How do I use the head cleaning utility using Windows 98 or ME?


  • Windows 98 and ME.
  • If you are experiencing poor print quality:
  • The printer appears to be printing, but only produces blank pages.
  • There are gaps in the print.
  • Black is missing from the print.
  • One or more colours are missing from the print.


This article explains how to use the head cleaning utility in the Windows 98 and ME environments.

Notes Icon Note:

This process will require you to load several sheets of A4 plain bond paper into the printer, and will consume some ink from the cartridges. The amount used depends on the number of head cleans required.

  • Clean the print head only if print quality declines; for example, if the printout is blurry or the color is incorrect or missing.
  • Use the Nozzle Check utility first to confirm that the print head needs to be cleaned. This saves ink.
  • When ink is low you may not be able to clean the print head. When ink is expended you cannot clean the print head. Replace the appropriate ink cartridge first.

How do I use the head cleaning utility using Windows 98 or ME?

To clean the print head in the event of poor print quality, use the utility in the Epson printer driver.

  1. Click Start, select Settings and then Printers.

  2. Right-click on the icon for the relevant printer and select Properties. This will display the printer Properties.

  3. Click on to the Utility or Maintenance tab:

  4. In this window, click the Head Cleaning icon.

  5. This will launch the utility, click Start.

  6. This will perform one head clean, a status window will be displayed whilst this is in progress:

    Caution Icon Caution:

    Never turn off the printer while the On/Power light is flashing. Doing so may damage the printer.

  7. Once finished, click Print to print a nozzle check. The print Nozzle Check option can also be accessed from the Maintenance or Utility window.

  8. The printer will print out a nozzle check pattern. Compare the printout with the next window:

    • If there are gaps or faint print on your printout click Clean.

    • If it is complete, click Finish.

    If gaps are still present, perform another head clean (without printing a nozzle check between the cleans). Once the second clean is complete, power off the printer.
    Wait one minute before powering it back on, then print a nozzle check pattern. Compare the printout with the example window (above).

    • If it is complete, click Finish.

    • If there are gaps or faint print on your printout carry out another set of head cleans.

    • We recommend only a maximum of six head cleans.

    If gaps are still present in the nozzle check pattern, power off the printer and leave it for at least six hours. Print a nozzle check following this period.
    If this does not show improvement, then it is recommended that you install a new set of genuine Epson ink cartridges. If only certain colours are affected, you could replace the associated cartridge. Epson recommend replacing damaged or old cartridges - we recommend replacing cartridges that have been open for over six months (from the date the cartridge was first removed from its plastic vacuum packaging).

    However, if the nozzle check is OK but the text is still broken you may need to run the Print Head Alignment utility.

Notes Icon Note:

If this fails to resolve the issue, please contact us to find out about the service and sales options we can offer you directly. Alternatively, for local authorised support and service advice, click here to locate your nearest Epson Express Centre.

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