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Our Top Advice for Maintaining Your Printer

To ensure your printer functions correctly and lasts for a long time, regular maintenance is crucial. Here is our top printer maintenance advice for the average home printer user:


  1. Keep it Clean: Dust and debris can accumulate inside your printer, leading to paper jams and reduced print quality. Regularly clean the exterior and interior of your printer. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe down surfaces and remove dust. Be gentle when cleaning sensitive components like printheads.

  2. Use Quality Paper: Choose high-quality, manufacturer-recommended paper for your printer. Low-quality paper can lead to paper jams and may leave residue inside the printer.

  3. Replace Cartridges Wisely: When your printer's ink or toner cartridges run low, replace them promptly. Using cartridges until they are completely empty can damage the printheads or drum. 

  4. Print Regularly: If you have an inkjet printer, use it regularly. Infrequent use can cause the ink to dry out in the printheads, leading to clogs. Try to print a test page or small document at least once a week to keep the ink flowing.

  5. Proper Shutdown: When you're finished using your printer, shut it down using the power button or the control panel. Avoid unplugging it directly from the power source, as this can cause electrical issues.

  6. Maintain Proper Ventilation: Ensure your printer is placed in a well-ventilated area. Adequate ventilation helps prevent overheating and can extend the life of your printer.

  7. Update Firmware: Periodically check for firmware updates from the manufacturer. These updates can improve printer performance and address known issues.

  8. Adjust Settings: Adjust print settings to match your needs. Using draft mode for less important documents can save ink or toner. Additionally, consider double-sided printing to reduce paper usage.

  9. Properly Store Supplies: If you have extra ink or toner cartridges, store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures and humidity can affect the quality of these supplies.

  10. Regularly Replace Fusers and Rollers: For laser printers, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for replacing maintenance kits, which often include components like the fuser and rollers. Replacing these kits can prevent print quality issues.

  11. Perform Test Prints: Occasionally, print a test page or nozzle check to ensure that all colors are printing correctly. This can help you identify and address any issues before they become major problems.

  12. Use Manufacturer Software: Many printer manufacturers provide software utilities for maintenance tasks like printhead cleaning and alignment. Use these tools as recommended to keep your printer in top shape.

  13. Store Paper Properly: If you have a supply of printer paper, keep it in a cool, dry place, ideally in its original packaging. Moisture and humidity can cause paper to become wrinkled or misfeed in the printer.

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