Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines when cleaning printers. Information on the manufacturer's website or documentation explains the proper cleaning methods.

CAUTION: Unplug printers before cleaning to prevent danger from high voltage.

Printer Maintenance

Make sure that you turn off and unplug any printer before performing maintenance. Use a damp cloth to wipe off dirt, paper dust, and spilled ink on the exterior of the device.

On some printers, print heads in an inkjet printer are replaced when the cartridges are replaced. However, sometimes print heads become clogged and require cleaning. Use the utility supplied by the manufacturer to clean the print heads. After you clean them, test them. Repeat this process until the test shows a clean and uniform print.

Printers have many moving parts. Over time, the parts collect dust, dirt, and other debris. If not cleaned regularly, the printer may not work well or could stop working completely. When working with dot-matrix printers, clean the roller surfaces with a damp cloth. On inkjet printers, clean the paper-handling machinery with a damp cloth. Some printer parts must be lubricated with special grease. Check the documentation to determine if your printer needs this grease and the locations to use it.

CAUTION: Do not touch the drum of a laser printer while cleaning because you can damage the drum surface.

Laser printers do not usually require much maintenance unless they are in a dusty area or are very old. When cleaning a laser printer, use a specially designed vacuum cleaner to pick up toner particles. A standard vacuum cleaner cannot hold the tiny particles of toner and may scatter them about. Use only a vacuum cleaner with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration. HEPA filtration catches microscopic particles within the filters.

Thermal printers use heat to create an image on special paper. To extend the life of the printer, clean the heating element of the thermal printer regularly with isopropyl alcohol.

Choosing the correct paper type for a printer helps the printer last longer and print more efficiently. Several types of paper are available. Each type of paper is labeled with the type of printer for which it is intended. The manufacturer of the printer may also recommend the best type of paper.