Updated 21/05/2024

You may be wondering ‘Why is my printer printing lines?’ When you need to print urgently, this issue can be extremely frustrating if there are missing lines, streaks or banding horizontally across the page you’ve just printed.

A printer printing lines on the page are normally caused by a blocked, dirty, or damaged print head. Blocked ink cartridge nozzles, or not removing protective seals correctly when you installed a new ink cartridge can also cause missing lines of print.

Learn how to fix the printing lines issue, by first choosing from the following:



If you’re looking for a way to fix black lines, smudges or missing sections visit our page:

Black lines down the page – 4 causes and how to fix.



What causes an inkjet printer printing lines?


An inkjet printer printing lines or missing lines on printouts are caused when the printer cartridges or the cartridge carriage which contains the print head becomes dirty or damaged. 

Over time, ink can dry and build up on the nozzles where the ink comes out, as the cartridge moves across the page and is transferred onto the paper. This can also cause smudges, blurry print or the wrong colour to come out depending on which cartridge is blocked.

For some brands of printer, such as Epson, an inkjet printer printing lines can also be caused by miss-aligned print heads. This typically happens overtime as the printer gets moved about and you will normally see off coloured streaks or skipping lines where colours have not merged correctly during prints.


How to fix an inkjet printer printing or missing lines


Firstly, make sure that you are using the correct paper type for your printer. Unless you are using plain paper, an inkjet printer requires specific inkjet paper. If you have the incorrect paper type, the ink will not absorb correctly and can cause issues.

If you have recently installed a new cartridge, check that all protective seals have been correctly removed, then try the following steps:


Step 1 – Run the cartridge/print head cleaning process 


The following steps will fix most issues…

  1. From the LCD panel on your printer go to settings and select the clean print head or clean cartridge option.
  2. Following that run the cartridge alignment option, to fix any colour alignment issues.
  3. If you don’t have a screen on your printer, on your PC select control panel > Devices & Printers > Right-click the printer in the list and select ‘Printing Properties’. You can normally find the option to clean from here, often in the services tab.

You may need to run the cleaning process up to 3 times to see an improvement. If you’re still experiencing issues move on to step 2…


Step 2 – Clean the cartridges/nozzles


  1. Print a test page to try to determine which colour is blocked.
  2. Open the printer door and remove the blocked cartridge(s)
  3. Use a damp paper towel to gently wipe any dry or blobs of ink away from the nozzles at the bottom or back of the cartridge.
  4. Place the cartridge on top of a damp paper towel with the nozzle/print head touching the damp part until the ink flows a little (being careful not to get ink on clothing, furniture or skin).
  5. Reinstall the ink cartridges and try them again.


Step 3 – Clean the ink cartridge carriage/print head.


Dirt or fluff can also build up in the ink cartridge holder where the print heads are located.

  1. Remove the ink cartridges from the cartridge holder
  2. Using a dampened cotton swab, gently wipe the underside of the ink holder where the print head is located until completely clean of ink.
  3. Re-install the inks and try again.


Lastly, through the printers on screen maintenance or settings menu, run the cartridge alignment process to make sure that the print heads are aligned correctly and the prints no longer have streaks of colour across the page.

If the steps above don’t resolve the issue, you will need to replace the ink cartridges, as they may be running out of ink, be damaged or may have dried up.


How to fix a laser printer printing lines on the printout


If your laser printer is skipping or missing lines, this is normally caused when seals haven’t been removed correctly. It can also occur when there is damage to the toner, drum unit, or damage to the fuser unit. To fix the issue follow these steps:

  1. If available, run the drum/fuser cleaning process from the printer’s menu. Usually found in the print settings or maintenance section.
  2. If available Run the general clean process.
  3. Remove the toners/drums (often in one unit) and physically check the drum cylinder for dirt or damage whilst making sure not to touch it (the drum is a green metal cylinder).
  4. If the drum is damaged or dirty, try to clean it with an air duster (If this doesn’t remove dirt, the drums or toners will need to be replaced with new ones).
  5. Re-install the toner/drums and try again.


If the steps above don’t correct the issue, you may need to replace the fuser unit in the printer. It may have a build-up of dirt and cannot be cleaned manually.


The above steps will help resolve your issue. Let us know if they helped by commenting below!