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I just saw this question: Clean Print Cartridge Heads

Now, I just cannot help but wonder... Why would you ever need to do this? I remember having a HP deskjet printer in the past too, which could do this but I never cleaned the heads this way. So why do printers offer this functionality, what does it do exactly. how much ink is wasted this way and best of all: is this really needed?

(Btw, I replaced my deskjet with a color laserprinter due to the large amounts of prints I make, nowadays... This is pure curiosity.)

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

This is needed especially if the printer hasn't been used for a while. The ink will dry and block the output areas. I recently bought a used printer and the difference between print quality before and after a few cleans was huge.

The same thing happens with a ball point pen. The usual method is to scribble rapidly or to briefly heat the nib. Wouldn't recommend these options with a printer though.

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"Because they need to be cleaned", would be the simplest answer.

Maybe nowadays printers are better at keeping themselves clean, but I remember my printer from like 5 years ago, which was often not printing on a line or two anymore, and cleaning was then necessary, to regain full printing functionality.

Heads can get clogged a bit, especially if you don't use your printer frequently. The cleaning (which is most often pushing the printer to throw a lot of ink) will unclog them, to restore a good printing.

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I was under the impression that any inkjet printer left for a period of time would suffer from clogged jets. –  EmmEff Oct 16 '09 at 13:26
    
But isn't the print head part of the ink cartridge? Wouldn't it just be easier to throw away the old cartridge? Or temporary store the cartridge in a safe place when the printer is unused for a long time? –  Wim ten Brink Oct 16 '09 at 14:25
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That depends on the printer brand.. For example, HP puts the head in the cartridge while Epson cartridges are just ink storage. –  Chris Nava Oct 16 '09 at 14:41
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Actually, depends on the printer, it's not even linked to the brand, some Epson are with the head too. –  Gnoupi Oct 16 '09 at 15:16
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