If your Epson printer is printing out faint images, skipping lines, or is streaking your image with lines, chances are you have a clogged nozzle–a common problem many users have with Epson printers.

It’s unavoidable that print heads clog over time as small amounts of ink residue dry up and collect in the nozzles. Being judicious about replacing cartridges promptly when the low ink alert goes off can do a lot to prevent ink from drying inside the nozzles, but you still may end up with one or several may still get clogged for a different reason.

Color Problems

Color printing problems in the Epson inkjet printers are widespread. When you don’t use them regularly, you might have one of the following issues. 

  1. The Epson printer is printing incorrect colors. 
  2. The Epson printer is printing faded colors. 

Generally, An Epson printer prints color properly when the ink nozzle/ printhead is jammed. So you need to clean them (nozzle/printhead) to calibrate the color issues. Apart from that, these issues can also cause faded or incorrect color print issues. 

  1. Ink volume is low. 
  2. Paper tray settings are incorrect. 
  3. The printer is not using the original cartridges. 
  4. Nozzle/print head is clogged. 
  5. Grayscale/black print mode is activated. 
  6. An ink cartridge or nozzle settings are incorrect. 

Blocked printheads can happen regardless if you use original Epson or aftermarket cartridges.

The Cause of Clogs

Printheads clog because nozzles get blocked by either air or ink. Clogs usually happen when:

You keep printing with depleted ink cartridges. Using empty ink cartridges can result in air bubbles that can clog your cartridge and/or printhead. Apart from clogs, printing with empty ink cartridges can cause your printhead to overheat damaging it permanently.

You don’t turn off your printer. Ink dries up in the nozzles when you don’t use it regularly. Turning your printer on triggers the printer to run a mini-cleaning cycle and gets the ink flowing again.

You don’t use your printer regularly. As mentioned previously, ink dries up when unused so if you only use your printer about twice a month, we suggest you choose a laser printer. Laser printers use toner powder and don’t dry up.

Knowing the common causes of clogged printheads can help you take the necessary steps to prevent them from happening. As the old adage goes, prevention is always better than cure.

Ways to Clean Your Printhead

Check your nozzles and run cleaning cycles using the menu on your printer before you open up your unit and clean it manually.

Printhead Cleaning Cycles.

Epson printer models feature a pretty efficient cleaning cycle that will usually clear out the nozzles in one or two cycles. Keep in mind, however, that the newer models have longer cleaning cycles that unfortunately use more ink every time. Here’s how to get started:

  • Before you do anything else, make sure the printer isn’t showing any errors on the LCD screen.
  • Press the Home button and select “Setup” then select “Maintenance.”
  • Select “Printhead Nozzle Check
  • Your printer will produce a page with four colored grids designed to illustrate which nozzles are blocked (and which are not).
  • If no gaps are present, select done.
  • If there are gaps or some lines are faint, select “Clean the printhead” and continue.

Caution: Never turn off your printer during a cleaning cycle. Doing so can cause permanent damage to the unit!

PLEASE NOTE: This process is specific to select Epson Workforce, Artisan, and SureColor model printers, but can be broadly applied across several different models, including most Expression models. Please consult with your printer manual if you have any questions about your particular printer.

Check out our video below to learn on how to run a printhead nozzle check and clean the printhead directly from your printer display:


Last modified: October 31, 2022



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