Your printer needs a cleanup – Follow this 3 step checklist

It’s funny how long we’ll settle with outdated tech that barely does the job. 

Maybe you’re still working on an old laptop that drives you up the wall daily. I make it simple to pick the best new laptop. Tap or click to take a quick quiz and get my handpicked recommendations based on your needs. 

With some devices, it’s not so obvious when we need a newer model. Your home’s router, for instance, might work OK — but if it’s several years old, your network security is at risk, and it’s also probably slowing down your internet speeds. Tap or click for guidance in choosing the right router for your home. 

Then there’s the trusty printer you bought for your home office. It’s time to give it a little maintenance, so it works better and lasts longer. By the way, your printer has its own email address. Tap or click to find how you can use it to print from your phone or tablet. 

The Kodka ESP 3.2 All-in-One Printer, one of several products in the company's line of ink jet printers that will be eliminated as the imaging giant struggles to emerge from bankruptcy.


Check the nozzle 

You can run a nozzle check from your computer to see if the print heads are clogged. Instructions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Check your user manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions. Now, this step will use some of your valuable ink. 

Don’t have the manual anymore? This handy site holds user manuals for hundreds of thousands of products. 

Once you start the nozzle check, your printer will spit out a test page. If the test page has solid print lines, your nozzle is clean. If the print lines are broken up, your print head needs cleaning. Keep reading for the steps to take. 

Pro tip: Print a page that uses every color at least once a month to keep your printer happy. 

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If your nozzle check comes back poorly, it’s time to clean your print heads. Dust and ink can clog up the heads. Cleaning them will extend your printer’s life and make your prints look much nicer. 

Print heads can be part of the printer cartridge or built into the printer, depending on your model. Again, instructions vary from printer to printer, so check with your manufacturer for specific instructions.  

If your printer has multiple options, start with the regular cleaning, then move up to the deep clean if necessary. 

Pro tip: Sometimes, neglected print heads need even more TLC. Your manual may instruct you to clean them physically if the automated processes can’t do the job. 

MORE CLEANING KNOW-HOW: The best way to clean all the dirt and grime off your tech 

Dust all the nooks and crannies 

Raise your hand if your printer is covered in dust. OK, clean it off. 

Dusting the inside and outside of your printer will keep dust, dirt, and grime from building up.  

This means it will run more smoothly — and it will last longer. You don’t want to be too rough with the interior. Use a soft, lint-free cloth. A Q-tip works well for hard-to-reach spots, but don’t stick it in any ports or you might leave behind fuzz. 

Pro tip: Compressed air is helpful to give your printer a good dusting, too. Try an electronics duster if you don’t like how fast they run out of juice. Tap or click for a review of one we like at Komando HQ. 

Epson Expression Home XP-420 Printer

Epson Expression Home XP-420 Printer

Update your software and drivers 

Every device we own requires updates to keep them running smoothly and protected against security vulnerabilities. 

The same goes for your printer. Regularly check your manufacturer’s website for software updates for your printer. You won’t believe all the ways hackers find to break into our systems. Set a reminder to do this every three months. 

Keep your tech-know going 

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode. 

Redmond, WA, USA - January 30, 2018: One of the biggest Microsoft signs is placed next to green trees at a public intersection near Microsoft's Redmond campus

Redmond, WA, USA – January 30, 2018: One of the biggest Microsoft signs is placed next to green trees at a public intersection near Microsoft’s Redmond campus
(Fox News)


PODCAST PICK: Ford helps police, another Prime Day, John McAfee’s crazy crimes 

Get ready for electric police chases, thanks to Ford’s police partnership. I’ve got all the details, plus the inside scoop on leaked Amazon documents. Looks like we’re getting another Prime Day. Also, you can now wear smart scarves to keep cool. My advice: Wear one while you watch Netflix’s true crime story on John McAfee. It’s a wild ride. 

Find my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. 

Just search for my last name, “Komando.” 


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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at