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HP 915, Deskjet D and F series - Ink Smears or Streaks

This document applies to HP 915 Inkjet All-in-One Printers, and Deskjet D1500, D1550, and F300 All-in-One Printer series.


The printer is working, but the printed output shows smears or streaks of ink.
Figura : Diagnostic page showing ink smears
Image: Diagnostic page showing ink smears


Step one: Check your paper

Make sure that you printed on fresh, unwrinkled paper. If you are sure you did, go to the next step.

Step two: Run the clean print cartridges utility

  1. Make sure that there is plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Open the Printer Toolbox.
    1. Open HP Solution Center.
    2. Click Settings.
    3. Click Print Settings.
    4. Click Printer Toolbox. The Printer Toolbox dialog box displays.
    You can also open the Printer Toolbox from the Print Properties dialog box. In the Print Properties dialog box, click the Services tab and then click Service this device.
  3. Click the Device Services tab.
  4. Click Clean the Print Cartridges.
  5. Follow the instructions that display on the screen.
  6. Examine the test page that prints. If the print quality of the page is good, click Done and stop here. If the print quality is bad, proceed to the next step.

Step three: Clean the area around the cartridge nozzles

Follow the procedure below to clean the area around the cartridge's nozzles ONLY if you have streaks or smudges in your printed output and you have already performed all three cleaning levels in the Clean Print Cartridges utility.
Do not leave the print cartridges outside the printer for longer than 30 minutes. If a cartridge is left outside of the printer for too long, the ink will dry out and the cartridge will become unusable. Also, be careful not to get any ink on your hands or clothes.
  1. Gather cleaning supplies:
    • Clean distilled, filtered, or bottled water. Tap water may contain contaminants which could damage the cartridge.
    • Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the cartridges (coffee filters work well).
    • Sheets of paper or paper towel to rest the cartridges on during cleaning.
  2. Remove one of the cartridges and place it on a piece of paper with the nozzle plate facing up.
  3. Examine the area around the nozzle plate. If you see any debris or ink buildup, clean the cartridge as follows:
    If you do not see debris or ink buildup on the print cartridge, do not clean it.
    1. Lightly moisten the lint-free cleaning material with clean water.
    2. Use the swab to wipe clean the faces and edges around the nozzle plate. The area to be cleaned is cross-hatched in the picture below. Replace the cleaning material if it gets dirty.
      Do not touch either the nozzle place (in the center of the cross-hatched area below), or the copper-colored contacts. Touching these parts can cause clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
        Figura : Cleaning the cartridge
      1. Clean in the cross-hatched area only
      2. Do NOT touch the nozzle plate
      3. Do NOT touch the copper-colored contacts
  4. Repeat the steps above for the other cartridge. Make sure to examine both cartridges, even if the streaks are only one color (streaks in black ink are commonly caused by fibers and debris stuck to the bottom of the tri-color print cartridge). Only clean the cartridge if you see debris or buildup, however. If you do clean the other cartridge, use fresh cleaning material.
  5. Either let the cartridge sit for five minutes or use a new swab to dry the cleaned areas before you reinsert the cartridges.

Step four: Replace the problem cartridge

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