry, lint free cloth to wipe off any dust. It's important to remember to never spray any solution directly on to the printer body. Moisture can get trapped in the components of the printer and cause permanent damage. By using the dry cloth, you can gather dust to prevent it from interrupting or distorting images printed on the page.

What To Do When You Encounter Issues

If you notice problems, don't be alarmed! Try running another test cycle, as printers that haven't been used for a while can take extra time to print normally because ink can sometimes clump. Another common problem to look out for is ghosting, which is when slight images from previous print jobs are embedded into the current paper. Lowering the humidity of your printing environment or performing regular printer cleaning cycles (if available) can both help eliminate this problem.

Though it is good to clean the external components of your printer, never touch internal components, except to change the printer cartridges. The the feed rollers, for instance, are particularly sensitive to touch and cannot be repaired once damaged. If something happens and you can't seem to fix it, you might have to consult an electronics specialist.


Like any other electronic device, your printer requires regular maintenance and careful care to ensure it stays in good working order. Though printers are easy to neglect, as they might not be used as continuously as other devices, by keeping them in working order you can make sure that the next time you need to do a last-minute print job, you're not left with an illegible piece of paper. If you have some tips that help you keep your printer in tiptop shape, feel free to share them below!

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