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Fix poor print quality on HP Color LaserJet Pro M254 printers

The quality of a printed document is not as expected. Printouts are smeared, fuzzy, dark, or faded, or toner is loose, partially missing, or scattered.

Perform the following tasks in the order given. Use the printer after each task to see if the issue is resolved.

Print a cleaning page

Print a cleaning page to improve print quality.

  1. Print the page from the printer control panel.

    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dn, M254nw: Press OK, press the Right arrow to scroll to Service, press OK, scroll to Cleaning Page, and then press OK.

    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw: From the control panel Home screen, swipe left, and then touch Setup. Touch Service, and then touch Cleaning Page.

  2. When prompted, feed one piece of paper into the priority feed slot (Tray 1).

Check the paper, print settings, and quality of the file being printed

Make sure your print job is set up for optimal print quality results.

  1. Check paper type and condition. Make sure the paper is appropriate for the print job and in good condition.

    • Use paper designed for HP LaserJet printers, which is designed to handle the additional heat produced during the printing process.


      Do not use paper designed only for inkjet printers. For example, inkjet glossy photo paper can blister during the print job, which might damage the printer.

    • Some paper might not absorb toner as well as others, causing faded or smeared prints.

    • Use clean, wrinkle-free paper. Wrinkled or curled paper can cause dark, horizontal defects.

    • Do not use paper that is too rough. Smoother paper can result in better print quality.

  2. Loading paper according to the print side: Typically, the smoother or glossy side is the print side, and it is loaded with the print side facing up in the input tray.

  3. Loading paper according to the print side. Load paper into the paper tray with the print-side facing up. Typically, the smoother or glossy side is the print side.

  4. Check the print job settings: From the application you are printing from, click File > Print, and then click Options, Printer Setup, or Preferences, or open the Paper Type/Quality or Media & Quality menu.

    Make sure the color, paper type, paper size, and quality settings are correct for your print job.

  5. Check the quality of the photo or document: Use editing tools to improve colors, brightness, contrast, and any other appearance settings. Higher resolution photographs and graphics result in clearer prints with more accurate colors.

Check toner levels, cartridges, and imaging drum

Issues with the toner cartridges or imaging drum can cause poor print quality.

  1. Check toner and cartridge type. HP recommends that you use genuine HP toner supplies. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP supplies, troubleshooting steps on the HP support site might not resolve the issue. To check the authenticity of your cartridges, go to HP Anti Counterfeiting and Fraud Program (in English). You can purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.

  2. Check toner levels, and then replace any cartridges that are low or empty.

    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dw: From the home screen, touch Supplies to view remaining toner levels.

      Toner levels displaying on a control panel
    • HP Color LaserJet Pro M254dn and M254nw: On the control panel, press OK to view remaining toner levels.

      Toner levels displaying on a control panel

    If you are using genuine HP cartridges and toner levels are not low or empty, continue with these steps to inspect the cartridges for damage.

  3. Open the front door.

    Opening the front door
  4. Use the blue handle to pull out the toner cartridge drawer.

    Pulling out the cartridge drawer
  5. Grasp the handle on a toner cartridge, and then pull the cartridge straight up to remove it.

    Removing a toner cartridge

  6. Examine the memory chip for damage. If the memory chip is damaged, replace the toner cartridge.

    The location of the memory chip on a toner cartridge
  7. Examine the surface of the imaging drum. If you see any scratches, fingerprints, or other damage, replace the toner cartridge.


    Do not touch the imaging drum. Fingerprints can cause print quality issues.

    Locating the imaging drum to examine it for scratches or fingerprints
  8. Insert the toner cartridge.

  9. Repeat these steps for the other toner cartridges.

  10. Close the toner cartridge drawer, and then close the front door.

Service the printer

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.