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How to use the Head Cleaning utility in Mac OS 7.6 - 9.2



  • 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.

  • Mac OS 7.6 - 9.2.


This article explains how to use the head cleaning utility in Mac OS 7.6 - 9.2.

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 uses 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 colour 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.

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


  1. Open the Epson Utility.

    1. Access the Print or Page Setup dialogue box (via the File menu in an application).

    2. Click on the Utility icon button.

  2. Ensure that several sheets of plain A4-size paper is loaded in the printer. First confirm if the print head needs to be cleaned. This saves ink. If you have already printed a nozzle check and confirmed that head cleans are required, move to step 5.

  3. In the EPSON Utility window, click on Nozzle Check.

  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to print a nozzle check pattern. Compare the printout to the examples below:

    Good nozzle check sample:
    (print head does not need cleaning)
    Poor nozzle check sample
    (print head needs to be cleaned)

  5. If there are breaks in the pattern, such as missing steps or lines/streaks (depending on the type of nozzle check pattern), or a missing colour, this indicates that the issue is related to the print head and/or ink cartridge.

    Click Clean, and when the Power light has stopped flashing, click Finish. If you are not presented with the 'Clean' option after the nozzle check has printed, click on Head Cleaning from the Utility window.

  6. This will launch the utility. Follow the on-screen instructions to start the head cleaning, and wait for the printer to finish the first cleaning cycle.

    Caution Icon Caution:

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

  7. Click the Confirmation button or select Nozzle Check from the menu and click Print. This procedure will confirm the effectiveness of the head clean.

  8. The printer will print a nozzle check. Compare the print out with the next window. If there are gaps, the print out is faint, click Clean, and then Finish when the procedure is complete.

    • If the prints correctly (showing no breaks in the pattern), but the text is still broken you may need to run the Print Head Alignment utility.
    • If the pattern is complete with no gaps in the print, click Finish.
    • If there are gaps or faint print on your printout click Clean.

    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. 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.

    Notes Icon Note:

    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.

    Replace any damaged or old cartridges - we recommend replacing cartridges that have been open for over 6 months (from the date the cartridge was first removed from its plastic vacuum packaging).

    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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