How to Clean Your Laser Printer and Toner Cartridges

29th Jun 2018

How to Clean Your Laser Printer and Toner Cartridges
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Cleaning your laser printer is a simple way to extend its shelf life and improve its performance level. Laser printers contain a lot of complex moving parts, most notably the toner cartridge, that need to be well-maintained over time to continue to perform their role in the laser printing process.

Cleaning Supplies

All supplies can be found at any local hardware store or Home Depot.

1. Latex gloves. Latex gloves will keep your hands clean throughout the cleaning.

2. Toner Vacuum. Never try to use regular vacuums when cleaning your toner cartridges, as you risk blowing toner into the air. Toner vacuums are specifically made for cleaning toner cartridges and have filters that are able to trap fine toner particles. Toner vacuums are expensive, ranging from $200- $300, but are necessary to properly clean your toner cartridges. Here is an example of a toner vacuum sold on Amazon.

3. Activated toner cloth. The activated toner cloth is a special disposable cloth that attracts and traps toner particles. The activated toner cloth picks up whatever the toner vacuum leaves behind. The activated toner cloth should be used once and thrown out.

4. Isopropyl alcohol/ aerosol spry duster. Never use rubbing alcohol. The cleaning formulas used to clean cd's, tape drives, ect. contain 99% isopropyl and are fine to use. 

5. Mask. You want to fully protect yourself against toner particles entering your throat and lungs, which has the potential to cause respiratory tract irritation. Toner inhalation has not been known to be the cause of any deaths, but why take any chances- always wear a mask when cleaning toner cartridges. Painting or sanding masks are adequate. 

6. Paintbrush. Never use a toothbrush, as the bristles are too hard and too short. You will want to use a small paintbrush, about a half-inch wide, with a soft bristle. 

7. Cotton swabs. Regular cotton swabs are fine.

Cleaning Steps

1. Turn off your Laser Printer one hour prior to cleaning. The laser printer needs to cool down so you don't electrocute yourself.

2. Put on your mask and gloves and gather your supplies. It's time to clean your laser printer and toner cartridges. 

3. Open the laser printer. To see the best way to open your laser printer, look at your printer's owner's manual. 

4. Remove the detachable components. This includes the toner cartridge, the toner bottle, and the drum unit. Do not touch the surface of the drum unit and place it in an area with no light.

5. Wipe your toner cartridge(s) with the activated toner cloth. Remove excess toner while resting the toner cartridge on a second activated toner cloth.

6. Place the toner vacuum in the printer chassis. Use the toner vacuum to slowly remove any spilled toner in the internal component. Make sure the toner vacuum does not touch any internal surfaces inside the printer.

7. Clean hard-to-reach spots with a paintbrush. Remove all toner found in crevices, then use the toner vacuum to remove any dust or debris left behind.

8. Clean the corona wires. Dip a cotton swab in Isopropyl alcohol and gently rub the wires with the cotton swab. Make sure you do not leave out the underside of the wires and change the cotton swab as needed. Never apply pressure, as corona wires are fragile and expensive (bad combination). 

9. Wash the paper feed roller. Again, dip a cotton swab in Isopropyl and rub the paper feeder in a circular motion with the cotton swab to remove toner build-up. Change the cotton swab as needed.

10. Reinsert all components and close the printer. You're almost there.

11. Clean and disinfect the laser printer's exterior. Remove all dust and debris build-up using an activated toner cloth and Isopropyl alcohol. 

12. Turn the printer back on and reconvene use. You did it. You cleaned your laser printer and toner cartridges!



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