For printers that have print-heads in the printer (this applies to all Epson, all Brother, all Kodak, and some HP/Canon/Lexmark/Dell printers), your printer comes with a print-head cleaning function. Printheads can get clogged when ink residue dries up, and this can happen with OEM (Original Brand Printer Ink) or compatible ink. The printer manufacturers know this, so they build in this cleaning function for models where the printheads are in the printer. The likelyhood of clogged printheads is higher if you don’t use your printer for extended periods of time, so it is generally best to print at least 1 page every couple of days to keep ink flowing through your printer.
Clogged printheads can manifest themselves in 1 of 2 ways.
1) Prints are streaky / lines on the page, or
2) Nothing prints out on the page
Below are the steps to follow (in general) to run a printhead cleaning cycle on your printer. The exact steps will vary slightly depending on the printer you have, and you should consult your printers manual or explore the menu functions on your printer for your specific model. Below are instructions for Windows PCs:
Click Start – Control Panel – Printers
Right click on your printers name, and select Preferences (or Printing Preferences)
You may notice a few tabs in your Preferences, select the one that says “Maintenance” or something similar.
You should now see an option to clean the printheads (either for an individual color, or for all). Choose to clean all, make sure there is paper loaded in the printer as a test page will print out after the cleaning.
Follow instructions. You can also choose a “Deep Cleaning” if the cleaning does not resolve the issue perfectly.
You can also print a test page to see which color cartridge needs cleaning or has issues. You can either print a nozzle test from your printer, or print out the attached test pages. The color block that does not print well, represents the color cartridge that needs cleaning or replacement.
Here is also an instructional video by Epson showing you the process of doing a nozzle test (to see if cleaning is needed) and then doing the cleaning: