The design and durability of printers has advanced over time, with most machines capable of handling high-volume printing and lasting for many years. Whether you use a laser printer or inkjet printer, there are a few simple maintenance tasks that can be performed to ensure the unit will give the best quality for the longest amount of time.
Use the printer on a regular basis, at least once a week
When printers are left untouched for extended periods of time, the print heads can become dry and clogged, so they will not work as well the next time a print job is sent. Printing at least once a week can help resist clogging.
Use high-quality paper (and the proper type)
It can be tempting to use the least expensive paper possible, but high-quality paper has a tendency to jam less often and roll more smoothly. Also, be sure you use paper designed for your type of printer, such as laser paper for a laser printer and inkjet paper for an inkjet printer.
Occasionally clean the print heads
Some units have an automatic cleaning cycle while others require users to open the panel and wipe of the print head with a slightly dampened cloth. Consult your printer’s user manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions for cleaning print heads for your model.
Clean the printer’s interior and exterior
Open the printer’s lid and trays and use a can of compressed air to displace any dust that has settled. Don’t overuse the compressed air, however, as it could blow dirt and dust further into the printer. You can then gently wipe away any visible dust on the interior and exterior surfaces with a lint-free cloth. Dust buildup can eventually cause problems for moving parts. Consider cleaning the printer at least once a month. Here is a video demonstrating the cleaning process:
Cover the printer when not being used
If you use your printer infrequently, consider a dust cover. Covers can be purchased at standard office supplies store or online. This will simply keep dirt and dust from accumulating on the printer. Just remember to use the printer at least once a week for best results!
Turn it off with the power button
Always shut down the unit via the power button. Unplugging from the wall, turning off the power strip or flipping the switch that controls the outlet to off can be harmful to the printer’s power supply or other electrical components. Many printers also run a print head cleaning cycle or diagnostic while shutting down. Turning them off abruptly means these processes are skipped.
Use a maintenance kit
Laser printers often utilize printer maintenance kits, which include replacements for some of the moving parts that wear out over time. Consult your manual for the proper replacement interval and follow it to keep your printer running smoothly.
By following these few simple guidelines, you will likely extend the life of your machine and keep its print quality at the highest level. You may even consider adding steps like cleaning and using maintenance kits to your calendar so that you will remember them at the proper time.