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How to Fix Printer Color Problems

How to Address Canon or Epson Printers That Print Blank Pages

When your printer starts printing with missing colors or it starts printing out blank pages be sure to check out this video which explains how to remedy this issue.


If your ink cartridge has been sitting unused for a couple of days, or you've let it sit for days with the power on, a long weekend for example, it's likely that your print-heads may be clogged with dry ink.

If you've already tried the "Head Cleaning" or "Nozzle Check" function built into your printer driver software, you're in for a little work. If your print heads are built into the cartridge, as they are in most HP, Lexmark, Dell and some of the newer Canon and Epson printers, the solution could be to switch the clogged cartridge with a fresh one and the problem will be solved.

If the print head isn't contained in the cartridge, as with most Canon and Epson printers, your printer may require a visit to a repair shop for a head cleaning. This involves dismantling your printer to remove the print heads and is not to be undertaken by the feint of heart. Most local computer shops are happy to provide this service and usually charge in the neighborhood of $45.00.

In either case, you can also try the "printing a test page over and over again" method. This trial-and-error method can take up to 15 or 20 prints and it will also waste a lot of your ink but It may eventually clear the clogged inkjet print head.

Before you print the grayscale test page, be sure to disable color printing.

  • From the print menu, select Printing Preferences and look for an option to print all colors as black or greyscale. This will focus your cleaning efforts on the problem cartridge while conserving the color ink. Make certain to reset your printing preferences to allow color printing when the clogged print head is cleared and you're satisfied with your printing results.
  • If you've got a graphics application such as PhotoShop Elements, you can create a test page consisting of a large block of the clogged color, then use it to focus on the problem color. Doing so will prevent wasting the other colors that are working.
  • Often times, just soaking the print heads in a cleaning fluid consisting of warm distilled water, (not tap water) with isopropyl (denatured) alcohol or Multi-Task Windex (containing ammonia) can do the trick. In extreme cases, a 50/50 solution of 98% isopropyl alcohol and hot water may be necessary.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile