Inkjet printers use liquid ink, so leaving the cartridges unused or exposed to air for too long can cause them to get clogged or dry out. To help clear jams, most inkjet printers have a self-cleaning function. Depending on the printer make and model, this feature can be part of the printer’s utility software on a computer or a button on the front of the printer itself.
Your printer’s manual should outline the exact steps to take for a given model. If you no longer have the manual, check the support area on the manufacturer’s website for guidance, as certain printers handle cleaning differently than others.
If you know you will be away for a while, removing the cartridges and storing them in sealed containers may help preserve them until you return to print again. Although one popular method involves sealing each open cartridge in a plastic bag along with a damp sponge to keep things moist, consider what the cartridge maker advises instead. For example, Hewlett-Packard has its own instructions for one type of cartridge it makes at bit.ly/aQ4exb. (Source: New York Times)