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How to clean clogged Epson print-heads

First, unlock the "printhead assembly/print cartridge holder assembly" for cleaning:

  1. You have to trick the printer, by manually causing the assembly to move over. Have the "Top Cover" open [so you can watch] and the printer powered on as normal. With the printer in a ready condition, but with the paper removed, push the "paper button". Even with no paper loaded in the printer the print head/cartridge holder assembly unlocks and starts to move to the left.
  2. When this assembly unlocks and starts to move over, you must quickly unplug the power cord. This of course shuts the printer down with the print head assembly unlocked which can easily be moved from side to side for servicing. If not done quickly, the printer will go into a paper error condition and you will have to try it again.
  3. Now you can correctly position the cartridge holder assembly to be able to remove the ink cartridge/cartridges. Cover the open ends [holes/openings on the bottom of the cartridges] with scotch tape. This way the cartridge is less likely to leak, or dry out

Here's how to clean the printhead:

  1. Take a paper towel or, even better, flat coffee filters.  Cut into strips approx 3/4 to 1 inch wide.  Position the printhead assembly in the middle. Set the paper thickness lever [lever with "+" on one end and a "-" on the other end] on the "+" side. This rotates the printhead assembly higher.
  2. Take around 5 to 7 strips of coffee filters or paper towels, piled/stacked neatly on top of each other and place the stack of filter strips on top of the black plastic plate that runs just under the print head assembly, during the printing cycle. You then manually slide the printhead assembly over the stack of filter strips.  If you use too many strips, it will be hard to get the assembly over the strips and its not necessary to have a tight fit during this procedure. 
  3. Take your syringe (without the needle on it) and draw up printhead cleaning solution or hot water.  Push the syringe end (where the needle normally would go) over the "Plastic Stem" inside the cartridge holder assembly and VERY SLOWLY and VERY CAREFULLY, LIGHTLY PRESS DOWN on the syringes plunger assembly.
  4. IF THE PRINTHEAD NOZZLES ARE OPEN: The plunger should start to slowly depress as the water is [HOPEFULLY] flowing thru the nozzles.  If the water is flowing and you can see the plunger slowly going down, continue the pressure on the plunger until all the water empties out of the syringe. Now you can remove the syringe and move the print cartridge holder assembly off the strips of coffee filters. You should be able to see some ink on the now wet strips. This indicates that the printhead assembly is open and that ink should be able to flow thru it normally. Its possible some nozzles might not be fully open, but does indicate that some fluids can successfully flow thru the nozzles. YOU CAN USE MORE HOT WATER AND RE-FLUSH THE SAME NOZZLES SEVERAL MORE TIMES. THIS WILL POSSIBLY FLUSH OUT ANY OLD INK THAT MIGHT CAUSE SOME NOZZLES NOT TO BE OPEN. YOU ARE JUST CLEANING OUT THE INSIDES OF YOUR NOZZLES AND IF DONE "SLOWLY" AND "CAREFULLY", SHOULD NOT CAUSE ANY PROBLEMS
  5. If the plunger DOES NOT DEPRESS while you are lightly pressing on it, your nozzles are probably clogged.  You can let the hot water in the syringe [hopefully a little bit of hot water got into the nozzles also] just set for a couple of hours of soaking. If you are lucky, the water will dissolve the clog. Sometimes I will reheat the water several times and keep trying to get the nozzles to open, or just keep letting the hot water soak in the nozzles. What have you got to lose trying.

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