Using Cleaning Cartridges in an InkJet Printer

A cleaning cartridge kit will help to clean and maintain your printer’s printheads. This article will give a bit of information about using the cartridges. It will also advise when to and why they are needed.


Printer output deteriorates over time and a big cause of this is owing to a partial print head block. Using the onboard printer utilities will clear most partial print head blocks, but now and again more serious blockages occur. Using a suitable cleaning fluid will assist in clearing some of these blockages, by breaking down the dried edible inks.

Once the cleaning fluid has done its job and the dried inks have been broken down, the system head cleaning utility can be run which will push any broken down edible ink residue through the print head. This will then allow normal printing.

If you need advice on this please feel free to telephone us – 01430 284112

Cleaning Cartridges

There are a couple of ways to deliver cleaning fluids to a print-head. From placing drops of fluid directly where the cartridges seat, to allow the fluid to filter down to the head, or by placing fluid on the head swipe pad. (The pad that the head seats on at rest)

Our preferred method is to use a head cleaning cartridge. Its a simple approach and a clean and elegant approach. The cleaning cartridges use the printer and the printers utilities to do the work.

We supply head cartridge cleaning kits to work with all ink types. Edible, Dye Sublimation, Pigment and Dye aqueous inks. The cleaning fluids supplied in different kits have been formulated to work with the specific ink types and will assist greatly in unblocking print-heads.

When to use a cleaning Cartridge

  • After a head blockage occurs on your printer print-head
  • For ongoing maintenance to prevent print-head blockages
  • When mothballing a printer for a while

Print-head Blocked

It would be used when a printer shows signs of head blockage through printed colour differences or deteriorating print quality. If the colours of your prints have changed significantly, you may have lost a colour through a print-head blockage on one of the colours.

To check for this, perform a head clean using your printers maintenance preferences and then print a nozzle test. If the printed grids or colour blocks in the nozzle test printout have parts missing, try performing a cleaning cycle. If you can not clear these issues and get a good nozzle test after a few head-cleans, you may have dried ink in the print-head. The dried ink may be preventing good ink flow. If this is the case, it is worth trying one of our edible ink head cleaning kits.

Preventative Maintenance

Another good use of an edible cleaning kit is as a preventive measure to minimise the risk of blocked print heads. This applies to those that only use their printer occasionally. We recommend that printers using edible inks should be used as a normal everyday printer and should be used at least once a week however, for those that do not wish to run their edible printer like this, a preventative regime should be in place.

If after the last print job is done you know that you are not going to run the printer for a while, remove the ink cartridges and install the cleaning cartridges and run cleaning fluid through the system which will give the print heads a better chance of not blocking. When next ready to use, run a couple of head cleaning cycles with the cleaning cartridges that were left in and then switch back to the edible ink cartridges.

How to Use Head Cleaning Cartridges.

  • Fill the refillable cartridges with the edible cleaning fluid and install them into the printer in the same way as the edible ink cartridges.
  • Navigate the printers software menu to the maintenance utilities. This is normally in preferences under a maintenance tab or button.
  • Navigate to the print nozzle test page and print out a nozzle test. If the colours are not as they should be, carry on to head cleaning
  • Navigate to the head cleaning options and select to clean all of the colours or using the options, just those that are blocked.
  • Run a couple of head cleaning cycles and leave to stand for a few hours. This allows the fluid to break down the dried ink.
  • Re-insert your edible ink cartridges, run a couple of more head cleaning cycles and print another nozzle test to confirm all is ok.
  • Repeat the process again, if required.

As a company we have developed several solutions to assist our customers when they have a printer with a blocked print-head and cleaning fluid does not work. If you find yourself in this position, why not call us.

If you need advice on this please feel free to telephone us – 01430 284112

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