When a printer isn’t used often, sometimes the ink dries up inside the cartridge and this results in it not working properly. Using the print cleaning option under utility can often times work in cleaning the cartridge, but at times, it doesn’t always do the trick. After trying five or six times to clean it that way, you’ll need to do it manually. Fortunately, this is an inexpensive process that requires rubbing alcohol and water.
The first step is to take hot water and submerge the cartridge. Allow it to sit for a little while so that the water can go in and break up any of the ink. Once this has finished, allow it to dry over night and then put the cartridge into the printer. Use the self clean feature on the printer again. If this works, the cartridge has been unclogged and you can go about your business.
Unfortunately, if it doesn’t work, you’ll have to try rubbing alcohol. Submerge the cartridge in rubbing alcohol and allow it to sit overnight. Remove it and dry it down carefully. The thing to note about rubbing alcohol is that it evaporates very quickly, so once removed from the container, it’ll be dry within ten minutes. Pat it down with paper towel to get any remaining drops of alcohol.
Place it into the printer and try the self cleaning again. Most of the time, the hot water and then the alcohol will be enough to break up the ink. Once the ink has been broken up, the self cleaning feature will be able to handle the remaining cleaning. However, if this doesn’t work, chances are, the cartridge is completely clogged and you’ll have to purchase a new one.
The best way to ensure that the ink cartridges don’t get clogged in the future is to print something–both in black and color–at least once a week. This way, the ink is being used and doesn’t just sit in the cartridge building up. And, it doesn’t hurt to do the self cleaning utility once every couple of weeks to ensure that there are no blockages. If there are, repeat the above steps.