Keep your inkjet printer running smoothly with this tip

Inkjet printers can be troublesome for some people and they are usually brilliant for a while after you buy them, but after a year or two they stop working. Why is this and what can you do? The answer is simple.

To state the obvious, Inkjet printers contain ink and they squirt it onto the paper using jets. The ink head inside the printer contains tiny nozzles through which the liquid ink is squirted. It runs from left to right across the paper printing a little bit at a time.

If you use an inkjet printer regularly you probably will not have a problem. One that is in a busy office or at home might run for years and crank out thousands of pages, all perfectly.

The biggest problem with inkjet printers is ink drying in the nozzles or jets. This can occur if the printer is not used for some time. It affects home users the most, because they only occasionally print documents.

 Printer problem

The length of time an inkjet printer can stand idle varies from model to model and ink to ink. I have had inkjet printers stop working after about three weeks. Here is what can happen:

The week before you go on holiday you don’t have anything to print, so the inkjet is not used. You go away on holiday for two weeks and while you are baking in the sun on a beach, the ink is drying in the inkjet’s nozzles back home.

When you return from your holiday break it takes a few days to get back into the swing of things and start using the printer again. The result is that the inkjet is not used for three weeks or more and it can be fatal.

Once those nozzles are clogged up with dried ink you might never be able to clear them and the printer is forever broken.

Prevent inkjet ink drying out

  • If a week goes by and you do not use the printer, print something.
  • Use it or lose it is the best advice.
  • The day before you go on holiday, print something so the ink is fresh in the nozzles.

What should you print? Ideally, something with all colours in. (Another way to clog up the printer nozzles is to only print mono documents like letters – the colours dry up).

There is a very simple way of doing this using the Paint program in Windows. Press Windows+R and enter mspaint to start Paint. (Linux users can do a similar thing with a Linux paint program.)

 Windows Paint

Either click the Edit Colours button on the right or double click a colour (it depends which version of Windows you have). This displays the Edit Colours window.

 Windows Paint

Hold down the Alt key and press Prt Scr (it’s somewhere in the top right part of the keyboard).

Close this Edit Colours window and press Ctrl+V to paste it into Paint.

 Windows Paint

Now print it.

This image contains all the colours of the rainbow so all the ink cartridges are exercised. The image might look big on the screen, but it is tiny on paper, measuring a couple of inches. This means that it does not use much ink, which is expensive enough without wasting it.


Printing this small image keeps the ink flowing in the inkjet’s nozzles and uses only a small amount of ink.


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