How to Maintain Your Laser or Inkjet Printer

Published: 27th April 2010
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These days, there are so many reasons that you need to have a printer around, it's inconceivable you wouldn't have one or even two. People use them for many important reasons, like school and work, so the last thing anyone needs is a printer failure. Hundreds of companies today transport their documents through various electronic media but still print them. Although purchasing a good printer will always have its benefits, the maintenance of the machine is just as important.

Properly maintaining your printer can add years of life to the unit as well as assure flawless printing of your most important documents. However important maintenance may be for your printer, it is often overlooked. Many people have a common misconception that printers simply need the ink changed every so often and that its components might need replacement eventually.

Although this is true, proper maintenance needs to be performed every few weeks to make sure that the printer continues to run properly. All printers are not the same; they come in various different types, shapes and sizes so naturally your printer's maintenance will vary according to the type of printer you have.

Laser and Inkjet Printers
The two major printer types that are available are the laser printer and the inkjet printer. The laser printer can print higher quality pages. As a result, laser printers are more costly than inkjet printers. The inkjet printer is still a very good printer to use but only if you are the type that doesn't have the need for printing at a high capacity. Printers that are used in an office setting are the ones that will require more frequent maintenance, regardless of their type.

Printers that are used at home will require less maintenance, depending on the types of print jobs that you run on average. If you are the type that prints a lot of pictures and design sheets then your printer may require more frequent maintenance. If you do simple word document printing or other text type printing then your printer will not need as much attention. When it comes to the maintenance of the laser printer and inkjet printer, the two of them require different kinds of attention. In the case of an inkjet printer, it is going to require maintenance on mainly the printing heads.

The printing heads contain several miniscule pores from which the ink is distributed (sprayed, actually) onto the paper. Over time, dry ink can accumulate on the surface of these pores which in turn causes them to become blocked. You can easily avoid this issue by removing the cartridge and wiping the print head clean with a moist cloth. Once you've allowed the head to completely dry, you can then replace the cartridge and continue printing. Replacing the cartridges when they are low is another important step in maintaining the printer's life. Be sure and use quality ink replacements that are specifically designed for your printer model.

Important Components
Laser printers are the most commonly used in office environments. They are known to have a few components that require a little care. Cleaning of the rollers periodically is the main thing that needs to be done. You can clean them with a damp cotton cloth. You may also vacuum the inside of the printer in order to remove resident toner particles that may have collected there. A special HEPA filter based vacuum cleaner is best when cleaning the laser printer. After you have made over 100,000 prints, the fuser that melts the toner on the paper might need replacement. Replacing these items in a timely fashion will allow the printer to continue to function properly.

Since computers are linked directly to your printer and the printer will usually come with a utility program for cleaning and maintenance, you can run that every so often as well. The best way to avoid unnecessary and unforeseen breakdowns of your printer is through the use of a printer maintenance kit which will definitely come in handy. These kits can be purchased at any retailer that carries your particular printer. The kits contain the parts that tend to wear out over time. They can also save you the trouble of having to wait for a technician if your printer decides to break down. Practice proper maintenance and keep a maintenance kit handy. These are great ways to ensure that your printer stays functional and clean.John Pickering is the owner of, an online retailer of new and refilled printer ink cartridges for Brother, HP, Canon, Epson, Lexmark and Xerox printers. Visit online today and begin saving.

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