How to Clean Laser Printer Streaks (Safe & Easy Methods)

Last Updated on January 2, 2022 by ronnie

To troubleshoot your printer and its problems learning how to clean laser printer streaks can be beneficial for you.

Having unwanted sharp lines or blurry vertical smeared black color on your printed paper is frustrating. The lines caused are known as laser printer streaks. But worry not, it can be easily solved. It does require little manual work so fold your sleeves and get ready to clean your laser printer streaks.

how to clean streaks on laser printer

Firstly,  let us tell you the reason for it, then we will tell you how to clean laser printer streaks. We will give you a guide on what to do and what not to do along with various causes. So, get ready for lots of information that will help you clean laser printer streaks as well as increase the quality of prints.

Reason for laser printer streaks:

Although laser printers do not require much maintenance, they still require little attention from time to time. When it leaves streaks on paper that means it’s time to maintain it. The reason for the problem is the drum unit or toner cartridge. The drum unit in the laser printer helps transfer the cartridge on the page while the toner cartridge is like a holder of toner powder.

Both of these are the main and most used parts of a laser printer. If the problem is a toner cartridge then it can be solved. However, if the drum unit is too worn out then you need to change it. Some printers have a combined drum unit and toner cartridge while some have separate.

When you use the printer and get streaks it’s probably because of an excess toner left on the roller. The roller is present in the drum unit, we have given you how to clean it underneath. Also if the transfer belt is damaged, smudges may appear. Sometimes you just have to replace the transfer belt. However most of the time you just have to clean the printer.

This will occur from time to time so no need to panic.

To clean laser printer streaks, you need to clean the toner cartridge and the drum unit. We have given procedures for both.

Things to do before getting into cleaning:

  1. Turn your printer off.
  2. Wait for your printer to be cooled down.

How to clean laser printer streaksComplete Guide

If the problem is in the toner cartridge then it can be solved in the following steps:

  1. Detach the toner cartridge and shake it to distribute the powder uniformly. A little bit of powder may fall while doing this.
  2. Attach the toner cartridge back to the printer and test it.
  3. Upon testing, if the streaks do not get fixed then see if your printer has a built-in self-clean cartridge option.
  4. Conduct the self-clean carriage function and test again.
  5. Done.

You can opt for a toner vacuum if you have enough money. It also helps in cleaning toner cartridges hence in cleaning laser printer streaks as well.

If laser printer streaks are still not clean, you need to change the toner cartridge. Or there might be a problem with the drum unit so let’s see how you can clean the drum unit.

How to Clean drum unit:

The drum unit in the laser printer needs to be changed every three to four months. However, some printers have a built-in drum unit cleaning function as well. So do run it and test to see if printer streaks have been cleaned. If not then let’s jump into cleaning laser printer streaks.

Things needed to clean laser printer streaks

● Activated toner cloth

● Isopropyl alcohol

● Mask ( gas mask or dust mask)

● Latex gloves ( rubber gloves can work well as well)

Steps on how to get it done

  1. Remove the drum unit ( if drum unit and toner carriage is combined then separate them by pushing down the green lock lever)
  2. Put on latex or rubber gloves.
  3. Dip a cotton swab into isopropyl alcohol and clean the roller present in the drum unit. Make sure to be gentle and cautious.
  4. If there are visible cuts and scratches on the roller then you probably need to buy a new drum unit. However, if there are none then leave it to dry.
  5. Next, you have to clean the corona wire. There will be a green tab, move it in a sweeping left-right manner smoothly.
  6. Once you are done cleaning, set the green tab to its original position.
  7. Attach the drum unit again correctly.
  8. Test to see if there are streaks still showing or not.

For no evident change in streaks then you need to replace the whole drum unit and toner cartridge.

How to avoid laser printer streaks

These tips will help avoid printer streaks and jams, plus also maintain the print quality.

● Treat the toner cartridge with care.

● Do not clean with water or ammonia-based cleaners at all costs.

● Try not to clean it every day!

● Never use bad paper quality.

● Keep the printer in a dust-free area.

● Buy a new drum unit every four or three months if you can.

● Use a printer regularly with care!

● Make sure you do not put fake or forged cartridge supplies.


By now, you must have learned how to clean laser printer streaks manually and efficiently.

We hope this helped you, this kind of problem in laser printers is common so do not fret about it. Plus even if you do not have streaks but want to clean the printer, do it in your free time occasionally. This helps in getting high-quality prints and also increases the life of the printer. Make sure to be careful. Also, for preventive maintenance, make sure to use a high-quality dust collector to remove any kind of dust particles from the printer.

Do I need to change my printer if I see horizontal lines on printed paper?

No, you just have to clean the toner cartridge and drum unit. Or you just have to change them, not the whole printer.

Should I clean the drum unit if my printer smudges ink?

No, it is because of the toner cartridge.

What to do if the printer smears?

Do the procedure for toner cartridges.

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