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How to Clean Laser Printers

Your laser printer contains a mortal enemy — toner, the insidious stuff that seems to have a diabolical mind of its own. Luckily, most cartridges are at least partially sealed, and only older models of laser printers can produce a really nasty Three Mile Island–level spill.

If any toner escapes, however, you quickly find that the very fine powder is sensitive to static charges and immediately heads to every corner of your printer. Those nooks and crannies can be a real pain to clean. And because toner can permanently stain clothing and carpet — and it’s harmful to pets and kids — you should be doubly careful to keep toner inside the cartridge, where it belongs.

Therefore, please take the time to completely read the instructions for your specific laser printer before you install that first toner cartridge. Also, avoid shaking the cartridge unless the manufacturer recommends a particular motion to help distribute the toner evenly.

If you spill toner, head to your local office supply store for toner clean-up cloths. These handy wipes contain a chemical that attracts toner and keeps it on the cloth. Oh, and don’t use warm or hot water to wash toner off your hands — toner can literally melt and adhere to your skin!

Never attempt to clean the interior of your laser printer while it’s on! Laser technology uses very high temperatures to bond toner to paper, so you could be subject to serious burns if you’re not careful. Always make sure that a laser printer has been off for at least 30 minutes before you clean or service it.

For the same reasons, you should always follow the specific instructions for your brand and model of laser printer while cleaning its interior!

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