What to Do When Your Printer Prints Vertical Lines or Streaks

10-02-2015 by

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Nothing is more frustrating than expecting a perfect print and getting something streaky instead. Luckily, getting to the root of and fixing streaks in your prints is fairly easy. Our technical team has put together this handy guide on what to do when your printer cartridge prints vertical lines or streaks.

If you’re using a laser printer, there are several reasons why you’re getting streaky prints:

- A dirty-looking or smudged line running continuously down the page is usually an indication of a dirty or damaged fuser unit.
- Thin, defined lines can indicate scratches on the drum unit of the toner cartridge. If this happens, you will need to replace the drum unit or toner cartridge.
- Blank or white lines show that something is preventing toner from getting to the paper. This could be something that has become stuck to the transfer roller or parts of the shipping material that were not removed properly.

It could also be that your toner cartridge is low. You should also make sure that you have removed all the packaging material from the cartridge.

If you have a Brother, OKI or Xerox laser printer, it could mean that the corona wire needs to be cleaned. For more info on how to do this, see How To Clean The Corona Wire In Your Laser Printer. If your toner cartridge doesn’t have a corona wire, consult your user manual to find out how to run a cleaning page to get rid of the marks.

If you are using an inkjet printer, the cause of streaked prints is usually a clogged ink cartridge printhead. To fix this, consult your printer’s user manual to find out how to run a printhead clean. If you’ve run a few cleaning cycles and you’re still getting streaks, have a look at How to Unclog a Dried Up Ink Cartridge Printhead to find out how to shift stubborn dried ink.

If your ink cartridge has the the printhead attached, make sure that all shipping material has been removed properly and that there is no dirt on the printhead. Use a cotton earbud to gently wipe the printhead (do not touch it with your hands) to remove any glue or oils.

We hope the above tips help you. If you need any help or have any questions, please contact us and our technical support team will be able to help you.

Nic Venter

About the author

Nic Venter+

 is the founder and director of He started the business in 2009 with the idea to sell ink and toner cartridges online and to provide you with a quality product, value for money and convenience. He regularly blogs on about printing and technology. Part of his philosophy is having fun and making sure that he and his team think everything ink, so you don't have to.

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