We’re all familiar with the frustration that comes with a malfunctioning printer. They always seem to jam or run out of ink right in the middle of printing off something important.

Your printer is an essential part of your home or office and needs to be up and running when you need it. Taking care of your printer and undertaking a few regular maintenance activities will help keep your printer in prime working order.

Do what it tells you

Most printers these days have automatic notifications when something isn’t working properly, or to warn that it might stop working in the near future. These built in diagnostic features will usually trigger some sort of notification, whether it’s a maintenance light or a written notice on the screen.

You should always take immediate action to rectify the situation when one of these notices appear. The messages range from notifying you of a low ink cartridge, a printer jam or broken parts.

If left unattended, these minor issues can quickly turn into major issues, affecting the quality of your printing or causing further damage to the printer itself.

Cleaning

Keeping all the pieces of your printer clean and unobstructed helps keep your printer working efficiently, as well as ensuring your printer lasts as long as possible.

Once a month, you should clean your printhead. If you don’t have an automatic function for this, you can do this manually by simply removing the cartridges and cleaning the printhead with warm water. Be sure to let it dry completely before replacing it.

You should also regularly clean the insides of your printer using a gentle touch and slightly damp cloths or compressed air to get rid of any dust.

Cartridges

The type of ink cartridges that you use in your printer can also affect the way it works.

You should always use high quality, branded cartridges in your printer. The generic cartridges may be enticing as they are cheaper, but your printer won’t function as well and your printing will decrease in quality.

When replacing your cartridges, be sure to read the instructions carefully so you know you are doing it properly. If you do it incorrectly, you can risk damaging your printer.

Reference your manual

Don’t lose track of the manual that came with your printer! It’s very important to have your manual around when you encounter a problem. The solution to most common problems will be found in your manual, as well as instructions for basic tasks, such as understanding the maintenance notifications and replacing ink cartridges.

Let it rest

When you aren’t using your printer, you should turn it off. Printers get very warm when they are turned on, which can dry out your ink cartridges and cause clogs and other damages.

At the same time, it is important to give your printer a little exercise every once in awhile. If you aren’t using it regularly, turn it on every 10 days or so and print something so that the ink doesn’t dry up. This also enables you cantotest to make sure there’s no damage to the printer.

Your printer is a very useful tool to have, but if it’s not working properly, it can be a nightmare. Stay on top of printer maintenance so you don’t encounter any issues and you can meet every deadline.