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The magenta ink channel on my inkjet printer is blocked. I know about products on eBay, but I'm located in South Africa. I know that I shouldn't use methylated spirits (since they will leave a residue), pure 90% alcohol or water.

The solvent needs some type of surfactant cleaner that will bust the dry ink, but not damage the print head channels. I have not touched the print head yet, as I'm just printing e-books (i.e., using black ink channel/tank) at the moment.

Canon will tell you (every time) that it's best to buy (yet again) a new printer. I have never used refills on it, but have not printed anything for a month. Deep cleaning just wastes ink and then fills up the waste-ink reservoir. I had to clean the waste-ink reservoir as best I could and reset the waste ink reservoir counter—there is a secret way to do so.

I already have one (old) useless Canon printer in the cupboard, so there must be some household detergent that comes close to the real inkbuster product from the US on eBay.

However, before I try, I need to know as much as possible about the possible solutions for this. Also, I will store the ink tanks with their caps on whilst cleaning the printhead assembly.

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5 Answers

Isopropyl alcohol would probably be the best but you could probably get away with acetone (nail varnish remover). Long term you might want to switch over to a laser printer since these cope with long periods of idleness much better.

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How to Manually Clean Printer Heads

I suggest against using acetone available as usual nail-polish remover
it contains other compounds which may be left after the acetone solvent evaporates.

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Isopropyl alcohol is the best. Ideally, you could use the anhydrous form, but 90% should be available at your pharmacy (chemist). Stay away from anything lower like the commonly available 70%.

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+1 IPA is what to use and leaves no residue and does not affect the ink. –  paradroid Oct 7 '10 at 23:46
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@jason404: I'm having an IPA right this very minute! Oh, sorry, wrong kind! –  Dennis Williamson Oct 8 '10 at 4:49
    
I'm in a pub and there's a sign on the bar saying that IPA is £1.50/pint. I've always been into lager, but at that price I'm going to check it out =) –  paradroid Oct 8 '10 at 15:53
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Bleach? Alcohol worked at first setting the printhead nozzles onto 1/8" alcohol pool AND filling the basins that hold the cartridges with alcohol. The alcohol filtered through the heads in 1-2 hours and I could print, but it only lasted for a few hours. Each successive treatment got less results until finally despite overnight soakings nothing flowed thru the nozzles.

I threw away two printheads as unsaveable but this time I figured Why don't I try bleach? After all that is what I use to 'clean up' ink residue. With nothing to lose I placed the head in 1/8" of bleach in a small container and filled the basins with bleach.

Four hours later there was no hint of ink coming from the nozzles, only clear liquid. But could the bleach have simply neutralized all the color? It seemed too much to ask, but the nozzle entry ports were pure clean/white so, after drying the head off, I popped it back in the printer, head replaced the ink and, no kidding, it printed perfectly right off and hasn't skipped a line since (about 2 weeks).

I don't know what effect the bleach will have as time goes on but so far it is printing like it was new. So if you are about to throw away a clogged print head and depending on the kind of ink you are using, simple household bleach may just be the answer.

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I read a hundred of these forums and my head kept staying blocked.

As a last resort I tried soaking the head in methylated spirits for about 15 minutes. Then I blew out the nozzles and basically the whole head with compressed air.

I reinstalled the head and carried out a deep clean. Then I did a nozzle check and all was working like brand new.

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