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Ink Smears or Streaks

  • PrintPrint


The printer is working, but the printed output shows smears or streaks of ink.
Figure 1: Self test page showing ink smears


Step one: Check your paper

Make sure you printed on fresh, unwrinkled paper. If you are sure you did, go to the next step.

Step two: Run the clean print cartridges utility

If printed pages are missing lines or dots, or if they contain ink streaks, the print cartridges might be low on ink or might need to be cleaned. If the print cartridges are not low on ink, follow these steps to clean the print cartridges automatically.
  1. In the software program from which you are trying to print, click File, and then click Print. The Print window opens.
  2. Click the Properties button, and then click the Services tab.
  3. Click the Service This Device icon to open the toolbox.
  4. On the Services tab, click the Clean the Print Cartridges icon, and then follow the onscreen instructions. Up to three levels of cleaning are available. Discard or recycle the page that prints.

Step three: Clean the area around the cartridge nozzles

NOTE:Follow the procedure below to clean the area around the cartridge's nozzles ONLY if you have streaks or smudges in your printed output and you have already performed all three cleaning levels in the Clean Print Cartridges utility.
NOTE:Do not leave the print cartridges outside the printer for longer than 30 minutes. If a cartridge is left outside of the printer for too long, the ink will dry out and the cartridge will become unusable. Also, be careful not to get any ink on your hands or clothes.
  1. Gather cleaning supplies:
    • Clean distilled, filtered, or bottled water. Tap water may contain contaminants which could damage the cartridge.
    • Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the cartridges (coffee filters work well).
    • Sheets of paper or paper towel to rest the cartridges on during cleaning.
  2. Remove one of the cartridges and place it on a piece of paper with the nozzle plate facing up.
  3. Examine the area around the nozzle plate. If you see any debris or ink buildup, clean the cartridge as follows:
    NOTE:If you do not see debris or ink buildup on the print cartridge, do not clean it.
    Lightly moisten the lint-free cleaning material with clean water.
    Use the swab to wipe clean the faces and edges around the nozzle plate. The area to be cleaned is cross-hatched in the picture below. Replace the cleaning material if it gets dirty.
    CAUTION:Do not touch either the ink nozzle, or the copper-colored contacts. Touching these parts can cause clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure 2: Cleaning the cartridge
    1 - Ink nozzles (do not touch)
    2 - Copper contacts (do not touch)
  4. Repeat the steps above for the other cartridge. Make sure to examine both cartridges, even if the streaks are only one color (streaks in black ink are commonly caused by fibers and debris stuck to the bottom of the tri-color print cartridge). Only clean the cartridge if you see debris or buildup, however. If you do clean the other cartridge, use fresh cleaning material.
  5. Either let the cartridge sit for five minutes or use a new swab to dry the cleaned areas before you reinsert the cartridges.

Step four: Replace the problem cartridge

If a cartridge replacement was not tried previously to solve this problem, replace the problem cartridge now. Click here (c00206040) (in English) to see if the cartridge is covered under warranty.

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