The print heads of most printers, such as Canon and HP printers, can be cleaned by using the utility software that comes with the installation of the device on a computer. If printing problems persist after running the program, manually cleaning the printer head is the next best option.

Print heads have tiny nozzles, which are responsible for dispensing ink from the cartridges onto the printing paper. The quality of printed text and images may decline if these nozzles become congested or completely dry out, which happens when air gets inside the nozzles or when the printer has remained inactive for some time. Missing dots and striped colors in printouts are often good indicators that a print head requires cleaning.

Aside from cleaning the print head through the printer driver feature in Windows-run computers, the print head of an HP printer can also be cleaned by using the buttons on the control panel of the device, an embedded Web server or the toolbox utility in Windows. These methods may be executed several times to achieve optimal results.

For Canon printers, the usual procedure for manually cleaning print heads is by soaking them to dissolve clogged ink. Use water as a flushing solution or any trademarked products such as Magic Inkjet Flush or Cartridge Flush.