I have my printer next to my desk, and oftentimes eat at my desk. I had a bottle of oil on my desk and accidentally knocked it over and it spilled on my printer which was beside my desk. Now, when I print, there are about 2 inches of whitespace on one side of the paper because the printer won't print there. I opened up my printer and noticed when looking at the toner cartridge that about 2 inches of the side of the black part of the toner cartridge looks like the toner came off of it. I was thinking of just buying some more toner and refilling the cartridge. I'm not sure if the oil somehow messes with the toner though, and doing so would just be a waste of time.

missing toner

For anybody who understands how printers work, is adding new toner to the cartridge a good idea, or do you think the oil has messed it up permanently? (I don't want to buy another toner cartridge because they cost more than the printer itself did)

I already tried shaking the cartridge around and that didn't seem to help

  • It's hard to tell from the picture what has oil on it, but I'm glad I'm not you. :-) Oil can really make a mess of many different parts. Toner will be adulterated, the rollers and sheets that transfer the toner will be affected, the corona wire that transfers the static charge, paper feed rollers, laser head, mirror, optical sensors, bushings, etc. Besides the operational parts, it will make the plastic shell dirty and dust will stick to it. It's also difficult to clean because things that clean oil aren't usually good for other internal parts. (cont'd) – fixer1234 Aug 11 '16 at 18:28
  • Really, the best bet is to identify every spot that got any oil on it. Anything where the oil would make a difference, see if it can be disassembled and properly cleaned, or at least get good access to it and try to clean it in place. Be careful not to leave residual cleaning products. Some parts may be hard to effectively clean. If it got into the toner, that might just be a loss. You don't identify the printer, but if it was an inexpensive consumer-grade model, the cost to have it professionally restored probably wouldn't be worth it. – fixer1234 Aug 11 '16 at 18:28

Toner is a very fine powder. So you can imagine how any moisture or oil would likely cause the power to cake or clump. The best solution is to replace the toner cartridge.

Adding toner is not advised, if you do not have the proper equipment because it will be messy and possibly hazardous to your health depending how you do it.

Some kits come with all you need to do it, but those are for refill, not to clean oil residue. You may be able to take is somewhere and have it professionally repaired and refilled.

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  • This is correct, but it's more than just causing the toner to cake or clump. Even if you spread the oil around so there's no clumping, it will still change the characteristics of the toner and it won't print right. Adding more toner will just ruin the additional toner. Cut your losses. – fixer1234 Aug 11 '16 at 18:38
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    You're probably right. Would be less hassle and expense to just buy a new one. – CharlieRB Aug 11 '16 at 18:40
  • BTW, regarding the point in the question about the toner cartridge being more expensive than the printer, the printer is just a mechanism to sell you toner (the razor blade sales model). If you buy a new printer, you will still have to buy toner for it, so you're just adding the cost of the printer to the equation. – fixer1234 Aug 11 '16 at 18:47
  • New printers come with toner? – Moab Aug 11 '16 at 20:17
  • Some do come with an initial toner. Granted, it isn't a full capacity one, but yes, some do. – CharlieRB Aug 11 '16 at 20:18

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