How To Clean and Lubricate Printer Rollers? (Our Comprehensive Guide)

Printer roller cleaning is necessary to make your printer work quickly and correctly especially when you are in a rush. 

In this article, we will explain how you can clean your inkjet printer rollers and laser printer rollers perfectly without breaking them. 

When Do You Need to Clean the Printer Rollers?

When your printer starts throwing unusual prints, it is a reminder that you should clean your printer.

Your printer can have several issues if you don’t regularly clean your printer. Further, it can break down, or some major components can get damaged. 

The dust sitting inside your printer can damage your printer badly. Also, it wouldn’t let your printer deliver clean prints.

Moreover, if your printer delivers dirty printouts, too slow or too harsh, you should clean your printer right now. 

There can be various reasons that your printer is not working and printing properly.

The first solution to start with is to clean your printer. If you haven’t cleaned your printer in a while, you will probably see the print heads will be clogged, cartridges, toners, printing rollers not working properly, and so on.

Often, the dust or dirt accumulates on the print heads, rollers, and other printer components, which can stop your printer from functioning. 

So it would be a wise decision to do a routine cleaning of your printer. If you want to learn the full process of printer cleaning and maintenance check this article. 

How to Clean Inkjet Printer Rollers?

Printer cleaning would be different for both Inkjet and Laser Printers. An inkjet has ink cartridges that are different from that of the Toner cartridge. 

Cleaning a toner cartridge is much easier than an Ink cartridge. However, if you have patience and basic knowledge, you can easily clean your Inkjet or Laser Printer.

Requirement List for Cleaning

The first step to cleaning an inkjet printer is to gather some cleaning equipment and instruments. These are some basic things which you can easily gather without even visiting a local store.

  1. Lint-free cloths or cleaning paper
  2. Distilled water
  3. Cleaning solution or Cleaning Alcohol
  4. Cotton Swab or Tissue Paper
  5. Lubricating oil or grease
  6. Protective Gloves

Cleaning an Inkjet Printer Rollers

Roller cleaning an inkjet printer is a very easy task and it can be done with basic knowledge. 

Cleaning rollers of an inkjet printer is very different from a laser printer, so don’t perform the same cleaning process with your inkjet printer as it can completely break your printer.

The paper feed rollers of a printer are rubber rollers that grab the paper, help separate the top sheet of paper from the rest or pull the paper through the printer. 

The printer has paper dust on it every time a sheet is fed through, a little paper dust gets on the roller. 

After a while, the roller becomes slippery and can’t grab the paper very well. This can cause paper feed problems, paper jams, or multiple sheets feed.

Another problem, if these rollers get dirty, the paper will also come out dirty with a permanent streak of lines. To clean the roller,

  • Turn off the printer.
  • Unplug the power cord.
  • Remove the sheets or the paper cassette.
  • Locate the printer rollers. They are made of rubber, grey or black. They can be located in the paper cassette or inside the printer, where the paper tray slides into the printer.
    • Inkjet printers have the rollers located on the bottom or even above the above tray. You would have to remove the paper tray and you can find the paper rollers on top of the cavity. 
    • You can easily twist them with your hands. If your printer has a paper feed button, you can press it to twist the rollers for cleaning.  
  • Clean the rollers using a clean and lint-free cloth. 
  • Next, use a lint-free cloth and dip it into the cleaning solution or cleaning alcohol.
  • Do not use chemical cleaner or organic solvents such as thinner, acetone or petrol.
  • Rotate the roller to clean the entire surface. Make sure to cover every part of the roller. You can twist the roller and clean the entire surface with the cleaning cloth. Every part of the roller can be easily cleaned with a cleaning cloth.
  • If the cleaning cloth gets dirty too quickly, use a fresh cloth and don’t leave any part of the roller dirty. 
  • Let the rollers dry completely. After that lubricate the rollers evenly well.  Make sure to lubricate the rollers properly. Use a good quality lubricating oil or grease which doesn’t let the rollers jam in the near future. 
  • If you put back the wet rollers inside the printer, your printer may break and stop working, so make sure you let them dry completely before sliding the paper tray back into the printer.
  • After the cleaning is done, if you still have paper feed problems probably the roller is worn, and you have to change it. 

How to Clean Laser Printer Rollers?

Experience paper jams and misfeeds in a laser printer is pretty common. The culprit behind this common issue could be your paper feed rollers. 

Laser printers have rubberized rollers that help to grip and feed the paper through the printer. 

However, if they become dirty or dusty, you will have to clean them to get your printer working properly, again. 

Before you start the roller cleaning, you would have to gather some things which we have listed below.

Requirement List for Cleaning

  1. Lint-free cloth or cleaning paper.
  2. Distilled water or filtered water
  3. Make sure you do not use cleaning alcohol or any cleaning solution that is flammable. These solvents could cause the rollers to dry out and crack easily.
  4. Protective Gloves

Cleaning Laser Printer Rollers

  1. First of all, turn off the printer and unplug the electrical cable.
  2. If you’ve recently used the machine, let the printer cool down as the fusers could be very hot.
  3. Remove the toner cartridge and the drum unit.
  4. The drum is often built into the toner cartridge, but sometimes it’s a separate unit.
  5. Keep the drum in a dark place as the light may damage it.
  6. If available, remove the transfer belt and the waste toner unit.
  7. Don’t touch the drum and the transfer belt surface with your bare hands. Use protective gloves to touch the drum and transfer belt.
  8. Look for the roller at the bottom of the opening. The roller can be found in different parts of a laser printer but usually, it can be located near the paper tray. Further, in some cases, you may need to open the printer’s access panel and have to remove the toner cartridge to remove the paper rollers. 
  9.  Depending upon the design of your printer or roller, it may not rotate by hand. If this is the case, you will have to unsnap the clips on either side of the roller, then rotate it ahead to remove it.
  10. Moisten a clean cloth with a little water, just enough to damp, not wet. Distilled water works best, but any clean water will be fine.
  11. Wipe off the surface of the roller with a damp cloth. Wiping away any dust or dirt. If needed, use a dry cloth before using a wet cloth for cleaning. This way cleaning will be easy and perfect.  
  12. Remove the spilt toner and the dust from the internal surfaces.
  13. The toner is likely to build up under the cartridge housing. If you want, you can also clean the cartridge housing for the best results, as it will protect the rollers from the dust in near future.
  14. Once the rollers are dry, you can place them back into the printer, snap the access panel firmly into place. 
  15. Test the printer, to see if the issue is resolved. You should now see a decrease in paper jams or paper-feeding issues. 
  16. If you notice any damage to the rollers, you should contact the manufacturer to obtain a replacement.

How to Avoid Damage to the Printer Rollers?

Printer rollers are small circular rubber components that help in printing the paper easily in no time. 

Over time, they may accumulate dust and dirt, which may lead to damage. So, it is important to know that how you can avoid damaging the printer rollers. 

Cleaning the transfer roller can keep them up and running.

  1. Make sure to clean the printer rollers whenever you change the toner or ink cartridge.
  2. Increase the space between rollers and paper sheets so that they don’t roll on the icing sheets. You can change the ‘Prevent paper abrasion’ settings in your printer’s software.
  3. Ensure the conditions around your printer are not humid.
  4. Keep the paper sheets dry.
  5. Make sure the printer is not set on Photo printing settings. Change the settings to Plain Paper Printing.

Tips for Cleaning Printer Rollers

  1. Take the rollers out of the printer and store them in a dark place.
  2. Use a lint-free cloth along with a cleaning solution to keep them intact.
  3. Clean the rollers regularly.
  4. Use a rubberized rejuvenating product. It can be easily found in a local computer shop.
  5. Don’t over-clean the rollers with any cleaning solution.
  6. Never overload the paper tray with weighted sheets.

How to Lubricate Printer Rollers?

The lubrication process can be done right after you have properly cleaned the printer rollers. Get a good quality lubricating oil to lubricate the rollers properly.

  1. After the cleaning is done, take a fresh cloth and add some oil to it.
  2. Next, wipe the entire roller with the oiled cloth. Make sure to cover every part.
  3. Install the rollers and the panel back.
  4. Try to get some test prints. Check if the printer is working properly or not.

When Do You Need to Replace Printer Rollers?

A roller is used to transfer text from the printer to the paper sheet. When the rollers stop working, then you will need to replace the rollers with a fresh one. 

There are some signs which can notify you about the expiry of the rollers.

  • If the printer is throwing faded text, it is the sign that you should change the rollers.
  • If the printer is not delivering quality printouts, change the rollers right now.
  • A bad roller can streak, squeal, or jam the printer.
  • Signs of a poor roller are bad odours.


If you want to keep your best printer in a healthy state for a long time then it is very important to keep your printer clean. 

And good printer also saves you from recurring ink costs, you don’t need to refill your ink cartridge frequently. 

Whereas if you are not using your printer then you should store your printer correctly otherwise it will be a total loss for you. 

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Tanmoy Misra found his love for tech early in life when he got his first Nintendo (NES) console. He spent many hours blowing into cartridges to no avail until inspiration struck and he started taking apart and rebuilding anything that didn’t work. After dropping console gaming at the end of high school, Tanmoy entered the world of PC online gaming. His love of gaming and problem-solving soon led him to build his computers. As per expertise, he is an ISF-certified video calibrator and covering AV for a number of publications since 2018.

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