Machines are subject to wear-and-tear. As you use printers or laminators, dirt, dust, and debris get caught. It’s only small amounts at first, slowly accumulating like dead skin on the edge of a computer mouse. But eventually, the problem gets severe enough that it can start causing serious problems. The quality of your prints may get worse, or your laminators may start running off-track.
Dust and debris don’t seem all that dangerous to us, but humans are self-regenerating machines with an impressive immune system. When a 1” wheel inside your printer gets caked with a little bit of crud, that dirt is never going away without your personal intervention. And that little bit of dirt can lead to erroneous ink marks spread across your documents, in an uneven, unattractive pattern.
Using Cleaning Sheets
Unless you’re a certified technician and you’re fine voiding the warranty on your equipment, you probably don’t want to pop it open and try scrubbing it down. That’s where cleaning sheets come in. Cleaning sheets are a special form of sticky paper that’s adapted to help remove the debris that gets caught up in your devices.
Regular use can help keep your equipment in optimal shape, get rid of several types of printing errors, and prevent those errors from reemerging in the future. You can run through a single sheet once per week, and you’ll end up needing drastically fewer service calls over the lifespan of your device. Regular maintenance of your equipment is always a good idea, especially if you own equipment worth protecting.
Choosing Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets
The sheets you select may or may not be pre-moistened. Choosing pre-moistened sheets is typically the way to go because they make it that-much easier to clean your devices. They’re usually coated in a mild cleaning solution which can help effectively remove dirt from within your machine. Most importantly, they can do this without leaving residue which eats away at your equipment. With the wrong soap solution, you could accidentally damage the rollers inside your device quite easily.
Cleaning sheets are almost always reusable. How many uses you can expect from a single sheet depends on the brand you choose. But you should expect to be able to run a sheet through at least three times before discarding it. Pre-moistened sheets tend to dry out over time. Luckily, they can be reinvigorated by slightly dampening the sheet before use.
And of course, you’ll want to think about how many sheets are in a package. How many you’ll need depends on how often you plan on cleaning your devices. And that depends on what kind of print volume you have to deal with. So it’s a complicated question, but most packages include about 10 cleaning sheets.
Given at least three reuses each, a single package should then provide you with 30 uses. That’s roughly an entire year’s worth of cleaning, even if you’re being quite zealous about running through the sheets on a regular basis. If you decide to be more economical with your testing, you can expect as many as 60 effective tests.
Many things can go wrong with printers. If you find black shadows and weird spots on your prints, they might not necessarily be the result of minor debris being caught in your machine. Over great periods of time, the rollers inside print devices gradually wear down. And if your rollers wearing out are the cause of your print problems, then all the cleaning in the world isn’t going to help you solve them. You’ll need to replace the rollers, or replace the printer.
But if you have no reason to believe your rollers are worn out, then cleaning can solve your problem. Moreover, cleaning will most likely extend the lifespan of the rollers in your device. As long as you keep in mind that wear and tear is a thing that happens to rollers, then you have realistic expectations for what cleaning can do for you.
When You Know They Worked
When you run these cleaning sheets through the laser printer, the printing drums become slightly wet. Laser printers use static electricity to help pick up the toner they use, and static function isn’t going to work well while wet. You need to give them 30 minutes before you can expect printing results go back to normal. Otherwise you’ll certainly get smeared, faded, pages. You might even damage your toner cartridge.
Microcare Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets
As their name suggests, Microcare Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets are for removing dirt particles and dust from within small spaces inside laser printers. This package includes 25 cleaning sheets, and each individual sheet can be used a maximum of 20 times. That’s 500 tests in a package, which works out to about three cents per test.
Microcare cleaning sheets are constructed to the standard 8.5 x 11” design of A1 legal paper. In other words, the regular paper used in everyday printers. Though they’re ever-so slightly thicker than a sheet of paper, they’ll fit in any device that accepts A1 paper. This full 8.5” width is key to their effectiveness. The positioning of the rollers inside laser printers need special accommodation, and Microcare has constructed these sheets in knowledge of that.
Using Microwave Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets is simple. Turn on your PC and load up a document you’d like to print. Take one of the cleaning sheets from the cleaning sheet package, and load it into the manual feed tray, or place it into the regular document-feeder for paper. Start the print job, and watch the cleaning paper move through its cleaning path. Flip the paper over, and repeat.
For copier machines, you feed through the manual bypass tray, or enter from the top of the paper stack. And you’ll want to copy a couple of separate times for best effect. Using a laser fax, use the Start/Copy function to move through the fax machine two or three times, while flipping the cleaning paper each time.
Microcare Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets are made in the USA. They’re also the same size as a full sheet of paper, which gives them the capacity to clean up the distant edges of laser printer rollers quite well. While laser printing sheets aren’t terribly expensive, it’s still worth noting Microcare sheets are quite competitively priced.
Waffletechnology Cleaning Sheets
Waffletechnology K2-PCFF5 EZ Cleaner Sheets includes five sheets. Like you might hope, they’re useful for helping to remove debris, dirt, and adhesives which get caught in a printer over time. With regular use, you can expect Waffletechnology sheets to help ensure the quality of your prints aren’t unexpectedly reduced. These sheets are great for cleaning rollers, and in some cases, can even help extend the toner and ink cartridge life.
The Waffletechnology Cleaning Sheets use a slightly slim 11 x 6-inch construction, with roughly the same dimensions as a sheet of paper. Each sheet has been pre-moistened with an IPA cleaning solution, intent on removing the build-up of paper and other contaminates. The IPA solution is non-abrasive, and won’t leave a damaging residue on your equipment.
These slightly thinner sheets are ideal for the guts of ordinary and duplex printers. Swapping in and out each cleaning sheet is as simple as loading a sheet of paper. After each pass, you’ll want to carefully examine the state of the sheet. If it comes through particularly dirty, it might not be advisable to reuse it additional times.
This pack only includes five sheets, so you’re unlikely to experience problems with your sheets drying out from time. But if the sheets have dried out, you want to spray them gently with water to remoisten. The IPA solution is fairly favorable to being rehydrated like this, and the ability for the sheet to grab at bits of dirt remains intact following rehydration.
Fellowes Cleaning Sheets
The Fellowes Cleaning Sheets are uniquely made for cleaning laminators. Much like printers, most laminators use some kind of roller to help feed documents through their body. But in the case of laminators, weaknesses in the rollers can come out in the quality of your seal. They can manifest as small bubbles. Worse still, they can contribute to leading your lamination off track as it’s guided through the machine!
What’s the difference between these cleaning sheets and ordinary laser printer cleaning sheets? Fellowes Cleaning Sheets are made specifically to help remove the kind of sticky residue which is left behind after lamination. While these sheets still remove the general dust, dirt, and debris as you’d expect from any cleaning sheet, they’re particularly aimed at handling a buildup of sticky residue.
Each sheet uses the standard A1 legal format of 8.5 x 11-inches. A single pack includes 10 cleaning sheets. With a conservative estimate of three uses per sheet, and cleaning your laminator every other week, these 10 Fellowes Cleaning Sheets provide more than a full year of cleaning power. If you’re being economical with the sheet use, you could easily expect closer to three years of cleaning for a single laminating device.
At the end of the day, what matters is that these sheets help keep roller laminators working efficiently. They prevent residue trails from building up after lamination. And keeping things working will effectively extend the lifespan of your laminator in the process.
Fellowes laminator cleaning sheets were made specifically with Fellowes laminators in mind, but they would have no issue feeding through any laminator that accepts full sized documents.
Choosing Between 3 Restorative Cleaning Sheets
The Microcare Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets are a great choice for someone who’s involved in high volumes of printing. These 25 test sheets provide a ridiculous amount of cleaning power, which has the potential to greatly extend the lifespan of your equipment. They can prevent you from running into a variety of dirt-based ugly print problems. They’re a particularly good selection for someone who is cleaning multiple devices, like a librarian who is managing four printing devices.
Waffletechnology Cleaning Sheets are a stable, value-oriented choice. They’ve got the essential cleaning potential you need to take care of your laser printer. The 11 x 6-inch construction makes them more suitable to fax machines and copiers than anything else.
The broader 11 x 8-inch construction used by Microcare is great specifically for laser printers, but it would have issues if you tried to stick them into slimmer feeding slots. That makes the Waffletechnology sheets a good choice for people who are cleaning a multi-purpose device, or several devices.
Regular lamination leaves behind a particularly big mess. Fellowes Cleaning Sheets are excellent at fully cleaning the surface of laminator rollers as it sweeps through. Unlike many other types of cleaning sheets, Fellowes sheets generally only need one pass. And these sheets are dynamically designed to work for essentially any laminator that will accept the sizes standard A1 legal paper. All in all, Fellowes Cleaning Sheets are a good choice for people who are trying to keep their lamination equipment in good order.
2 thoughts on “In-Depth Guide to the Best Laser Printer Cleaning Sheets”
Wow really awesome informative article. Thanks for sharing such article.
I have a new Fellowes laminator and Fellowes advises using the cleaning sheets after every use or every 5 laminations, whichever comes first, — much more than “every other week” if you’re doing a lot of laminating. After only 2 pages of laminating, I used the cleaning sheet and it picked up visible tiny stripes of glue. So it seems clear that I should use the sheets, regularly, making them not economical at all.
I am wondering if I could buy some other kind of paper in quantity (like a ream) that I could use freely to keep this new machine clean. The cleaning sheets appear to be nothing more than slick brochure paper. Any ideas?