Printer problems are nearly always frustrating. But if you do plenty of printing, then it’s just a matter of time until you’re dealing with those kinds of issues. Unfortunately, many printer problems can be obscure and hard to diagnose. Fortunately, the solutions are usually much simpler and cheaper than replacing your printer.
If you have print jobs which are coming out faint, or otherwise incomplete, you’re probably suffering from jammed print heads. And if you’ve got streaking within your prints as well, then you’re almost certainly dealing with a clogged nozzle. These types of clogs are an unavoidable part of printing as dry ink residue collects within the shaft over time.
Choosing Print Head Nozzle Cleaning Kits
If you’ve got an Epson printer, then sooner or later, you’re going to want a print head nozzle cleaning kit. Fortunately, choosing the right kit isn’t complicated, and is certainly less complicated than almost every other aspect of using a printer. The best print head nozzle cleaning kits won’t require straining physical labor, either.
Chemical Delivery or Physical Removal
There are basically two ways to clean out small, clogged spaces. The first option is physical removal. In the case of plumbing, that’s as simple as using a plumber’s snake. In the case of print head nozzle cleaning, physical removal is somewhat more complicated. That’s because the exceptionally small size of print head nozzles ensures they’re far from invulnerable.
While firm pressure is necessary to remove ink build-up, that pressure can be perilous. Too much pressure and you damage the nozzle. Too little pressure and you’re unable to do any effective cleaning. Taking on the process by hand, or with the help of boiling water, can partially solve the problem in spite of extreme efforts.
Clogged sinks are usually best handled by plumber’s snakes instead of chemical removal. That’s because using a snake is quick, effective, and doesn’t really have recurring cost. But the opposite is true for using chemical solutions print heads. The difference is scale of size. Manual efforts are time consuming and minimally effective, while chemical solutions are quick and effective.
The Risks of Cleaning Kits
But whether you’re pouring drain-cleaner down your sink, or cleaning solution through print heads, there’s always some risk involved. To be clear, cleaning solutions have little chance of harming your printer. But the chance is not zero.
If you select a particularly powerful cleaning agent, you may be warned of the possibility of damaging your equipment. This possibility is generally very low, and only mentioned for legal reasons, but it does exist. And it’s another reason for selecting among reputable print head nozzle cleaning kit brands.
Often times, milder cleaning solutions can be just as effective, when they’re specifically made to deal with clogged inks. But those solutions won’t as effective if the clog is actually the result of something besides dried inks and toner. In other words, if you have reason to believe your clog isn’t ink related, you may be better off selecting a stronger cleaning solution.
How much cleaning solution is provided with the cleaning kit? It typically only takes two or three milliliters of fluid to clean your printer, and there are roughly 30 milliliters in one fluid ounce. That means you can expect roughly 10 uses from a single ounce of fluid. Kits are usually sold with between 5 and 15 ounces of fluid, with the best deals usually provided for people willing to buy in volume.
Ease of Use
Print head nozzle cleaning solution is drawn from a bottle of fluid by a plastic syringe. The syringes for cleaning print heads are specially made for connecting and injecting fluid into print-heads. Completing the cleaning process is usually not that complicated, and certainly within the capabilities of anyone who’s changed the ink in their printer.
Even without that basic level of competence, any reputable print head nozzle cleaning kit will include reasonably specific instructions for use. Unfortunately, these instructions are not always as specific as novice users may like. That’s because just about everyone uses a slightly different print device. But fortunately, the best print head nozzle cleaning kits now also provide a variety of video instructions to make things easier.
Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits
Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits are a fairly standard tool for anyone with an Epson printer. That’s because using Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits is particularly easy, even for people who aren’t technologically inclined. And it’s because Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits have some of the highest rates of success of any type of cleaning kit on the market.
While there’s no such thing as a silver bullet for every type of print head nozzle jam, Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits come awfully close. This kit is standardized to the point that the included instructional video can all but do the job for you.
Cleaning Efficacy and Process
Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits are available in a variety of sizes, from 5 to 17 ounces. And getting that cleaning solution into action is easy. You’ll want to start by running a print job to determine which nozzles have to be cleaned. After that, you’ll need to slightly warm-up the cleaning solution, then remove your print cartridges.
And that’s about as hard as the process gets. From there, you simply connect each print-head with the syringe and inject 1ml of Printhead Hospital cleaning solution into each of the print heads you’re trying to clear out. You leave the solution to work for about five minutes, then inject another 1ml of fluid to wash everything out.
After you’ve completed this process, you’ll need fresh ink to start printing again, but your print heads will be back in working order. As Printhead Hospital mentions numerous times on their packaging, there’s a tiny risk that this process will cause damage to your printer. Consequently, it only makes sense to turn to print head nozzle cleaning kits after you’ve tried other solutions.
These print head nozzle cleaning kits are not compatible with Artisan 6XX, 7XX, and 8XX series printers. They also have no compatibility to speak of with the Stylus Pro series, ET series, R3000 printers. Beyond that, Printhead Hospital can bring back to life essentially any mainstream consumer Epson printer you can name.
The standard Printhead Hospital kit includes 5 ounces of cleaning fluid, a syringe, connective tubing, one reusable powder-free glove, blotting paper for preventing a mess, and a laminated instruction card. Printhead Hospital claims a 90% success rate from their cleaning kits, and promise a full refund if you’re one of the unfortunate 10% who can’t solve their problem.
As mentioned earlier, Printhead Hospital provides an instructional video for making things a bit simpler. Having video direction does make things slightly easier to for someone less familiar with these types of problems. But you probably won’t have to take the time to dig it up because their written instructions are fairly well detailed and specific.
Magic Bullet Print Head Cleaner and Unblocker Kit
The Magic Bullet is a fairly direct solution to blocked print head problems. As with Printhead Hospital, this is a brand widely favored by a variety of professional technicians. It’s been made specifically for Epson desktop printers, and specially formulated to break down dried inks.
The kit includes a two-ounce bottle of cleaning solution, one pair of gloves, cleaning instructions, and a pair of 10ml syringes for Epson printers. As with Printhead Hospital, Magic Bullet provides a fairly detailed instructional video that provides step-by-step instructions for novice users.
One thing to keep in mind is Magic Bullet cleaning solution is made specifically for flushing out inks. If you’re looking into solving print head nozzle jams which were caused by foreign agents apart from ink, then Magic Bullet is not going to be an effective solution for those type of jams.
Cleaning Efficacy and Process
This kit provides essentially everything you need for years of effective print head cleaning. The end of each syringe is specially adapted to connect with Epson printer print head. The inclusion of two syringes may not make sense at first, but it’s actually highly convenient in two ways. It makes the two-step process smoother to have a secondary flushing instrument ready, and it’s useful to have a backup syringe just in-case something happens to the first.
With respect to the cleaning solution, Magic Bullet lives up to its name. The Magic Bullet formula is nothing if not strong, allowing you to flush out internal ink buildup with little effort. But like any print head nozzle cleaning kit, you do have to push through the formula twice. The first pass breaks down the ink buildup within your print heads, and the second pass flushes everything out, preparing you for your next print job.
As Magic Bullet is keen on reminding people, their cleaner kits were made by chemists specifically for printer ink. That’s why it doesn’t contain any IPA or alcohol-based cleaning solutions, which may gradually wear down your equipment.
We tend to think of alcohol as being a fairly harmless cleaning agent. But it’s actually rather good at eating into a variety of different materials, including many common plastics. If a small amount of alcoholic cleaner becomes trapped in a space where it’s unable to evaporate, like within a print head, the results can be rapidly destructive.
All in all, using the Magic Bullet Print Head Cleaner and Unblocker kit is easy because of Magic Bullet’s detailed instructions. Their written instructions are more substantive than those used by Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits because it isn’t restricted to the size of a laminated card. On the other hand, these instructions are tougher to store away or save for later compared to a laminated card.
In terms of compatibility, the Magic Bullet Print Head Cleaner and Unblocker Kit has similar range of support as the Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kit. It isn’t compatible with Epson PX 7XX or 8XX models, nor the Epson Artisan 7XX and 8XX printers, or the Stylus SX515W. If you can’t spot the trend, these solutions will not work with printers that receive ink through the use of tubes, nor will it work with exceptionally large/wide format printers.
Choosing Between 2 of the Best Print Head Nozzle Cleaning Kits
In most of the ways that matter, there’s a great deal of overlap between Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits, and the Magic Bullet Print Head Cleaner and Unblocker Kit. They’re both cost effective solutions, and they both include everything you need to flush out your print heads multiple times. But they’re quite different with respect to the magnitude of their strength, and with respect to repeated application.
The Magic Bullet Print Head Cleaner and Unblocker kit is an effective, highly powerful cleaning solution. As with Printhead Hospital, ease of use is exceptionally high, making this a great choice for someone who’s not confident in their ability to clean print heads or handle other printer issues. And the ink-oriented nature of this cleaning solution means it’s far less likely to potentially cause damage to your system than nearly all other types of print head nozzle cleaning kits.
The Printhead Hospital cleaner includes 5oz of solution. It’s a fairly mild cleaning agent, but it nevertheless tears through nearly all print head clogs. Printhead Hospital Cleaning Kits report that nine of ten people are successful with their kit, which are fairly good odds. This is also one of the most economical choices for print head nozzle cleaning kits, especially if you’re looking into flush-out print heads on a regular basis.