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How to clean an inkjet printhead

If you have any other solution, you can try to clean the printhead in order to solve your printing problem (message error or misprinting).
It concerns inkjet printhead from Canon and some from Epson, Lexmark, Brother...

Cleaning an inkjet printhead:
  • Remove the printhead from the printer.
  • Put it in a dish filled with distilled water. Wait for a night. 
  • Be careful not to wet electronic components, only the nozzles:
 On this picture, the part to put in water is circled in red

Here, circled in blue, the part you must not wet
  • The next day, dry the prinhead thoroughly with a hairdryer.
  • Then install it in the printer.

If the problem persist, the printhead is defective.


Chris Martin said…
Did this work for you Emily? I've just experienced the same problem with the error code U052 and am wondering whether to follow the advice you were given. Thanks.
Anonymous said…
This has just happened to my Pixma MG5240 as well. Printer has never done heavy duty work & was functioning a couple of days ago. Hope this step works!
Anonymous said…
back to say that I regret to report - it did not work on this occasion. Canon - please take out the 'con' in your products. They look good, work well at the outset - but ...........
Anonymous said…
Make sure to remove the print head carefully without damaging it or the other components. It is suggested that a certified technician should perform this task. helped me clean the printhead and solved my issue.
Anonymous said…
Certified Technician...WTF just go to Costco and get another printer that doesn't have this ridicualous quirk!
Les said…
Removed print head and cleaned contact pad with fibreglass stick. problem solvedLes
Anonymous said…
My printer was also not working with the B200 error code, It had been working, just changed all the colors, and got the code, finally pulled the print head cleaned print head with mild cleaner on the rag, used pencil eraser to clean contacts, reinstalled and problem fixed, TG. I know it would have been a pain to find a printer to use my colors since the printer is about 3yrs old maybe even older.
Anonymous said…
Used contact cleaner and worked great.
Anonymous said…
I cleaned my printer head with regular water and then dried it with a dryer as advised and the error (B200 and U052) went away. Thanks.
SOS said…
I just tried this. I LOT of ink dissolved in the distilled water and came out. I had to change the water out a few times to get everything. air-dried it for a few hours then used a hair dryer to dry it more. Let it sit for another hour, then put it back into my Canon MP560 and put the ink cartridges back in.

End result? No change, still getting b200 error code. The only thing I can think of is that my black ink cartridge is empty. I'm curious to see if putting in a new cartridge will change anything.
J.Lassalle said…

If you still have the error B200, then the printhead is defective.
digdig1073 said…
Thanks. I called Canon and spoke with customer service. After explaining my problem, they agreed to send me a brand new printhead, free of charge. Kind of crazy, was probably on the phone with the customer service representative for 3 minutes total- had the printhead in my hand 48 hours later. Worth a phone call, if anyone else has the same issue-
Anonymous said…
Soaked the printhead overnight, dried it with a hairdryer, and the U052 error signal went away. Thanks so much.
Unknown said…
U052 This problem just occurred on my Pixma MX 882 printer.
Tried cleaning the head as instructed by this link
Didn't work. Still getting same U052 error.
J.Lassalle said…
Hi Linda,

The printhead may be broken. But try these solutions first:
Unknown said…
I did look at your link also and tried the solutions, didn't work.
I called canon support and I discovered one more thing I hadn't read elsewhere.
The technician said to unplug the power supply, then go to the printer and hit the power button 10 times in a row to discharge any residule electricity. That didn't work either. They wanted me to ship the printer to the nearest authorized service facility which for me is 120 miles away. REALLY? Considering the costs to ship the printer off and after reading all the posts over the futility of seeking service, I decided I might as well give up and bought a new printer, yes a Canon because I do like them. I got the Canon Pixma MX922. That model is marked down at Staples down from $199. to $99.
Anonymous said…
I soaked the bottom of the printer head in 70% Alcohol overnight and then dried it for a day. Now I no longer have the dreaded U052 error (thank God!).

I just wanted to share my success, hope best for you all who are still struggling. Lastly, thank you for your insights <333
Allan M. Heller said…
Where is the printhead?
Anonymous said…
Your print cartridges snap into your printhead carrier, and the ink openings on them nestle into the printhead.

On the MX922, you pull a little "fence" at the rear of the printhead (closest to you, the little snaps on the cartridges stick above it when installed) towards you to unlock the head. Then reach in and grab one of the vertical dividers between the ink slots, pull up and towards yourself, and the head will rotate almost 90 degrees, top towards you, and you can then guide the printhead out of the carrier. You will see that two little knobs on the side of the head go into slots on the vertical sides of the carrier.
Anonymous said…
B200 on a Canon MG5420. Removed the head with a tube video. The head came out easy but use gloves. Next, I used hot sink water to rinse it out. I tried to keep the contacts dry, but they did get wet. I blew out the water from all surfaces with canned air. Then I heated it to about 150 or 170 with the oven but just a short time so I didn't damage anything like 5-10 min. More canned air and I installed it. Got another B200 after install but after a power cycle it came back, no issues working great. Lessons learned. Minimize water, dry it out, don't touch anything just rinse it and blow air on the ink sponges to get it all to come out the bottom. Don't set the ink jet bottom on any surface.
Anonymous said…
My Canon Pixma MG5350 developed this problem today completely out of the blue.
Done all as suggested but still have the problem
Not happy and looks like I need to buy another printer.
Anonymous said…
It costs more to call out a technician to fix. Cheaper to buy 3 or 4 new ones. The cost of one is less than a set of inks!
Anonymous said…
Canon concentrates on good looking products but are not reliable for long! Mine broke down with a year and unable ti fix it myself, Wasted hours. Why bother these printers are so cheap to buy less than $50.00. No wonder they break down in no time.

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