Certified IT Support Professional Learning Resources Maintaining Printer

Learning Resources

Maintaining Printer

Periodically your printer requires you to complete certain tasks to maintain optimum print quality. If several people are using the printer, you may want to designate a key operator to maintain your printer. Refer printing problems and maintenance tasks to this key operator.

  • Determining the Status of Supplies
  • Conserving Supplies
  • Ordering Supplies
  • Storing Print Media
  • Storing the Drum and Toner Cartridges
  • Replacing the Drum Cartridges
  • Replacing the Toner Cartridge
  • Cleaning Inside the Printer

Tips to maintain the printer

  1. Close the feed tray: A paper bypass tray is an open invitation to dust and debris. When you leave it open, you are attracting paper dust to dwell inside of your printer. You are also enlarging the footprint of the printer.
  2. Clean the glass: If you have an all in one multifunction printer, there is glass for the scanner/copier/fax function. Wipe these areas down with a damp cloth, paying special attention to any spots which have formed. The more documents that you scan, the more cleaning it will require.
  3. Be careful when changing ink cartridges: Feed cartridges are often placed in the inkjet at an angle and pushed so they are upright. When removing the old cartridge, examine it to see if there is excess ink. Make sure that the new cartridge has no visible flaws or dents. When you place the new cartridge into its slot, do not force it or jam it into place. If you experience resistance, remove the ink altogether and try again.
  4. Use new paper: If possible, use paper that you just got out of the pack. If this is not realistic, put the rest of the ream into a closed box or try to wrap the paper back into the ream wrapper. Paper that has been out on the counters will pick up humidity. Humidity increases the likelihood that your paper is going to jam. If you have curled paper, set it aside and place a flat weight upon it for a couple of days.
  5. Do not refill ink cartridges: Old ink cartridges can spill inside the printer or all over your fingers. When the container has been used more than once, you risk damaging your printer or its prints. Make the investment and get new cartridges out every time.
  6. Make prints at least once a week: Run a few prints so you can keep the ink flowing freely. When the printer isn’t used for long periods of time, the water in the ink will begin to evaporate. When the printer is in good working condition, you save time and money.
  7. Do not use tools to remove paper jams: The paper that has become stuck should be removed easily. Do not stick sharp objects, such as tweezers or scissors, near the printer’s mechanism. Try a different method if you turn the roller and experience resistance.
  8. Unplug the printer when it is not being used: If you are not going to use your printer for long periods of time, shut it down safely and unplug it. This saves a little bit of money on your power bill. It will also prolong the life of your ink cartridges.
  9. Clean the print heads: Clean the print heads regularly. It removes excess ink, preserving the quality of your documents. Do not interrupt the cycle while the print heads are being cleaned.
  10. Align the print heads regularly: See if any items are out of place on your test sheet. Look for bands or smudges. Run the alignment process on your printer to see if that corrects the problem. If you are not able to fix your problems through cleaning or alignment, take your printer to a trained professional.

Instructions for maintenance

  • Clean the outside of the printer. In addition to making your printer look more presentable, regular cleanings are good maintenance because cleaning the outside helps prevent dirt and grime from making its way inside the printer where it can do damage. Turn the printer off, unplug it and clean the printer with a damp sponge. You can use water or a light household cleaner.
  • Get a kit to clean the inside of the printer. Cleaning the inside is trickier, but check with your printer's manufacturer or an office supply store to find a cleaning kit. The kit should include lens covers, lubrication for the rods and rollers, wipes and instructions.
  • Protect your printer when it's not in use. The easiest printer maintenance to perform is to simply cover it with a dust cover when it is not being used. This will protect your printer and make cleaning the printer easier.
  • Keep the paper in its original package. Because the paper goes through the inside of the printer and comes into contact with the printer's most sensitive parts, it's important the paper be clean and dry.
  • Move the printer safely. When it comes time to move the printer, repackage it in its original package to make sure it does not get damaged. Ink cartridges can be left installed, but all cables must be disconnected.
  • Hire a professional to service the printer. If you have an expensive printer, it may be a good idea to hire a professional who specializes in maintenance of your type of printer. The professional will clean the printer, align it and replace any parts which need to be replaced.


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