A toner cartridge, also called a laser toner cartridge, is the consumable component used in a laser printer. Cleaning your cartridge as needed is very important for the quality of the printing and maximizes the printer performance. To reduce the chance of your printer toner cartridge clogging, printer manufacturers recommend that you print at least one page a week in both black and color. If uneven printing results occur, try shaking the laser toner cartridge or cleaning your printer.
- Run the printer toner cleaning program that came with your printer. It was designed specifically for clearing clogged toner cartridges, and it only takes a few minutes to complete. To effectively clear clogs, you may need to run the program more than once.
- The fuser-roller gets extremely hot while printing, so it is essential that you allow it to cool off completely to avoid burns. It is recommended that you allow the printer to sit unplugged for at least one hour before opening to clean.
- Turn off any fans and close any vents nearby to prevent air disturbances that could make the toner particles airborne. Laser toner is made up of fine particles and harmful materials, so it is important to avoid inhaling them. You may want to wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth and even disposable latex gloves to protect your hands when cleaning toner cartridges.
- Remove the printer toner cartridge from the printer, and wipe it with a damp cloth to remove excess toner. Then, place it on some old newspaper.
- There are thin wires called corona wires that will often be exposed during cleaning. These fine wires can be easily damaged and are costly to repair. Take extra precaution not to brush these fine wires. Instead, use a cotton swab moistened with isopropyl alcohol to gently run along the length of the wire. No pressure is required to remove the fine particles.
- Reinsert the laser toner cartridge into your printer. Now, you can safely turn the power on and print another test page to ensure the problem has cleared.
For a printer with normal use levels, it is typically sufficient to clean it every three months and have it professionally deep-cleaned once a year. If in the cleaning process you get some toner on you, keep in mind that toner can be washed off skin and garments with cold water. Toner fused to skin can be partially removed using an abrasive hand cleaner and will eventually wear off. For more on how to clean up any spills, see How to Remove Toner.