The simplest way to clean a Canon Printer printhead issue is with Canon’s built-in cleaning function. Both printers that use integrated ink cartridges and printers with individual ink cartridges include this function on their printer display screen. This is your first line of defense when you encounter streaky prints and it usually clears up the print quality problem right away. Check your printer user guide for the proper instructions for your machine.
Make sure the printer is on and then touch the setup (gear icon) on the printer display home screen
Then select the maintenance (tools) icon
Select “Cleaning” and then select “Yes”
The printer will go through the cleaning process for about a minute. After it is done you can print a nozzle check test page to see if the cleaning improved the print quality
To print a nozzle check page, touch the setup gear again and “maintenance” again. Then select “print nozzle check pattern” and touch “Yes”. This will print the nozzle check page. If the colors look complete, the printhead is thoroughly cleaned and you can continue printing. If there are missing lines are streaks, you may want to run a second cleaning or run a deep cleaning on the printer.
To run the deep cleaning, follow the exact same steps as the regular cleaning above, except instead of selecting “Cleaning”, select “Deep Cleaning”. This process consumes more ink so you don’t want to run this function too frequently. If your cartridges still aren’t printing properly after running a cleaning, you can try replacing the cartridges to see if that clears up your print quality issue, or you can follow the steps below to try and manually clean the Canon printhead.
Sometimes the built-in cleaning function isn’t enough. With most Canon printers, you can take the cleaning process a step further by manually cleaning the printhead.
Manually cleaning an integrated cartridge
If your printer uses cartridges with an integrated printhead, you can try the “paper towel method” to fix your print quality issue.
Take a warm damp paper towel or coffee filter and blot the cartridge with the printhead facing down onto the paper towel. This will remove any dried ink on the printhead.
Then, hold the cartridge with the printhead facing down against a dry paper towel for 2-3 minutes. A dry paper towel will wick the ink out. Do not wipe the print head as this may cause damage.
Reinstall the cartridge and try printing again. If you are still getting poor print results at this point, you may need to replace your printer cartridge.
Manually cleaning printers with a removable printhead
The steps below are for Canon printers that use individual ink cartridges and have a removable printhead, like the Canon PIXMA TS9120.