Given that laser printers have no end of hi-tech wizardry under the bonnet, you’d expect them to be difficult to clean and maintain. But compared to inkjets – whose innards are often flecked with messy ink residue – laser printers are surprisingly easy to clean, provided you have the right tools and equipment that is.
In this step-by-step, fool-proof guide, we’ll be demonstrating how to safely and effectively clean a laser printer, as well as divvying up some advice on the tools you’ll need to get the job done right.
What You’ll Need
As laser printers use powdered toner in the print process, you’ll need to use a few specialist tools to ensure the complete removal of any fine particles. Below, we’ve outlined the specialist tools and equipment required to clean a laser printer effectively.
Toner Cloth: A disposable cloth which, when activated, traps toner particles for easy removal.
Isopropyl Alcohol: The intricate components housed within a laser machine require sensitive chemicals to keep them clean. Use isopropyl alcohol to ensure no residue is left behind after cleaning.
Dust Mask: If inhaled, powdered toner can cause irritation. Before you open the back of the printer, ensure the room is well ventilated and don a dust mask.
Latex Gloves: If exposed to the skin, toner can cause irritation; wear latex or rubber gloves to prevent this.
Toner Vacuum (Optional): A toner vacuum is a powerful handheld device capable of gently removing toner from inside a laser printer. Though extremely useful, toner vacuums are expensive, so we’ve marked it an optional tool.
How to Clean Your Laser Printer
Once you’re tooled up with the equipment above, it’s time to crack open the back of your printer and get to work. Before you do that, we’d like to remind you that should you feel uncomfortable handling any internal components, it’s vital you contact an experienced printer technician who can complete the clean for you.
Step 1: Switch Off, Cool Down
Before you open the back of your printer and start scouring – hold your horses. First, you’ll need to turn the printer off at the mains and – if you’ve recently used the machine – wait for it to cool down. Laser printers grow extremely hot when switched on, so it’s important to give them time to cool.
Step 2: Removing and Cleaning the Toner Cartridge
Once the printer has cooled, open the back and remove the toner cartridge (your printer’s manual can tell you how to do this). Using a square of toner cloth, remove excess toner from the cartridge, before setting to one side on a second piece of toner cloth.
Step 3: Remove Excess Toner from Internal Components
Using a square of toner cloth (or a toner vacuum if you’ve purchased one) reach inside the machine and remove any and all excess toner from internal surfaces. Toner is likely to build up around the cartridge housing, as well as on other components that may prove difficult to reach. Try to be as gentle as possible when cleaning inside the machine, as some components are fragile and costly to replace if damaged.
Step 4: Swab Surfaces with Isopropyl Alcohol
For intricate components such as cables and wires, moisten a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe with isopropyl alcohol to ensure a safe, sterile clean. This 99% pure chemical will remove debris from internal parts whilst leaving no trace of residue.
Step 5: Reassemble
Once you’re happy you’ve carefully removed any and all toner from within the machine, it’s time to reinsert the toner cartridge and its accompanying bottle. Making reference the user manual where necessary, insert the cartridge and close the machine before performing any cartridge realignment checks as recommended by the manufacturer. It’s also a good idea to produce a couple of trial prints to ensure everything is working as it should. And you’re done.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to find out more about printer maintenance, be sure to check out the rest of the Toner Giant blog. Alternatively, if you’re interested in purchasing replacement toner cartridges for your laser printer, visit our homepage.