Why Are My Printer Printing Lines: 3 Common Reasons With Solutions

why my printer is printing lines

Everything in this world is susceptible to malfunctioning. Be it humans, animals, or machines, there is every chance that things will not go according to the plan at some point in their lifespan. The printers that I use daily are not exempt from these either. One of the biggest issues one may encounter with printers is that they print lines on photos and other stuff.

Therefore, I took the time to research and look for the answer to the common question –  “why are my printer printing lines?”. There are 3 main reasons for a printer to print lines. It can print unwanted line due to having a clogged nozzle, a faulty printhead, and even due to lack of ink inside the printer. Fortunately, there is a solution to every one of these issues. 

So, without any further ado, let’s check out the reasons for printer printing vertical or horizontal lines as well as what can be done to resolve this issue.

Why a printer prints lines on pictures & other printouts

why the printer is printing lines on images

No matter how high-end printer you use, there will always be the risk of your EPSONs, HPs, Canons, or Brothers starting to print lines in everything they print. So, why does printer printing unwanted lines?  There could be several reasons your printer is printing lines, like the ones below :

1. Lack of ink 

Sometimes printers print lines with either a dominating color or no dominating color at all. This happens when there is insufficient ink inside your printer’s cartridge. As people mostly use black ink for printing stuff, a lack of black ink will cause the printer to print lines. 

How to solve it

Solving this issue isn’t that difficult as it is one of the most common issues out there. You resolve it by following these steps. 

  • Regularly check the ink gauge of the printer. This gauge should be on the printer’s home screen menu. If you notice the ink levels are down, swap the cartridges before you print anything else.
  • Sometimes the ink gauge will show that all the cartridges in your printer have a little more than a quarter left. In that case, start swapping the cartridges one by one. Start with the cartridge at the lowest level and work your way upwards. After swapping each cartridge, do a print for testing whether the issue has been resolved.

However, if you find that air is stuck inside the ink cartridge, you can blow them out using a syringe. Just put the syringe into the air holes of those ink cartridges that aren’t coming out or your printer is printing white lines due to their absence. 

Now, using the syringe, push the air all the way through the printer so that the white line printing issue no longer exists.

2. Faulty printhead

Sometimes when you print a photo or use a CD/DVD printing printer to print labels, you can see some distinct white lines all over the printouts. Also, while printing other documents, they come out with spaces that just glare at you. This can happen when the printhead of the printer doesn’t disperse ink properly. This non-uniform dispersion of ink happens if the printhead is clogged due to some reason. 

The only way to deal with this issue is to manually clean the printhead. But there’s an issue with this cleaning process. Although all the printheads are generally of the same build, some aspects differ according to the brand of the printer. So, the cleaning method will vary slightly with the printer’s brand. Of course, a high quality and easy to use wireless printer will offer easy cleaning compared to others.   

How to solve faulty Printhead

How to solve faulty Printhead issue

To resolve this issue, you will have to clean the printheads manually according to their brands. Follow the steps mentioned below to clean the printheads.

How to check an HP printer 

  1.  Go to the front panel of the wireless printer and then select the ink menu from there.
  2.  Select the option ‘Printhead information’
  3.  Select the model of printhead you have to get its information.
  4.  You will see the information on that printhead on the front panel.

How to check a Canon printer

  1. Go to the home screen and select the Setup option from there. You will see the setup menu on your screen.
  2. After selecting Maintenance, press OK. You will then see the Maintenance screen on the screen.
  3. Select the option, ’Print nozzle check pattern’ and press OK. 
  4. When the confirmation screen appears, press OK.

How to check an Epson printer

  1. First, load the printer with a few sheets of white paper or cardstock.
  2. Select Setup by pressing either the up or the down arrow and pressing OK.
  3. Press OK after selecting the Maintenance option.
  4. Select the option ’Print head Nozzle Check’ and then press OK.
  5. Press any of the Start buttons and start printing.
  6. Now check the pages to see if any lines have any gaps in them.

How to check a Brother printer

  1. Go to the control panel of the printer and press ‘Ink’. 
  2. If the printer doesn’t have any button named ’Ink’,  then after pressing the Menu key, press the up or down arrow to select the Ink option.
  3. Use the same up or down keys to go to Test Print and press OK to select.

3.Unclogging the Printhead Nozzle

Although there are various methods to unclog a printhead nozzle, you need to use the method that’s the least aggressive not to damage the printhead and its surrounding tools. So, follow these steps while cleaning the nozzle of your printhead :

  • Wait for the printhead to return to a docking position from which you can remove it after turning the printer off.
  • Remove the printhead that’s clogged.
  • Dip a cotton swab or a Q-tip into the window cleaner and moisten the printhead ever so slightly by it. You can also use eye drops for it.
  • Now turn the printhead in the direction of the clogged nozzle and keep applying the cleaning substance. Keep going until the nozzle seems to be full.
  • Wait a few minutes for the cleaner to be able to work properly. After that, you will see the nozzle has become dislodged since the cleaner cleaned up all the dirt and dry ink. However, you can easily minimize dry ink issue by following some common printer using rules.
  • Now put the clean printhead in its original position again after drying it off properly. Turn the printer on. 
  • Print a few pages as a test to see whether the cleaning process has been a success. 
  • If you are satisfied with printing normal pages, print a few photos to make sure that the printer isn’t printing lines anymore. Don’t forget to use photo paper for printing photo. 

Cleaning the printer with alcohol

Sometimes just slightly moistening the printhead does not work since the clog on the nozzle is too much. In that case, you can use alcohol to clean it. Make sure that you only use Isopropyl alcohol to clean your printhead. 

The reason it is not the most used means of cleaning a printhead is that this method of cleaning alcohol is a very aggressive one, which as established before, causes damage to the tool. The alcohol is a corrosive substance, so only use a little alcohol and only use it on the clogged nozzle. The cleaning process is the same as before.

Can the printhead be cleaned with nail polish remover?

Sometimes people use nail polish remover to clean their clogged-up printhead nozzle. This is a big no-no when it comes to cleaning. Nail polish removers are extremely corrosive as they contain acetone, so you will be causing even more damage to the printhead. 

Running a regular cleaning cycle on your printer

using syringe blow air inside the cartridge

After replacing your cartridges and cleaning the clogged-up printhead nozzle by yourself, it’s better to perform a cleaning cycle once every few months. It is especially necessary if your PC and MAC compatible printer is being used often. 

Almost all the printers nowadays have the option of cleaning cycles on their control panel and it’s pretty easy to access. If you don’t find it on the control panel, go to settings. 

The best thing about these cleaning cycles is that you don’t have to do anything manually, the printer will run an automatic cleaning cycle itself. Sometimes you will hear some sort of unusual sounds, but you don’t need to be scared. Perform a test print afterward to see if the inkjet printer is printing fine.

Also Read- Best Printer for Glossy Paper

Final words

Printing lines is a very common problem people face while using their printers. But they also have a myriad of solutions at their disposal to get rid of this problem depending on the reasons. But no matter what you do, never use corrosive substances to clean your printer as they will eat away at the materials. If you find cleaning the printer too tough for you, please get help from an expert.

Having read the whole article, you should be able to determine why your printer is printing lines and take appropriate measures. The above given solutions also work for fixing horizontal lines in your printer. Good luck.

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