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HP LaserJet Pro MFP M225, M226 Printers - Fixing Poor Print Quality

This document is for the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M225dn, M225dw, M226dn, and M226dw Printers.
The quality of a printed document is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with print quality problems such as smeared, fuzzy, dark, or faded print, and loose, partially missing, or scattered toner.
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 hp.com/go/anticounterfeit.
Visit HP SureSupply to check ink or toner cartridge compatibility or purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies.
  1. If necessary, select your country/region.
    Figure : Country/region selector
    Selecting your country/region
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to order new supplies or check cartridge compatibility with your printer.
You can also purchase genuine HP cartridges and supplies from other retailers.
Solution two: Check the paper
The quality and type of paper can affect the print job. Follow these guidelines to make sure that the paper is appropriate. If it is not, load an appropriate paper type.
  • Use paper that is designed for use in HP LaserJet printers. Do not use paper that is designed only for InkJet printers.
  • Do not use paper that is too rough. Smoother paper might result in better print quality.
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. 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. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
    Figure : Do not use wrinkled paper
    Image: 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.
      Figure : Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
    • Some media may 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.
Try to print the document again with the appropriate paper type.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.
Solution three: Check print settings
Sometimes the print settings can affect the print quality. Select your operating system, and then check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.
Solution four: Check toner level and replace low or empty toner cartridges
If the print is too light or faded in areas, the toner might be low. Check the toner level to determine if the toner cartridge needs to be replaced.
Step 1: Check the toner level
Follow these steps to check the Supplies Status Page for toner cartridge information:
  • Estimated percentage of toner cartridge life remaining
  • Toner supply level
  • Approximate number of pages remaining
  • Number of pages printed
  • Part numbers for HP toner cartridges
  note:
The toner supply level and the percentage of toner cartridge life remaining provide estimates for planning purposes only. When the toner supply level is low, consider having a replacement toner cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace toner cartridges until the print quality becomes unacceptable.
Use the following procedures to print the Supplies Status Page, and then determine the following:
  • If the toner cartridge is not low on toner, you do not need to replace it yet. Continue to the next solution.
  • If the toner cartridge is low on toner, continue to the next step to replace it.
Follow these steps to replace the toner cartridge in your printer.
  1. Raise the scanner assembly.
    Figure : Raise the scanner assembly
    Image: Raise the scanner assembly.
  2. Open the top cover.
    Figure : Open the top cover
    Image: Open the top cover
  3. Remove the toner cartridge.
    Figure : Remove the toner cartridge
    Image: Remove the toner cartridge
  4. Remove the new toner cartridge from the bag. Place the used toner cartridge in the bag for recycling.
    Figure : Remove the new toner cartridge from the package
    Image: Remove the new toner cartridge from the package
  5. Grasp both ends of the toner cartridge, and then gently rock the cartridge back and forth to distribute the toner.
    Figure : Gently rock the toner cartridge back and forth
    Image: Gently rock the toner cartridge back and forth
  6. Remove the orange clip from the toner cartridge.
    Figure : Remove the orange clip from the toner cartridge
    Image: Remove the orange plastic clip from the toner cartridge.
  7. Bend the tab on the left side of the toner cartridge until the tab separates from the cartridge. Pull out the tab until all the sealing tape is out of the cartridge. Place the tab and tape in the toner cartridge box to return for recycling.
    Figure : Remove the sealing tape
    Image: Remove the sealing tape from the toner cartridge
  8. Align the toner cartridge with the tracks inside the printer, and then slide in the toner cartridge until it is firmly seated.
    Figure : Insert the toner cartridge into the printer
    Image: Insert the toner cartridge.
  9. Close the top cover.
  10. Lower the scanner assembly.
    Figure : Lower the scanner assembly
    Image: Lower the scanner assembly
Solution five: Print a page and troubleshoot further if necessary
Print a page from the document, and then evaluate if the print quality is improved. If the print quality is unacceptable, try to resolve specific print quality issues with the following steps.
Step 1: Print a cleaning page
The printing mechanism and path inside the printer might need to be cleaned to resolve issues like fuzzy print or loose, smeared toner.
Step 2: Check the scanner glass for dirt and smudges
Specks of debris can collect on the scanner glass and white plastic backing, which might affect performance or cause specks or dots to appear on the printed pages.
If the scanner glass and backing need to be cleaned, follow these steps:
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • 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)
    • A chamois or a cellulose sponge
  2. Press the Power button to turn off the printer, and then disconnect the power cable from the electrical outlet.
      warning:
    You must disconnect the power cord to avoid the risk of injuries or electric shock.
  3. Open the scanner lid.
  4. Moisten the cloth, and then clean the scanner glass and the white plastic backing underneath the scanner lid.
      caution:
    Do not use abrasives, acetone, benzene, ammonia, ethyl alcohol, or carbon tetrachloride on any part of the printer; these can damage the printer. Do not place liquids directly on the glass or platen. They might seep and damage the printer.
  5. Dry the glass and white plastic parts with a chamois or a cellulose sponge to prevent spotting.
  6. Connect the power cable to an outlet, and then press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  7. Print a test page to see if the issue is resolved:
    • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
    • If the issue persists, continue to the next appropriate step or the next solution.
Step 3: Inspect the toner cartridge for damage
Check the toner cartridge for damage if there are issues like toner smears on the printed pages.
  1. Remove the toner cartridge from the printer, and make sure that the sealing tape has been removed.
  2. Grasp both ends of the toner cartridge, and then gently rock the cartridge back and forth to distribute the toner.
    Figure : Gently rock the toner cartridge back and forth
    Image: Gently rock the toner cartridge back and forth
  3. Check the memory chip for damage.
  4. Slide back the cartridge cover to expose the imaging drum.
      caution:
    Do not touch the roller (imaging drum) on the toner cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print quality problems.
    Figure : Slide back the cartridge cover
    Image: Slide back the cartridge cover
  5. Examine the surface of the imaging drum on the toner cartridge.
    • If you see any scratches, fingerprints, or other damage on the imaging drum, replace the toner cartridge.
    • If the imaging drum does not appear to be damaged, close the cover, and then reinstall the cartridge in the printer.
  6. Print a few test pages to see if the issue is resolved:
    • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
    • If the issue persists, continue to the next appropriate step or the next solution.
Step 4: Check the EconoMode settings
If the entire page is too dark or too light, check the EconoMode settings. HP does not recommend the full-time use of EconoMode. If EconoMode is used full time, the toner supply might outlast the mechanical parts in the toner cartridge. If print quality begins to degrade and is no longer acceptable, replace the toner cartridge.
  note:
This feature is available with the PCL 6 print driver for Windows. If you are not using that driver, enable the feature with the HP Embedded Web Server.
Follow these steps to check the EconoMode settings:
  1. From the software program, select the Print option.
  2. Select the printer, and then click Properties or Preferences.
  3. Click the Paper/Quality tab, and then locate the Print Quality area.
  4. If the entire page is too dark, use these settings:
    • Select the 600 dpi option.
    • Select the EconoMode check box to enable it.
    If the entire page is too light, use these settings:
    • Select the FastRes 1200 option.
    • Clear the EconoMode check box to disable it.
  5. Click OK, and then click OK to print the job.
Solution six: Other ways to improve print quality
If there are no defects on the last page you printed, the print mechanism and toner supplies are working correctly. There is no reason to clean or replace the toner cartridges. Instead, try these tips to improve the quality of your print jobs:
  • Repeat the first steps in this document to make sure that you are using genuine HP toner cartridges and the appropriate paper type for your print job. Certain paper types might be incompatible with HP printing systems, and HP cannot guarantee the reliability of non-HP toner cartridges.
  • Make sure that the printer is operating within the environmental specifications listed in the printer's Warranty and Legal Guide.
  • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that have been enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.
  • If the problem is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software that you installed with the printer, or another software program to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not display on the other end of the print job.
  • Try to print the same image or text from a different software program.
Solution seven: Service the printer
If the problem persists, the printer might require service. Contact HP to set up service or to find an HP authorized service center.
Contacting HP for service in Asia Pacific.
If you completed all the preceding steps and your product still has an issue, you might need further assistance from HP. Go to Contact HP Support to review available service options.
  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.

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