7 Steps to cleaning your laser printer
Cleaning a laser printer, fax, or copier of laser toner can be easy, provided you know what you’re doing and use the right tools. This article will share with you some simple tips to help you clean your laser printers of laser toner like a pro.
A word to the wise: Before I begin, I’d like to stress that this article is intended only to assist you with basic cleaning of the laser toner from your laser printer. If you’re unsure of your ability to perform any sort of printer maintenance, or if performing such maintenance will void the printer’s warranty, you should call your local repair shop.
Some safety issues: Though laser printers come in various shapes and sizes, they all use laser toner (that messy black powder). While cleaning your laser printer, the last thing you want is to have laser toner in your lungs or on your skin. The tips provided in this article should help reduce the chance of you being bathed in laser toner while cleaning your printer.
Laser toner particles are so fine that they can take more than fifteen minutes to settle if they become airborne, make that hours if you have fans or air-conditioners circulating them through an office. To avoid inhaling laser toner particles, try to keep the air in the cleaning area stable and leave the printer area for several minutes after cleaning. When you return, move slowly, open all windows, and begin vacuuming any laser toner from the floor, tabletops, and so forth.
Another dangerous area common to all laser printers is the fuser-roller compartment. The fuser roller gets extremely hot during the printing process and is usually covered for safety. Burns can occur, however, if you accidentally uncover and touch the roller. I recommend that you leave your printer off for at least one hour before cleaning it of laser toner.
As with all electrical equipment, make sure that the power cable is unplugged before you begin any work.
Here are the basic tools you need to clean the laser toner from the laser printer:
- Compressed can of air
- Wash cloth
- Cotton Swabs
- Isopropyl Alcohol (99 percent pure)
- Paint Brush (soft bristle, about a half-inch wide)
- Latex gloves (optional)
You can buy this in any department store or office supply store. Ranges in price from $3.00 to $10.00 per 10 oz. bottle. Use adequate ventilation please.
You’ll want to prevent laser toner particles from entering your throat and lungs. While laser toner inhalation has not been proven to cause serious health problems, respiratory tract irritation can occur with exposure to large amounts of laser toner dust. Laser toner can also contain potentially hazardous compounds, such as styrene, ethyl benzene, and xylene isomers. Use a mask that filters both odors and fine particles, such as the ones used for painting and sanding. You can usually find these at local hardware stores.
You can use the regular cotton swabs found in your local drugstore or those made especially for cleaning printers. The printer swabs come with six-inch-long sticks.
Do not use regular rubbing alcohol. Either use chemicals that are specifically designed to clean the heads of VCRs, cassette tapes, tape drives, and the like or use 99 percent pure isopropyl alcohol, which evaporates without leaving any residue.
Paint brush (soft bristle, about a half-inch wide):
This is used to brush out toner from tight crevices. Since bristles may fall out during the cleaning process, pull out any loose ones before you use the brush. I don’t recommend using toothbrushes.
Latex gloves (optional):
These must fit tightly on your hands since you want to maintain skin sensitivity. Drugstores usually sell them in boxes of 100. This is to keep your hands clean but if you don’t have them you can just wash up with soap and water afterwards.
Okay, let’s begin cleaning that laser printer of the laser toner. Now that you have the tools, it’s time to unplug the laser printer, let it sit for one hour, and then follow the steps below:
- Put on your mask and latex gloves if you have them.
- Open the printer and gently remove the laser toner cartridge or laser toner bottle.
- Use your wash cloth and wipe the laser toner cartridge. Place the laser toner cartridge aside.
- Use your vacuum to remove spilled laser toner from within the printer’s internal compartment. Try to prevent the vacuum’s nozzle from actually touching any of the printer’s internal surfaces.
- Use your paintbrush to remove laser toner from any crevices. Use gentle motions and vacuum as necessary.
- Many laser printers use very fine wires (called ‘corona wires’) that are often exposed. If your printer has such wires, take care to avoid vacuuming or brushing them. Breaking a corona wire can be a costly mistake. Dip a cotton swab into isopropyl alcohol and gently run it along the length of the wire. Also be sure to clean the underside of the wires. Never apply pressure.
- Reinsert the laser toner cartridge, close the printer, reconnect the power cord, and you are done.
Avoid using the wash cloth inside the printer. Though you can use the wash cloth to clean the inside, I do not recommend it. There are many sharp points that can tear the cloth’s fiber and leave loose strands inside the printer.
OEM vs. Remanufactured Laser Toner Cartridges:
Although many people buy OEM Name Brand laser toner cartridges, little do they know, they really are remanufactured! Can you believe it? Seriously folks, why spend many more dollars on OEM’s when you can get THE SAME quality laser toner cartridges for half or less than half the price? When you buy an OEM laser toner cartridge, just look at the box! It says “Made of new and recycled materials”. The OEM companies want you to send your laser toner cartridge back to them , so they can remanufacture it , and sell it back to you as new! Buying remanufactured laser toner cartridges saves the environment. Millions of laser toner cartridges get dumped in landfills every year. So, please, save the environment,and save your money!