If you work in an IT department or if you own a printer at home, you would have faced the problem of clogged printheads.
The clogging of ink in the printhead can happen due to two reasons – first, the printer was not in use for quite some time, and second, the printhead was empty and dried for a while.
As an IT admin of the company, you may run the self-cleaning program from your system to clean the toner ink cartridge.
However, that might not help in most cases, especially when the clogging in the ink printhead is heavy.
Another option to clean the printhead ink is to do manual cleaning.
All you need to do is to locate your printhead (inside the printer machine) using the printer manual, remove the ink printhead and rub it using a cotton swab dipped in warm water or isopropyl alcohol to remove the dry ink.
Obviously, this cannot be completed in a short time.
Completing this task may be a time-consuming, hassle-full and tedious process. And when it’s a bit urgent, you find yourself helpless.
As a better alternative, you can now use an ultrasonic printhead cleaner that can help you deal best in such difficult situations.
But before we proceed to know how the device work, let’s start with the basics…
What is a Printhead?
The printhead is a component in the printer that helps in transferring the ink onto the page.
In simple terms, it acts as an engine of a printer that works by spraying tiny droplets of ink through its nozzles to form the text or an image that’s being printed.
Many times, the terms “ink cartridge” and “printhead” are used interchangeably in place of one another.
However, these two are different. An ink cartridge is a unit that will contain the ink.
Whereas a printhead is a component in an inkjet printer that works to spray the ink onto the attached paper.
Can it be cleaned?
Yes, printheads can be cleaned to enhance the printing quality. However, do not get tempted to clean them too often.
You should only clean them when you see a noticeable decline in the quality of the print you receive.
How Does Ultrasonic Printhead Cleaner Work?
Ultrasonic printhead cleaner is one of the most crucial devices for professionals who want to clean the printer heads efficiently without costing an arm and a leg.
These cleaners work on the principle of ultrasonic to help you clean the dry ink from every single inaccessible part of a clogged printhead.
All you need is to put the dirty printhead in the tank of an ultrasonic printhead cleaner machine that contains a suitable solution.
As the ultrasonic cleaning process starts, it creates thousands of tiny bubbles capable of expanding and compressing, thus cleaning each and every dried ink particle from the print head.
This technology works on the rule of cavitation that occurs when small bubbles form in the cleaning solution and falls violently on the clogged surface.
Benefits of Using Ultrasonic Printhead Cleaning Machine
Using ultrasonic printhead cleaner provides top-level cleaning compared to other cleaning methods.
In fact, using an ultrasonic printhead cleaning machine has been identified as a less expensive as well as an energy-efficient cleaning method for cleaning printer printheads.
Not only for printheads, but also you can clean resin prints, three-dimensional objects, and other models in 3D printing/ Stereolithography.
The best thing about using an ultrasonic cleaning method for printhead cleaning is it avoids the need for manual cleaning, which does not clean the clogged pigment ink from the printhead thoroughly.
Most modern-day ultrasonic cleaners use water-based cleaning solutions to make the process easy, quick, and safe. For this reason, it also reduces the cost and the need for contaminated or toxic detergent-based solutions.
Since no hand scrubbing and harsh chemicals are needed to clean the printheads, it’s also environment-friendly.
What Kind of Cleaning Fluid is Best to Clean Print Heads?
Although pure, distilled water is good for cleaning the printer heads, you can use other components mixed in water to make a tougher printer head cleaning solution.
These ingredients can be soap detergent, isopropyl alcohol, or aqueous ammonia.
These fluids will dissolve the ink residue better and act strongly to remove the dried ink with greater ease, making the cleaning process faster and much more efficient.
When using alcohol for cleaning the blocked printhead, make sure that you do not use it in a higher ratio.
Also, do not use fluids like methylated spirits or any other flammable liquids to clean the print heads.
Due to its chemical composition, it’s corrosive and can damage the wire or electrical contacts in the blocked printer heads.
After you have cleaned the printer head, make sure that you gently touch-dry the print head with soft tissue.
If there is still any doubt regarding the usage of print-head cleaning fluid, it’s recommended that you get in contact with your manufacturers like HP, Canon, Epson, and Dell.
The bottom line
Under normal working conditions, the printheads should serve you anywhere from 1.5 – 2 years.
If you find quality issues, maybe it is time to clean them. Do not replace them until a message on your printer instructs you to do so.
If you are getting faded, spotty, or somewhat streaky prints, most probably, it’s a sign of a clogged printhead.
As mentioned, printheads generally go bad due to infrequent cartridge use. In most cases, simply cleaning them can restore them again.
If cleaning does not work and you find the ink dried out completely, it’s time to replace them.