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HP ENVY 5540, DeskJet 5570 Printers - Fixing Poor Print Quality

This document is for the HP ENVY 5540, 5541, 5542, 5543, 5544, 5545, 5546, 5547, 5548 and DeskJet Ink Advantage 5575 All-in-One printers.
The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color or black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
note:
Windows operating systems only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows.
Figure : Example of garbled, jumbled or illogical text, or an incomplete print job
Image: Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout

Step 1: Use genuine HP ink cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink or toner supplies. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve the issue. To check the authenticity of your cartridges, go to the HP anti-counterfeit webpage (in English).
Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.
note:
Rough handling at the store or during installation can cause print quality problems with newly installed ink cartridges. If you see print problems with newly installed ink cartridges, wait for a few hours for the automatic servicing routine to complete, and then try to print again.
If using genuine HP ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, you can use an automated tool from the printer control panel to resolve the issue.
  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Make sure the printer input tray is loaded with plain white paper.
  3. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to the left, and then touch Setup.
    The Setup menu displays.
  4. Touch Tools, and then touch Clean Page Smears.
    The printer feeds one page slowly.
  5. Wait for the printer to eject the page.
Try to print. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Use the appropriate paper for your print job

Make sure the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, such as photo paper and envelopes. Usually, the smoother side is the "print side," and sometimes the non-print side has a logo of the paper manufacturer on it.
  • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Use only clean, wrinkle-free paper.
    Do not use wrinkled paper
  • Use the correct paper type for your project.
    • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well. Paper with ColorLok technology is industry-standard paper that works well with HP ink.
      ColorLok logo
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photos, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for best results.
    • Some paper might not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
  • Store photo paper in its original packaging inside a resealable plastic bag. Store the paper on a flat surface in a cool, dry place. Load 10-20 sheets of photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
  • Try using a different paper. This determines if the problem is related to the paper.
note:
Inappropriate, damaged, or unsupported paper can cause vertical streaks in printouts.
Examples of horizontal and vertical streaks in a printout
Image: Horizontal streaks  in a printout.
If your printout contains horizontal lines or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks, continue to the next step.
Image: Vertical streaks in a printout.
Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document or search for a document that covers this issue. Vertical streaks in copies can often be fixed by cleaning the scanner glass.
After checking the paper, try to print. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Check the print settings

Check the print settings in your operating system to make sure they are appropriate for your print job.
note:
Print settings vary by operating system and software program.
Try to print. If changing the print settings did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Check the estimated ink levels

Low ink levels can affect print quality. Check the estimated ink levels from the printer control panel.
note:
Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low ink levels, consider having a replacement ink cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace ink cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
On the printer control panel, touch the Ink icon to display the current estimated ink levels.
Image:  Example of estimated ink levels displaying full ink cartridges.
  • If neither of the ink cartridges displays a low ink level, you do not need to replace them yet. Skip to Print a Print Quality Diagnostic report step of this document.
  • If either of the ink cartridges displays a low ink level, continue to the next step to replace the ink cartridge.

Step 6: Replace any low or empty ink cartridges

Replace any low or empty ink cartridges, and then try to print again. If all ink cartridges have healthy ink levels, skip this step.
note:
If you are enrolled in the Instant Ink program, you receive special Instant Ink cartridges. Instant Ink cartridges are larger than standard ink cartridges, but they fit in the carriage in the same way. For more information, go to HP Instant Ink.
    Figure : Standard and Instant Ink cartridges
    Image: Instant Ink and standard ink cartridges.
  1. Standard ink cartridge
  2. Instant Ink cartridge
  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door by placing two fingers under one or both of the small handles on the sides of the ink cartridge access door, and then lift up.
    Figure : Opening the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Opening the ink cartridge access door.
    'The ink cartridge access door is open. Close the door to continue.' displays on the printer control panel.
  3. Lightly press down on the low or empty ink cartridge to release it.
    Figure : Pressing down on the ink cartridge
    Image: Pressing down on the ink cartridge.
  4. Pull the ink cartridge toward you out of its slot, and then set it aside for recycling.
    note:
    Recycle any low or empty ink cartridges. The HP Inkjet Supplies Recycling Program is available in many countries/regions, and it is free of charge.
  5. Remove the new ink cartridge from its package. Be careful to touch only the black plastic on the ink cartridge.
    Figure : Removing the ink cartridge from its package
    Image: Removing the ink cartridge from its package.
  6. Remove the protective tape from the ink cartridge.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles.Do not replace the protective tape on the contacts. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electricalconnections.
    Figure : Removing the tape and avoiding touching the ink cartridge contacts or ink nozzles
    Image: Removing the tape and avoid  touching the ink cartridge contacts or ink nozzles.
  7. Slide the new ink cartridge into the empty slot, and then gently push up on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    Figure : Inserting the new ink cartridge
    Image: Inserting the new ink cartridge
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Closing the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Closing the ink cartridge access door
  10. Touch OK.
  11. Wait for the printer to calibrate and align the ink cartridges.
    An alignment page prints.
  12. If the alignment page does not print, print an alignment page through the printer control panel:
    1. Make sure to load the input tray with plain, white paper.
    2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to the left, and then touch Setup.
      The Setup menu displays.
    3. Touch Tools, and then touch Align Printer.
      An alignment page prints.
  13. Place the alignment page with the print side down on the scanner glass. Position it according to the engraved guides around the glass.
    Figure : Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass.
  14. Close the scanner lid, and then touch OK.
    The printer aligns the ink cartridges.
Try to print. If replacing critically low or empty ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Examine the color blocks for defects

Examine the color blocks on the Print Quality Diagnostic report to make sure the color blocks do not show white lines, and are not faded or missing.
Figure : Example of the color blocks without defects
Image: Example of the color blocks without defects.

Step 9: Clean the ink cartridges

Cleaning the ink cartridges might improve print quality. Clean the ink cartridges from the printer control panel, and then evaluate the results.
note:
To avoid issues that require cleaning, always turn the printer off with the Power button.
  1. Make sure to load the input tray with plain, white paper.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to the left, and then touch Setup.
    The Setup menu displays.
  3. Touch Tools, and then touch Clean Cartridges.
    A Print Quality Diagnostic report prints.
    Figure : Example of a Print Quality Diagnostic report
    Image: Example of a Print Quality Diagnostic report.
  4. Examine the print quality on the Print Quality Diagnostic report.
    • If the print quality is acceptable, touch No. You can stop troubleshooting.
    • If the print quality is unacceptable, touch Yes to perform the next level of cleaning.
      note:
      If the printhead is badly clogged, it might require another cleaning cycle. If so, wait 30 minutes before you clean the ink cartridges again.
Continue to the next step to examine the alignment lines and green color block on the Print Quality Diagnostic report.

Step 10: Examine the alignment lines and green color block for defects

Examine the alignment lines and green color block on the most recent Print Quality Diagnostic report printed. Make sure the lines are straight and connected and that there are no dark lines or white gaps in the green color block.
Figure : Example of the alignment lines without any defects
Image: Example of the alignment  lines without any defects
Figure : Example of the green color block without any defects
Image: Example of the green color block without any defects.
  • If you see no defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report, the print mechanism and ink cartridges are working correctly. If print quality is still not satisfactory, try these general print-quality guidelines. You do not need to continue the troubleshooting steps in this document.
    • Make sure the image you are printing has a high enough resolution. Images that have been enlarged might appear fuzzy or blurry.
    • If the problem is near the edge of a printout, use the print settings to rotate the image 180 degrees. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.
    • Do not leave unprotected ink cartridges out of the printer for an extended period of time.
    • Always use the power button to turn the printer off. This protects the ink cartridges from exposure to air.
  • If any of the alignment lines are not straight and connected, or the green color block has dark lines or white gaps, continue to the next step.

Step 11: Align the printer

Aligning the ink cartridges correctly aligns the printhead with the printer. Align the printer from the printer control panel, and then evaluate the results.
  1. Make sure to load the input tray with plain, white paper.
  2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to the left, and then touch Setup.
    The Setup menu displays.
  3. Touch Tools, and then touch Align Printer.
    An alignment page prints.
  4. Wait for the alignment page to finish printing.
    note:
    Before a print job, the printer automatically extends the output tray. Do not push in the output tray extender until the print job is complete.
  5. Lift the scanner lid.
  6. Place the alignment page with the print side down on the scanner glass. Position it according to the engraved guides around the glass.
    Figure : Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass.
  7. Close the scanner lid, and then touch OK.
    The printer aligns the ink cartridges.
  8. Try to print again.
    • If these steps resolved the issue, you can stop troubleshooting.
    • If the printout shows track marks or smears, continue to the next step to manually clean the area around the ink nozzles.
    • If these steps did not resolve the issue, and the printout does not show track marks or smears, skip to Replace the problem ink cartridge step in this document.

Step 12: Manually clean the area around the ink nozzles

Do not perform these steps unless the printout specifically shows smeared text or track marks. Clean the area around the ink nozzles if you see track marks or smears on the printouts.
Figure : Example of smeared text
Image: Example of smeared text
Figure : Example of text with track marks
Image: Example of text with track marks
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • Long, lint-free cotton swabs
    • A clean, lint-free cloth, or any cloth that does not come apart or leave fibers
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might damage the printer)
  2. Turn on the printer.
  3. Open the ink cartridge access door by placing two fingers under one or both of the small handles on the sides of the ink cartridge access door, and then lift up.
    Figure : Opening the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Opening the ink cartridge access door.
  4. Disconnect the power cord from the rear of the printer.
  5. Disconnect the USB, if it is connected.
  6. Lightly press down on an ink cartridge to release it.
    Figure : Pressing down on the ink cartridge
    Image: Pressing down on the ink cartridge.
  7. Pull the ink cartridge toward you to remove it from the slot.
      caution:
    Do not remove both ink cartridges at the same time. Remove and clean each ink cartridge one at a time. Do not leave an ink cartridge outside the printer for more than 30 minutes.
  8. Hold the ink cartridge by its sides.
    Figure : Holding the ink cartridge by its sides
    Image: Holding the ink cartridge by its sides.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles.
  9. Lightly moisten a cotton swab or lint-free cloth with distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from it.
  10. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.
      caution:
    Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
      Figure : Clean the area around the ink nozzle
      Image: The ink nozzle and ink cartridge contacts.
    1. Nozzle plate - Do not clean
    2. Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3. Ink cartridge contacts - Do not clean
  11. Either let the ink cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  12. Slide the ink cartridge into the empty slot, and then gently push up on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    Figure : Inserting the ink cartridge
    Image: Inserting the ink cartridge.
  13. Repeat these steps to clean the other ink cartridge.
  14. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Closing the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Closing the ink cartridge access door.
  15. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the printer.
  16. Turn on the printer.
Try to print. If cleaning the ink nozzles did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 13: Check the ink cartridge warranty

If you have a defective cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink or toner supplies, go to Printer and Page Yield Overview, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.

Step 14: Replace the problem ink cartridge

Replace the problem ink cartridge if you saw defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report and the preceding steps did not resolve the issue, even if the ink cartridge is not low on ink. The problem ink cartridge is the one that printed the defects on the Print Quality Diagnostic report as described earlier in this document.
note:
If you are enrolled in the Instant Ink program, you receive special Instant Ink cartridges. Instant Ink cartridges are larger than standard ink cartridges, but they fit in the carriage in the same way. For more information, go to HP Instant Ink.
    Figure : Standard and Instant Ink cartridges
    Image: Instant Ink and standard ink cartridges.
  1. Standard ink cartridge
  2. Instant Ink cartridge
  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door by placing two fingers under one or both of the small handles on the sides of the ink cartridge access door, and then lift up.
    Figure : Opening the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Opening the ink cartridge access door.
    'The ink cartridge access door is open. Close the door to continue.' displays on the printer control panel.
  3. Lightly press down on the low or empty ink cartridge to release it.
    Figure : Pressing down on the ink cartridge
    Image: Pressing down on the ink cartridge.
  4. Pull the ink cartridge toward you out of its slot, and then set it aside for recycling.
    note:
    Recycle any low or empty ink cartridges. The HP Inkjet Supplies Recycling Program is available in many countries/regions, and it is free of charge.
  5. Remove the new ink cartridge from its package. Be careful to touch only the black plastic on the ink cartridge.
    Figure : Removing the ink cartridge from its package
    Image: Removing the ink cartridge from its package.
  6. Remove the protective tape from the ink cartridge.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles.Do not replace the protective tape on the contacts. Handling these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electricalconnections.
    Figure : Removing the tape and avoiding touching the ink cartridge contacts or ink nozzles
    Image: Removing the tape and avoid  touching the ink cartridge contacts or ink nozzles.
  7. Slide the new ink cartridge into the empty slot, and then gently push up on the ink cartridge until it snaps into place.
    Figure : Inserting the new ink cartridge
    Image: Inserting the new ink cartridge
  8. Repeat these steps to replace the other ink cartridge, if necessary.
  9. Close the ink cartridge access door.
    Figure : Closing the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Closing the ink cartridge access door
  10. Touch OK.
  11. Wait for the printer to calibrate and align the ink cartridges.
    An alignment page prints.
  12. If the alignment page does not print, print an alignment page through the printer control panel:
    1. Make sure to load the input tray with plain, white paper.
    2. On the printer control panel, swipe the display to the left, and then touch Setup.
      The Setup menu displays.
    3. Touch Tools, and then touch Align Printer.
      An alignment page prints.
  13. Place the alignment page with the print side down on the scanner glass. Position it according to the engraved guides around the glass.
    Figure : Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass
    Image: Placing the alignment page on the scanner glass.
  14. Close the scanner lid, and then touch OK.
    The printer aligns the ink cartridges.
Try to print. If replacing the problem ink cartridge did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 15: Service the printer

If you have followed all the steps in this document and your printer continues to produce printouts with print quality issues, service the printer.
note:
Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the ink cartridges, printhead, or printer is replaced under warranty, the support agent will request the print sample. If the printer is returned to HP, the print sample must be returned with the printer. Place the sample in the output tray when you package your printer for shipping.
Service or replace your HP product if the issue persists after completing all the preceding steps.
Go to Contact HP Customer Support to schedule a product repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, you will be directed to a local service center in your area.
To confirm your warranty status, go to HP Product Warranty Check. Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty products.

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