Home:: How to Fix a Clogged Epson Printer

How to Fix a Clogged Epson Printer

Epson printers have proven to be among the best inkjet

printers in the world in terms of performance and

economy. That being said, there are also crucial

maintenance requirements to remember when using

your printer.

Epson printing technology is unique, so it is helpful to

understand some of the basic mechanics of the ink

delivery system.

The print head built into the carriage. The carriage

holds the ink cartridges and moves laterally across the

paper when printing. The print head contains

thousands of tiny nozzles that actually squirt the ink onto

paper. The print head is the ink “control center” for the


By far, the biggest issue with Epson printers is their

tendency for the print heads to become clogged with

ink. Since the nozzles are (depending on the model) a

fraction of the size of a human hair, it is easy to see how

clogging can become an issue.

I. Signs that your printer may be clogged

A. Full cartridge but no ink coming out on printed paper

B. Broken or white horizontal lines

C. Print becomes faint, then disappears completely on

within first page but the cartridge is not empty.

D. Printed material comes out in one or two colors only

The first and best way to keep your Epson printer in

good condition and free from clogs is to print regularly.

The more you print the less problems you will have.

Printing regularly keeps the ink in the print head moving

and fresh; preventing the ink from drying. Printing at

least a page a week of black text and a page containing

all three colors (cyan, magenta and yellow) is good for

maintaining top printing performance.

Here is a link to a tune up pattern we recommend to use

once a week if you do not print very often with your

Epson printer.


The second defense against clogs is to make sure that

you power down your printer using its’ power button

instead of the off switch on a power strip. This is

especially important if you do not print at least once a

week. Turning your printer off with your power strip

prevents the printers’ built in shut down process from

sealing the print head.

If the print head is not sealed, the ink will slowly dry and

harden in the print head. Eventually, the ink will dry and

turn to the consistency of maple syrup or even putty.

When this happens, the print head will partially or

completely clog.

The next preventative tip is to remember to always keep

a cartridge installed in the printer.

If you run out of ink, and take the empty cartridge with

you to your local office supply store, make sure you

replace it promptly. The ink will dry wherever exposed

to the air, including in the ink-receptacle area where you

just removed the cartridge from the carriage.

Try not to take a cartridge out of the carriage unless you

are replacing it within a couple minutes.

If you have received this article a day late and found that

you have a clog, don’t despair, there is hope.

Start with the easiest solution, try running a cleaning

cycle using your printer utilities program. A few

cleaning cycles (or cartridge priming cycle) will usually

clear any air bubbles from a cartridge change or a small

clog from the nozzles.

Select the utility tab (it might also be named

“Maintenance”) and there you’ll find the head cleaning

tool and nozzle check. Run the head cleaning cycle,

then a nozzle check after to see the progress. Repeat

these two steps 1- 4 times as until clear.

There is said to be a small chance of damaging the print

head if multiple cleanings are performed consecutively

without a nozzle check, so make sure to remember to

do both

If no success there are still a couple of things you can


Option # 1. You can try using ammonia (or Windex is ok

also) with a cotton swab. Basically, you’ll need to first

remove the cartridge of the color that’s giving you

problems. Put some ammonia in the top of the

printhead (the carriage part in the printer) and let it sit

overnight. Also put a little more ammonia in the

printhead-resting seat. (The rubber part that seals off the

printhead unit when in it’s resting position.)

You will also take an ammonia dampened cotton swab

and try gently wiping off the bottom part of the printhead

(the end closest to the paper)

You can also take an old, inkjet cartridge and drill a hole

in it, clean it out with the ammonia, fill it back up with

ammonia and seal the hole. Put the improvised

cleaning back in place and then run a few cleaning

cycles or a long print routine. Then replace with regular

cartridge to see if any progress has been made. Be

warned that this could get messy, so have paper towels


The final option to fix a stubborn clog is to use a specific

cleaner called “Print Head Clog Buster” which is made

specifically for this purpose.

It’s a 1 ounce bottle of cleanser that also comes with a

plastic tube syringe for shooting cleaner directly through

the printhead ports (works much better than a q-tip). It

also comes with detailed instructions on how to use it.

This is specially formulated, and works very well for

stubborn clogs.

Hopefully this information will keep your Epson printing

for years to come.

Remember… print weekly, and enjoy your printer for

years to come.