Printer Tips

To get the best quality print, every time you print, we recommend the following printer maintenance. Not only can these suggestions help to provide the most optimal printing results, they may also increase the longevity of your printer!

Printer Maintenance Tips

  • Use your printer regularly. Leaving your printer idle for long periods of time can cause the printheads to dry up. Try to use your printer at least once a week to preserve your inkjet cartridges.
  • Clean your printheads regularly.
  • Replace your cartridges at the first sign of poor print quality. This often indicates that the ink levels are getting low, and the cartridges should be replaced before they are completely empty.
  • If your printer has replaceable printheads (ie. HP 88 series, 10 series, 11 series, etc), they typically may need to be replaced every 4-5 cartridges. If the printhead wears out, the cartridge may give a low ink reading or fail to print. Often this is mistaken for a cartridge error when it is actually a worn out printhead.
  • Clean the outside of your printer at least once a week. Use a damp, lint-free cloth dampened with water or rubbing alcohol (nothing stronger) to wipe away dust, dirt, animal hair, and other contaminants.
  • Cover your printer when it’s not in use. Printer covers (available from office supply stores) protect your printer while you’re not using it.
  • Don’t use compressed air to clean out your printer. Doing so may force dust and debris into the printer. Instead, use a keyboard vacuum (available from office supply stores) to clean the inside of your printer.
  • Always use the Power button to turn off your printer. If you use a power strip, don’t just turn it off – make sure to power down the printer properly.
  • Keep an extra cartridge on hand. In the rare instance that your problem cannot be solved by the steps on this website, you’ll have a spare.
  • Click here for some general information about how inkjet printers function.

Setup Cartridge Tips

  • Some printers require that Setup cartridges be installed to set up that printer and before any other cartridges are used (either OEM or remanufactured). The starter cartridges are used to prime the printhead, and the coding is different so regular cartridges cannot be used.
  • If a printer and/or printhead requires the use of Setup cartridges, they should be included with that item. If the printer came without Setup cartridges, it should be returned to the retailer.
  • Additionally, Setup cartridges must be new. If they have been previously used in another printer, they will not work to set up a new printer.
  • If you receive an error message stating “Use SETUP Cartridges”, make sure that all installed cartridges are marked “SETUP” and are new.