How To (Properly) Care For Your Printer So It Always Works

Some may say standard paper printers are an outdated technology, but anyone who runs a small business or the like knows how invaluable having a printer at home can be. But while printers are a great tool to have, they can provide more than a few headaches since they tend to be one of the most finicky types of equipment.

But that’s a poor reputation earned more by people who don’t practice proper printer maintenance than by printers themselves. Some folks simply don’t know how to care for their printer, which usually results in frequent paper jams and other issues.

If that sounds like something you deal with regularly, you don’t necessarily need to go out and buy a new printer. Printers have a rather long lifespan, so get the most out of your current machine by following these simple-yet-effective printer maintenance rules.

Make sure your printer is turned off

This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes people treat their printer (and computer) like some sort of workhorse. Turn off your printer when it’s not in use and you’ll increase its overall longevity.

The “turn off your printer” mandate is doubly important when cleaning the machine. Parts can still be moving even if the machine looks at-rest, and coming into contact with them could hurt you and your printer.

Regularly clean the outside of your printer

Don’t let dust collect on your printer thinking that it won’t have any effect on its functionality. Pesky dust particles or dirt usually makes its way from the outside of a printer to the inside, which can cause serious issues. The best preventive is to take the time to clean the exterior of your printer about once a week with a damp cloth.

Print a blank page every now and then

One of the easiest ways to prevent the build-up of dust or dirt particles inside your machine is to simply run a blank page through it. There are more than a few ways to go about this (feed the page through manually, print off a page with blank spaces) but the end-result is the same. This is probably the easiest printer maintenance technique and is one of the most effective.

Properly remove dust when it gets inside

If your printer does accumulate interior dust or dirt particles (which will probably happen eventually, even if you’re regularly cleaning the outside) then take care of the problem properly. Veer away of canned air dusters that just spray dust particles all around the inside of a printer and use a small vacuum instead.

Unclog your printer heads

The dreaded white lines that sometimes appear all across your printed document actually has a pretty simple fix. Most of the time it’s just because your printer heads are clogged. Newer printers tend to have a self-cleaning mode that will remedy the issue, but you can always open your printer and go in there yourself.

Be calm when a paper jam happens

Nothing is more annoying than a paper jam, and your first instinct is to just rip the paper out and start again. Hold back that visceral urge because harshly yanking out a paper could have you unintentionally harming your printer. Just stay calm and follow the best practice to fix a paper jam, as outlined in your printer’s manual.

Rock your toner cartridge

Have you suddenly found your toner cartridge empty? Well, don’t throw it out just yet, because it may still have some life to it. In order to get the most out of your toner cartridge, try rocking it back and forth. This will usually get more toner out of the cartridge and also ensure that the toner is spread more evenly across printer pages.

Featured image courtesy of: Wounds_and_Cracks

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