If you have a perfectly good laser printer in your home or office that has been having some quality issues because it is dirty, you have three options. You can junk it and purchase a new machine, call a professional technician to come clean it thoroughly for you, or you can clean it yourself. Deep-cleaning a laser printer is not an easy task and will require time, effort and a few tools. However, it will save you money and extend the life of your machine.
Some of the basic tools you will need to have are latex gloves, cotton swabs, isopropyl alcohol, a mask and newspaper that you can lie down to protect the floor. You will need to have a small brush, preferably an unused paintbrush with soft bristles. Cloths will be needed to wipe the loose particles away. Of course you can use standard cloths or paper towels, but there are special toner cloths designed to trap the toner particles so none become airborne. Toner particles in the air can get in your lungs and that could be dangerous (hence the mask). The primary tool you will need is a vacuum. It is recommended to use a toner vacuum that has a filter designed to keep particles in, but if you only have a standard vacuum, it will also work.
Always unplug your printer and it is advised to let it cool down for an hour or so before putting your hands inside a hot machine. Put on your protective gear (gloves and mask) and lay down the newspaper. You are ready to start cleaning. *WARNING* Check your warranty before cleaning to make sure doing your own maintenance does not void it!
Follow these steps:
- Remove the laser toner cartridge(s). Use a cloth to wipe down the cartridge and then set it on the newspaper so it does not leak toner onto your floor.
- Turn on your vacuum and put the hose in the open compartment. Be sure not to touch anything with the nozzle, just get close enough to suck up any dirt and loose particles.
- Use the brush to get loose toner particles out of the corners and crevices of the machine. Alternate with vacuuming while you do this.
- When you get to the corona wires, which are rather sensitive, use a cotton swab dampened with isopropyl alcohol to wipe the wires clean. These wires are very thin and located near the drum.
- Wipe the rollers with alcohol, as they can cause jams when dirty.
- Reinstall the cartridge, close the lid and plug the machine back in. Run a test page to make sure everything is working.
Be careful when using the cloth inside the printer as it could get ripped or pieces of fiber could get stuck and affect the print quality. To prolong the life of your printer, try to do this deep cleaning cycle once a year!